By: Camille Shuey

We need photosynthesis. It is a necessary process in every living thing’s life. It provides us oxygen so we can breathe. And we provide carbon dioxide so that plants can breathe. We depend on plants, and plants depend on us. But, if all the plants on this planet vanished, what would happen? Well, to put it simply, every living organism on Earth would die. To keep this scenario from happening, we must plant more trees and greenery on Earth to produce more oxygen. We also need to make sure we take care of these plants, so that they will not die.

I say that we should plant more trees and other greenery in our environment. This is vital for every living thing’s survival. Plants produce the oxygen we breathe in; they also serve as a food source that provides us the energy to keep on living. But, more trees in our environment are being cut down, reducing the amount of oxygen in our atmosphere and increasing the amount of carbon dioxide. “But why an increase in carbon dioxide?” Because there are less trees and plants, so there isn’t enough plants to take in the carbon dioxide. If there isn’t enough oxygen in our atmosphere, every living thing might just die out, even the plants. Making our Earth a cold, barren piece of rock. I’m just putting this out but, I wouldn’t want that to be the fate of our world. Would you?

Photosynthesis is a process that transforms radiant energy (sunlight) to chemical energy (glucose). This might not sound very important, but it is. Just imagine a life without the sun. There would be no light, and without light there is no radiant energy. So plants cannot photosynthesize and they die because of lack of food then we die due to a lack of oxygen. Plants take carbon dioxide, water, and radiant energy to make glucose, a form of sugar for plants, and oxygen. You might think, “Why do plants need carbon dioxide and water if the plants are going to take out the oxygen molecules and send them out as waste?” Well, glucose had oxygen molecules. Also, plants break down their food lust like humans and animals do, with oxygen.

Plants need three things to photosynthesize. Those things are carbon dioxide (C0₂), water (H₂O), and radiant energy (sunlight). Carbon dioxide and water create a reaction when exposed to radiant energy. The products of this reaction are glucose (C₆H₁₂O₆) and oxygen (O₂). Plants need radiant energy to photosynthesize, but that doesn’t mean just any kind of radiant energy. Like, a plant cannot photosynthesize in a room with no sunlight and just a lamp. Even though the lamp produces radiant energy (light), it is not the kind of radiant energy the plant needs to survive.

The formula for photosynthesis is 6CO₂+6H₂O→C₆H₁₂O₆+O₂, or carbon dioxide + water → glucose + oxygen. The arrow is a symbol for radiant energy. So carbon dioxide and water transformed through radiant energy make glucose and oxygen. “But, where do plants photosynthesize, inside their leafs?” No, not necessarily. There are organelles in plant cells called chloroplasts where photosynthesis happens. There is also chlorophyll in in chloroplasts. Chlorophyll is the substance in plants that makes them green. “But, why can’t we photosynthesize?” Notice how I said plant cells and not all cells. Animal cells and human cells don’t have chloroplast, which means we cannot photosynthesize. That is also the reason why our skin isn’t green. If we had chloroplasts, that means we would have chlorophyll in our cells which would make our skin green. In all honesty, that would be horrifying.

Plants get their energy from glucose, which is basically sugar. To make glucose, plants must photosynthesize. And if plants can’t photosynthesize, they cannot get their energy, which means they will die. But, technically plants get their energy from the sun because radiant energy is what triggers photosynthesis. Like all living things, they need sugar to provide them energy. We eat other organisms to get energy, and plants make glucose to get energy.

Plants are important to animals for many different reasons. Plants produce oxygen though photosynthesis so animals can breathe. Some animals are herbivores, so some animals eat plants to survive; therefore plants can also serve as a food source. Animals are important to plants, too. Animals breathe out the carbon dioxide plants need for photosynthesis. Plants and animals depend on each other for survival. So, if one of the two disappears, the other one would die. That’s why we have to plant more trees so that there can be plenty of oxygen for Earth’s growing population. Believe it or not, an average sized tree can provide enough oxygen for four to six people!

Plants can be found somewhere in the beginning of the food chain. Because they are producers, which mean they make their own food. The sun always in the beginning of the food chain, then there is always some kind of producer, because they make their own food. After the plant, a consumer (like a cow) will come next. This is because consumers get their energy from consuming other organisms. Example: Grass would get their energy from the sun and photosynthesize, making its own food, which makes a producer because it makes its own food. A cow comes and eats the grass, getting its energy from the grass, which makes it a consumer because it’s getting its energy from eating another organism.