Air is pretty useful. Most of us seem to like having it around, even if it's filled with pollutants. As the old saying goes, "Sure it's awful, but it's better than no air at all." We have little control over the air supply in our outside environment, but we have a great deal over our inside environment—the air inside our homes and living spaces. If the construction materials in our home are toxic, we have problems. But at least we can try to make sure that things such as furniture and carpets are non-toxic.
There are even some actions we can take to improve the air itself, such as using air-purifying house plants, and perhaps even using beeswax candles and salt lamps—which some say are natural negative ion generators—rather than the much more expensive electronic air purifiers and negative ion devices.
See also our Health page.
Yes, we know these suggestions are pretty feeble. (Except maybe the house plants) Basically a lot of us are screwed when it comes to air, particularly in many cities, unless we're lucky enough to live in a place with healthy air.
How to Grow Fresh Air
50 house plants that purify your home or office
Wolverton Environmental Services
An environmental consulting firm founded by the author of How To Grow Fresh Air. Provides consultant services in the field of phytoremediation. The company advocates the use of plants and their root-associated microorganisms to biodegrade and treat indoor air and water pollution.
About ions and your health
Natural Salt Lamps
From Europe and Asia
Rock crystal from Poland
What is a Salt Lamp?
Crystalline salt and negative ions
Breathing is good, but having the right stuff (good, clean air) is only the first step. Next is getting it into the body and using it properly.
Most of us are shallow breathers, breathing from the top of our lungs rather than from way down deep, using the entire lung capacity.
Here's an exercise that will help you improve your breathing. If you do the exercise on a regular basis, your day to day breathing will improve.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. They also lower air temperature, provide shade and shelter, cut down noise pollution, improve water quality, and stabilize soil. That's a lot more than we do. The least we can do is plant more trees.
Here's a list of things they do. And still more benefits.
Man Who Planted Trees, The
Oscar-winning short film (30 min.) narrated by Christopher Plummer and based on the classic book by Jean Giono. [DVD]
Benefits of trees from the urban forestry portal
Urban and Community Forestry
A practical guide to sustainability from the National Arbor Day Foundation
Tree City USA: Greening America
Short film (8 min.) explains what community forestry is, the benefits it provides, and what individuals can do to promote it in their hometown. [VHS]