The Importance of Plants on Planet Earth

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The Importance of Plants on Planet Earth

Plants As We See Them

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Plants are all around us, renowned for their aesthetic appeal; their

colours and structures lend themselves to decoration. Plants are used

in celebrations and commiseration's and are often celebrated in their

own right- the annual Michigan potato festival being a good example.

Plants are associated with national identity. The Scottish thistle;

Irish Shamrock; Welsh leeks and daffodils. Many national flags feature

plants, the Cedar tree on the Lebanese flag, and the Maple leaf on the

Canadian flag. However all of these commendations can not begin to

celebrate the real importance of plants on planet earth. In this essay

I will explore the biological and physical importance of plants and

the issues surrounding them.

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The Real Importance

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For millions of years the chemical needs of the biosphere have run on

solar energy. Plants (along with some bacteria and green algae) are

autotrophs that have the ability to convert this solar energy into

chemical energy by a process called photosynthesis. This chemical

energy, stored in plants is the fuel that sustains life.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS: The Light Reaction.

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Photosynthesis takes place in the leaves of plants. There are two

stages; the light-dependant or light reaction and the

light-independent or dark reaction. In photosynthesis the light

reaction, for which the presence of chlorophyll (the green pigment

found in the chloroplasts) is essential, begins with the...

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...resent viewed as the big new

thing. For centuries people relied on plants and their various

properties to cure illness and maintain good health, until they were

shunned in favour of 'conventional medicine'

In Conclusion

Plants are all around us. Medicinally we are turning to plants

(again!) to provide remedies for the stresses and strains of modern

living. Plants provide income and food. Yet few of us stop to consider

their real importance. Seen mainly as decorative organisms, not often

given credit for providing oxygen and food without which there would

be no life on earth. Genetic modification would appear to be a

positive step. Plants, as wonderful as they are, need to keep up with

the times; we demand more from our flora. Providing oxygen for us to

breathe and food for us to eat simply isn't enough anymore.

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