Many people may look at the picture above and see a tree, but that's not all it is. This green plant plays a huge role in our lives, without us even realising it.
Green plants provide us with food. They are at the start of all food chains (see below) and are called producers as they can produce their own energy. Green plants provide us with fruits and vegetables and also feed other animals that we may then go on to eat.
Green plants play a big role in our lives but play a bigger role in our environment. The equation below represents the process of photosynthesis:
From this equation, we can see that green plants provide our atmosphere with oxygen and use up carbon dioxide. The real importance of this is shown when we look at the equation for aerobic respiration.
The equation below represents the process of aerobic respiration:
Respiration is the reverse reaction of photosynthesis which allows for the oxygen/carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to be kept constant.
The Big CO2 Issue
The oxygen/carbon dioxide balance is extremely important, as carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The ever-increasing world population has led to this balance being disturbed.
An increasing population means an increase in the need for housing, schools, hospitals, factories and, of course, farmland. For these to be built, areas of green land must be cleared, causing an increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The increase in any greenhouse gas causes something known as The Greenhouse Effect and can lead to global warming.
The increasing population also means an increased demand for food and energy, leading to deforestation in order to clear the land needed for farming.
Keep these ideas in mind as we explore this activity.