According to the gemara (B'rachot 35) "If one benefits from this world without blessing, it is as if he steals from Hash-m" and the discussion then applies this to a variety of blessings we are to say before we eat foods. As mentioned here, "partaking in His creation without consent would be tantamount to stealing. When we acknowledge that our food comes from God – i.e. we say a bracha – God grants us permission to partake in the world's pleasures."
But we benefit from the world in so many more ways than just eating, all the time. If I take cotton and weave a shirt, if I take corn and use it for ethanol, if I take a frond, or by extension, an umbrella and cover myself in a rainstorm, or sit at a table or play a video game. In each case, I am benefiting from the world but I don't know of a particular blessing I should be making. It seems, though, that every moment, during which I am breathing air, I should be making a blessing asking for permission.
Why does the gemara extend Birchat Hanehenin to eating and not to the myriad other things I do for which I might think I would similarly have to ask that permission?