A precisely calculated cycle allowing for life to exist and going on since the beginning of the world. In the same way that water is vital for life to exist, so is the carbon, because carbon is the fundamental element forming the basic structure of living substance. Always being recycled and reused, this element never vanishes, and helps maintain vitality. It moves from atmosphere to plants, from plants to animals, from animals and plants to humans, soil, and finally the atmosphere.
But in order to get this cycle, we should first get to know the element ‘carbon’. Carbon is the most versatile of all known elements. The carbon in the atmosphere can combine 94% of the elements, forming compounds. All living organisms contain carbon; 18% of the human body is carbon and the rest is water. Carbon compounds are the key element of the cell structure. But, in order for carbon to maintain life, it needs to form compounds and it is the plants’ mission to make it happen.
Now let’s look at the carbon cycle and how it helps life exist. As we all know, carbon is found in the Earth’s atmosphere. In photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere and turn it into sugar, thus producing substance necessary for their growth. As dead plants decay, fungi and microorganisms in the soil use sugar in the carbon to grow. As fungi and microorganisms die, there occurs topsoil. 50% of topsoil is carbon. In short, it is the carbon that gives life to soil which we plant. This is why vegetables, fruits, and cereals are all rich in carbon.
Now, let’s see how carbon helps animals live. When a cow eats grass, in ingests the sugar in the plant. As the cow inhales air, the sugar in its cells is burned with oxygen to give off energy. This is the energy that cells need for growth. We find the very same carbon in cow’s milk. Lactose, which can only be found in milk, is an important carbohydrate. All dairy products hold that precious carbohydrate. Humans consume plants and animals to meet the need for carbon. In short, growth of human is entirely the work of carbon compounds.
Just like in animals, human cells burn carbon in sugar to give off energy and using that energy, they grow and develop. Carbon not only helps living things grow, it also helps the world heat up. It is the carbon atoms in the air that prevent sun beams from reflecting back, because carbon absorbs the heat and spreads it around, thus helping the world heat up by greenhouse effect and keeping life going. These are not the only merits of carbon. Energy sources like petroleum, coal, and natural gas are also the works of carbon.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon in their trunks and in the soil. The water system on the Earth contains dissolved carbon. In the Earth’s crust, rocks have carbonates in them. Various compounds formed by carbon deep underground for millions of years undergo a chemical conversion and form petroleum. Natural gas is a gas that is separated from petroleum and contains hydrocarbons. When energy sources are burned, carbon goes back to the atmosphere and plants step in to take it back to the Earth. Carbon cycle, this magnificent cycle keeps life dynamic, and it goes on and on.