What is carbon?
Carbon is a crucial element to every living organism. Carbon is in our bodies, the atmosphere, fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), plants and animals. In our bodies, it is found in proteins, carbohydrates, and DNA. All living beings produce carbon. Even now as you breathe you are emitting carbon into the air.
Once carbon is gathered in the air, it helps trees and plants in their photosynthesis process. Carbon is also diffused by warm bodies of water and helps crustaceans build their shells. As trees and animals die, they decompose all the carbon stored in their bodies which then travels into the soil where it helps other trees, plants, and fungi form. Even rocks are made of carbon! Altogether, carbon constantly cycles through Earth, living organisms, and air.
What is the Carbon Cycle?
The carbon cycle is a very important process in which carbon travels from the atmosphere into organisms and the Earth, and then back into the atmosphere. This cycle is nature's way of reusing carbon atoms in different ways and in varying places.
What is the Carbon Cycle's relation to Global Warming?
The carbon cycle works as a "Delicate Planetary-Scale Machine that determines Earth's climate." The more carbon there is in the Earth's atmosphere, the warmer the climate is. Thus, releasing so much carbon affects global warming and ocean acidification which plays a role in marine animal extinction.
How are humans at fault for excessive carbon in the atmosphere?
About 150 years ago, humans began to mine fossil carbon and burned it for energy. Today, we release carbon into the air more than 100 times faster than natural processes can return it to the Earth. Alarmingly, it will take hundreds or thousands of years to remove the excess C02 from the ocean and atmospheric system.
Here are other ways that humans cause excess carbon in the atmosphere:
- . farming. deforestation
. consuming too much electricity
We are turning up the heat far faster than Earth can handle, therefore we must work to stop carbon emissions in order to balance the carbon cycle and preserve the quality of Earth now!
Ways we can help reduce carbon footprint:
Stop eating (or eat less) meat
Unplug your devices
Don't buy fast fashion (try to recycle clothing and shop at local thrift stores or buy used clothing online)
Plant a garden
Eat local and organic
Line-dry your clothes
Sign petitions online that can help stop corporate companies from fracking oil in the ocean's ecosystems