how carbon affects our world

By: Ford Tew

An introduction to the carbon cycle

All living things are made of carbon. Carbon is also a part of the ocean, air, and even rocks. In the atmosphere, carbon is attached to some oxygen in a gas called carbon dioxide. Plants use carbon dioxide and sunlight to make their own food and grow. The carbon becomes part of the plant. Plants that die and are buried may turn into fossil fuels made of carbon, like coal and oil, over millions of years.

How human activity affects the carbon cycle

Humans significantly affect the carbon cycle by increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuels. People have also cleared so much forest that the ability of photosynthesis to remove CO2 has also been severely impaired. If a whole ecosystem's carbon cycle is affected by humans this could lead to the death of many organisms because they will lack the oxygen they need.

The environment near you

The disruption of the carbon cycle could affect you very harshly. It could result in bad oxygen if too many plants are killed and if there are many people that live near you the oxygen will become very polluted. Polluted oxygen may also kill off a lot of wild life that live in or around the area which is very bad for the ecosystem and can unbalance it.

Problems of disruption of the carbon cycle

If the carbon cycle was disrupted the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would rise. This would make the heat on earth rise (global warming). This would melt the polar ice caps. That would be very bad because the level of water would grow larger and could flood many coasts. Another thing that could be problematic is the lack of oxygen if there are not enough plants to create more.

Recommended actions

One action I would recommend is planting trees for yourself or pretty much any plants you can get your hands on - and fast. Doing so will speed up the creation of oxygen in your living area. Getting your friends to plant some too is also a great idea. To bring awareness to what you are trying to do, you could even start selling plants to other people in your neighborhood or even just give them away


T. M. L. Wigley's

The Carbon Cycle (book) (internet article) What is the carbon cycle?

National Geographic "The case of the missing carbon" By: Tim Appenzeller (magazine)

"Carbon cycle gets more extreme as climate changes" (newspaper article) The Los Angeles Times newspaper article by Geoffrey Mohan