While the recent fires in the Amazon Rainforest have the world captivated, it makes me think about the importance of plants. They are key to life on Earth.
I remember sitting in Mr. Hopely’s ninth grade biology class and learning about photosynthesis. In a nutshell, photosynthesis is the process by which plants use the energy from the sun to convert water and carbon dioxide into glucose. This makes plants the primary producers of their own food, energy, and growth.
What does that have to do with us? Plants and living creatures have a cyclical interdependence. In the process of photosynthesis, we get a valuable by-product – oxygen. Plants produce the majority of free oxygen in the air. As we humans inhale oxygen, we exhale carbon dioxide. Therefore, we’re providing an important component to photosynthesis. This helps plants create more food, oxygen, and water. Photosynthesis also helps maintain the balance of carbon dioxide in nature.
That brings me back to the Amazon Rainforest and the ongoing fires. There are roughly 40,000 species of plants living in the forest. Nearly one-third of the land photosynthesis occurs in tropical forests. The largest is in the Amazon Basin.1
When deforestation regulations are relaxed to create more land for farmers, it does more harm than good. If you clear out huge swaths of plants, you decrease their ability to supply necessary nutrients and energy.
Living organisms and fire consume all oxygen.2 Humans and animals are living organisms. All living creatures on earth need plants for life and survival. Bottom line: life cannot exist without plants and photosynthesis.