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Come on, let’s go and plant a tree!

Every breath connects me to you. Normally, air is an invisible background to my day to day life. I don’t pay much attention to it. But when there is pollution, smoke, fog, wind, snow or heavy rain, I remember that air is one of the four elements that form me and which I am made of. Help, I can’t breathe! When I am ill, and it becomes difficult to breathe, air becomes especially important once again. The “air is heavy” has a different meaning in several languages. The air enters my body, my lungs and my bloodstream and is carried by the wind all over the Earth. Air forms the atmosphere, and is composed of many varied elements, of which oxygen is the one I most need. I breathe in a small amount of CO₂ and I breathe out much more CO₂ than I breathed in. I don’t notice this, because it is natural and part of everyday life. From the first to the last breath, the air is in me and I am in it. The air can be noisy, it can blow, scream, whisper and murmur, when the leaves of the trees in the forest speak to me of themselves. It is the air that transmits music to my ears, and all the information spoken by you, your words and your silence. The air carries both the song of the nightingale and the screech of the eagle. Breathing is life, it is body and soul. When the air is good, we feel in good spirits. The air is not palpable, but without it there is no life. The air is simultaneously both real and in our minds. It transmits, communicates and conducts information at a speed that is very much its own. I breathe in and breathe out, carefully and attentively. With each breath, I discover myself, I find myself and I question myself, I question my human condition, my feelings and my happiness.

Come on, let’s walk and leave the car here. The air is almost always in motion, connected to the other elements of our planet Earth. It is alive. And even when the air is still, it fluctuates and makes us sweat through our pores when it becomes warm. For me, air that gets hotter and hotter, becoming higher than my body temperature, is uncomfortable, and I cannot bear it for long, when the air is too hot. The air in a sauna gets thinner and, after a few minutes, I need to cool down straight away. The higher the altitude, the thinner the air is, to the point that I might lose my senses. The air is, in my life, my first food and the colder it gets, the slower I move in it. My lungs start to hurt when I breathe cold air. I take a deep breath when I play sports. When you give up smoking you can breathe deeply again. You become able to take a deep breath again, after you quit smoking.

About the author

Uwe Heitkamp, 53 years old, started working after university in daily newspapers and from 1984 on in public tv broadcasting companies such as WDR (Collogne), NDR (Hamburg), SDR (Stuttgart/Baden-Baden) in the ARD (first programme), wrote several books and directed the cinema movie about the anti nuclear movement in Germany in 1986 (Wackersdorf). After emigration in 1990 he founded 1995 the trilingual weekly printed newspaper “Algarve123” and later the online edition www.algarve123.com. Heitkamp lives for 25 year in Monchique, Portugal. He loves mountain hiking and swimming in streams and lakes, writes and tells stories of success from people and their sustainable relationship between ecology and economy. His actual film “Revolutionary Roads” tells the 60 minute story of a long walk crossing Portugal. 10 rural people paint a picture of their lives in the hills of the serra and the hinterland. The film captures profound impressions of natural beauty and human life. Along which path is the future of Portugal to be found? (subscribe to ECO123 und watch the documentary in the Mediatec)

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