By William Bryant Logan

ISBN-10: 039306798X

ISBN-13: 9780393067989

The writer of Dirt and Oak brings to lifestyles this fastest, so much maintaining, such a lot communicative component to the earth.

Air sustains the residing. each creature breathes to dwell, replacing and altering the ambience. Water and dirt spin and upward thrust, make clouds and fall back, fertilizing the airborne dirt and dust. Twenty thousand fungal spores and part one million micro organism shuttle in a sq. foot of summer season air. The chemical feel of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s knowledge of its mother’s breast―all happen within the medium of air.

lack of knowledge of the air is dear. The artist Eva Hesse died of breathing in her fiberglass medium. millions have been sickened after Sep 11 by way of supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought partially simply because we fill the air with commercial dusts. With the passionate narrative kind and wide-ranging erudition that experience made William Bryant Logan’s paintings a touchstone for nature fans and environmentalists, Air is―like the contents of a bag of seaborne airborne dirt and dust that Darwin amassed aboard the Beagle―a treasure trove of discovery. 25 illustrations

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Additional info for Air: The Restless Shaper of the World

Example text

Once they had recurred two or three times, however, one could write it all down in equations and be sure that so long as the heating and the rotation did not vary, the pattern would continue indefinitely. The regime that looked like our weather maps was a different story. The same things were obviously happening over and over, but they were not happening at the same place, or at measurable time intervals, and the waves were bigger and smaller, eddying and swirling, without any single pattern. There was rhythm, there was order, but it could not be abstracted from the actual events.

It is the purpose of this book to bring the air alive for the rest of us. We know so little about the air. It so constantly bathes us that we think of it only when it does something unpleasant: oh, the air is so polluted! Or when the weather is bad: it’s raining cats and dogs! Or when it becomes a danger: global warming is killing the planet! Or when it brings us something really special: I have never seen such a sunset! But the air in every moment is a special gift. There is no other planet within twenty parsecs that has the like of it, and perhaps there is no other place anywhere at all that has such air.

Living beings make and sustain the theater of the air. Using the water vapor from the air and soil, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and energy from the sun, plants make both the structural components of their cells and the food to feed them. One step in the process releases oxygen into the air. Most of this oxygen is inhaled by animals and taken in by plant cells, both of which give off carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis and respiration would balance one another were it not for death. Much of a dead being is dissolved into the air again, but some is not.

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Air: The Restless Shaper of the World by William Bryant Logan

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