A researcher at the University of Copenhagen studies in detail the mineral olivine, which is able to extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

Olivine is a mineral that has great possibilities to extract Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, according to the researcher and assistant professor at the Department of Geosciences and Nature Management at the University of Copenhagen, Kristoffer Szilas.

This mineral contains nickel, which is currently used in steel production and in electric batteries, but research shows that olivine also has incredible potential to alleviate the climate crisis.

The Danish researcher has been working to recreate the natural process in the laboratory – work that could potentially contribute to solving our climate crisis in the future.

“When olivine is pushed to the Earth’s surface, through tectonic processes, the mineral becomes unstable and reacts with the wind and the climate. This causes the olivine to absorb CO2  from the atmosphere and be converted into a new mineral, a magnesium carbonate called magnesite. In this way, CO2  is stored in the mineral, ceasing to remain in the atmosphere as a gas”, says Szilas.

Scientists have known for some time the incredible properties of olivine, but now Szilas has been working to recreate the natural process, where carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, in the laboratory. If the mission is successful, it can have a huge positive impact on the climate. “With 1,000 kg of olivine, 600 kg of CO2  can be extracted from the air. And as olivine is found in the peridotite of the rock, which represents 80% of the Earth’s volume, the use of this mineral has a great potential for effect on the climate”, says the researcher.

Understand how contact with nature increases immunity

We are constantly interacting with the environment around us. But how could something as simple as spending time among trees, stepping on the ground or smelling the bush, contribute to making us healthier? That’s what science says!

Forest bath

There is a Japanese tradition called Shinrin-yoku, which means “to absorb the atmosphere of the forest” or “to take a bath in the forest”, which makes us understand a little more of that. In 1982, the Forestry Authorities of Japan suggested announcing the practice of Shinrin-yoku to the public in order to promote a strengthening of immunity.

The idea worked so well that today the National Institute of Public Health in Japan recommends Shinrin-yoku, universities study it and hospitals use it as a therapeutic resource.

What science has discovered is that when you breathe fresh air from a forest, you are inhaling a cocktail of bioactive substances released by plants. Some of these substances are called terpenes, which are emitted by the leaves, trunks and thick bark of some trees. Even thin layers of foliage on the forest floor emit them.

We absorb these gaseous terpenes partially through our skin, but especially through the lungs.

Although forest medicine does not replace conventional medical examinations under any circumstances, scientific studies have found that forest air is like an old friend to our bodies. Scientists have identified that some of these terpenes have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic and neuroprotective activities, making the forest air a healing elixir.

It was also discovered that bathing in the forest also increases the cells that act in defence against diseases such as cancer. Those who spend only one day in the forest will have more cells of this nature in their blood for up to seven days after contact with the green. Those who stay in the forest for two or three days, have these high levels for another 30 days.

It is amazing to think that we get these long-lasting health benefits simply by being in a forest. We do not need to do rigorous trails or walks (although this is also excellent), just breathing and being in communion with the trees is enough to guarantee good health!