Carbon-Oxygen Cycle

The Carbon-Oxygen Cycle

     Carbon dioxide has always been a component of our Earth’s atmosphere.  We learned about the carbon-oxygen cycle in school.  Carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants and used, along with sunlight, to form the building blocks of plant life.  That process, called photosynthesis produces oxygen as a byproduct.  People and the animal kingdom use that oxygen from the atmosphere and replace it with carbon dioxide as we breathe and live.  When common organic matter (wood, leaves, grass, etc.) decomposes or is burned, that also takes oxygen out of the atmosphere and adds carbon dioxide.  Since humankind discovered how to burn coal and oil to produce useful heat and energy, especially recently, the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has been increasing.

     Running out of oxygen for people and animals to breathe is not expected to be a problem any time soon.  The problem is that carbon dioxide is one of those gases in our atmosphere, which does not let the warm Earth radiate its extra heat on out into space.  It reflects the heat waves back down to the Earth’s surface.  Temperature measurements in thousands of locations indicate that the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere has been rising.  The Earth needs for us to reduce the carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere.

Developed by the Care for Creation task force Peter Hovland, Paul Larson, Martin Carlson.  If you would like to join the task force, talk to one of them.


THE UNBALANCING OF THE EARTH CARBON CYCLE


As we begin the New Year, let us review the basic science of how we can best care for this amazing creation (our earth) we have been entrusted with. It is really not that complicated. In one of the first of these monthly columns, we briefly described how the Carbon Cycle works. Much of the Earth’s Carbon exists as a component of organic compounds and structures: Trees and other plant material; coal; oil; natural gas; wood structures; lumber; furniture; etc.. When these things oxidize by burning or decomposing, the Carbon cycles into the atmosphere as Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Humankind is not responsible for all the CO2 that goes into the atmosphere. Right now, immense forests in Alpine and far north regions are dead and decomposing because diseases and insect parasites are thriving higher in the mountains and farther north than ever before. The Carbon that was sequestered in the billions of old trees of those forests is being released slowly and surely into the atmosphere in the form of CO2. It took the forest 100 to 200 years to remove that Carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in living trees. As we use (burn) immense quantities of oil, coal and natural gas, we release CO2 that nature had sequestered over a period of hundreds of thousands of years.

That is what has unbalanced the Earth’s Carbon Cycle.

To continue to allow climate change to be a political football is to not use the intellect and free will our creator gave us . We just need to think before we act and not continue those old habits. We need to think before we buy that bottled water that is no better than what comes out of our tap (What a sales job!). We must read labels and think before we purchase apples from New Zealand or shoes from China….think before we buy anything on sale before considering durability, repair ability and/or the energy-cost of operation. We should also think about the packaging. So many things are insanely over-packaged and there are often more. In the weeks and months to come, we will share new information as we find it, but mostly it will just be reminders of things that should motivate us to change our habits.

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