How Plants Help the Environment
Humans need plants for survival, but we also need them for their basis in the long-term health and sustainability of our environmental systems. Plants improve the environment in many ways, like releasing oxygen into the atmosphere, absorbing carbon dioxide, providing nutrients to animals, and regulating the water cycle — all things we need to sustain life on Earth.
1. Clean the Air
The majority of the oxygen we breathe comes from plants. This is because plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to convert energy into a form that other living things can use, oxygen and power in the form of sugar.
One of the biggest threats to the Earth is the high amount of carbon within the atmosphere from fossil fuels and manufacturing. But through photosynthesis, plants help reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by storing and using it. Undoubtedly, plants are natural air purifiers; the more prominent and leafier the plant is, the better it absorbs carbon dioxide and produces more oxygen.
2. Regulate Water Resources
The water cycle keeps water moving above and below the surface of the Earth, and plants help regulate the stormwater runoff. Plants and trees absorb water after a storm, saving cities money from maintaining and pumping out excessive runoff.
The role of green infrastructure includes planting vegetation across a town or city to leverage the capabilities of soil and vegetation to infiltrate, redistribute, and otherwise store stormwater volume, with the potential to fulfill additional environmental, social, and economic benefits.
In addition, vegetation returns water into the atmosphere through the soil. As a result, around 10% of water in the form of water vapor goes back into the atmosphere, regulating and replenishing the Earth’s stock of water for the next rainfall and keeping energy running naturally.
3. Cultivate Biodiversity
Creating a secure place for animals to live is crucial to sustaining biodiversity. Unfortunately, urban sprawl worldwide has impacted our ecosystem by disturbing animal populations. The most effective way not to disturb animal populations is by giving wildlife a natural refuge. Creating green spaces, even around cities, is an effective way for wildlife to succeed despite living in an encroached territory. Parks and other green habitats illuminate potential synergies among food production and conservation of biodiversity.
4. Provide a Source of Energy
Healthy plants also provide humans with a source of energy and food. Plants play an essential part in our environment and our diet. They provide us with the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber we need to survive. In addition, we need plants to feed farm animals, which we utilize for meat and dairy products.
Another way plants save energy is by reducing the costs of heating and cooling buildings. For example, planting a tree on the west side of your building can reduce the demand for electrical grids. It decreases the sun’s effect on the outer walls and roof temperature, which means that heating and cooling your home will require less energy, reduce the environmental impact, and save you money in the long run.
5. Reduce the Effects of Climate Change
One of the most significant natural issues today is climate change and the burning of fossil fuels. Burning fossils results in high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the air we breathe. But, this is when plants come into play. On Earth, terrestrial and oceanic plants store carbon dioxide from the air to decrease the number of polluted gases in the environment.
You can grow trees that reduce the pollution level and stave off global warming, including yellow poplar, silver maple, oak, pines, and blue spruce. We all must understand the role of plants in our environment.
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