Image of breathing man


Breathing involves drawing in those gasses essential to our survival and expelling those gases (and liquids) our body no longer requires. While focused in the lungs, much of the skin on our body absorbs and exudes gasses and liquids, breathes.

Tobacco smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in Australia (Cancer Council 2006). Smoking is a key risk factor for the three diseases that cause most deaths in Australia: ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and lung cancer (ABS Tobacco Smoking in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05).

While the impacts of tobacco smoking are well documented, the effect that our environmental air quality has on our respiratory system is is less well understood.

Air Quality – Improve the inputs to your body

The quality of the air we breathe can strengthen or weaken our lungs. Ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals will cause an increase in respiratory ailments.

‘The CSIRO estimates that the cost of poor indoor air quality in Australia may be as high as $12 billion per year (Brown, 1998).

In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by the US EPA and its Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health (US EPA, 1993).’

Wellbeing needs

Sustainable Living Actions

Clean air – reduce toxic chemicals in the air we breathe
  • Stop Smoking (NEW)
  • Use Plants to Remove Toxins
  • Use Non-Toxic Cleaners
  • Reduce and Offset Car Emissions
  • Use Public Transport
Clean air – remove dust and pollen from the air we breathe
  • Immerse yourself in Nature
  • Join an Urban Regeneration Group
  1. Respiratory System Health – Maintain and Strengthen the System
  Sustainable Living Actions
Exercise to strengthen the lungs
  • Ride a Bike
  • Immerse yourself in Nature

Further information:

  1. Treating Ailments and removing toxins

While we are focused on actions that aid both our health and the environment we recommend you see a doctor if you believe you have a medical problem, ailment or disease.

Ailment Information and resources
Asthma According to the Australian Asthma foundation “People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs. When exposed to certain triggers their airways narrow, making it hard for them to breathe.”

These triggers include cigarette smoke, Inhaled allergens (e.g. pollens, moulds, animal dander and dust mites), Environmental factors (e.g. dust, pollution, wood smoke, bush fires)

Chemicals and strong smells (e.g. perfumes, cleaners), and many more (see the Asthma Foundations site for more information (

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

The main cause of COPD is active smoking or exposure to smoking, however other causes may be involved, such as [1]:

  • smoke from burning fuels of plant or animal origin
  • outdoor air pollution
  • fumes and dust in the workplace
  • childhood respiratory infections
  • chronic asthma.

Resources & further reading:

Side Text

Goals of Breathing

  1. Introduce required air-borne gases to body systems
  2. Allow excretion of “waste” gases from body systems
  3. Optimal smell & absence of physical stress (to the extent they don’t diminish achieving the above goals)

Sustainable Living Guide Actions

  • Reduce and Offset Car Emissions
  • Use Public Transport
  • Use Plants to Remove Toxins
  • Use Non-Toxic Cleaners
  • Immerse yourself in Nature
  • Join an Urban Regeneration Group
  • Ride a Bike

Image ideas

  • Forest canopy with cloud coming out of it…
  • person on cold morning breathing…

Ecosystem services

The Air we breathe is created, cleaned and circulated by the natural systems of this planet. Plants absorbe the CO2 and other gases that Animal expell and produce the Oxygen and other gasses we need to breathe etc… the Environmental services essential to our continuing to breathe are under stress from human activity and climate change

  • Air Quality Maintenance
  • Production of atmospheric Oxygen

Links and Sources