Often times we take the world of plants for granted and are not aware of how important plants really are to life on earth. But how important are plants actually to us and can we live without them?
In this article you will find out why, so let's go!
Table of content
Why Are Plants Important?
Throughout the century plants have been shown to be important for all living things, because:
- Plants provide humans and animals with food.
- Plants release oxygen.
- Plants are used in the industry.
- Some plants are used as medicine.
- Plants provide habitat and clothing for humans and animals.
- Plant balance our climate.
- Plants as companions.
Plants are essential for all living things. Without them, the earth may not be able to survive as it is right now. Plants provide humans and other living things with air, food, shelter, and others. They absorb the energy from the sun to supply organisms with nutrients and protect them as they nurture the environment.
Plants are proven valuable to keep the balance in our world up to this moment. They are one of the most vital necessities in the lives of all living things. We see them almost everywhere we go, whether in school, office, parks, and even at home. They are everywhere because they are useful in every corner of Earth.
Some people also began planting as a hobby. It has become an avenue for people to relax and chill to have some peace of mind.
Plants Provide Humans and Animals With Food
Plants are autotrophs-organisms that are capable of producing their food.
Although living things like phytoplankton and some type of bacteria are considered as autotrophs, plants are the most abundant in existence. They are generally responsible for providing the initial food source at the start of the food chain, which nourishes every other organism up to the apex predator.
Plants rely on a process called photosynthesis for them to produce organic compounds. This process is made possible by the chlorophyll that gives them a distinct green color. This pigment allows plants to absorb energy from light. With the sun providing plenty of light energy, plants convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, water, and minerals from the soil into chemical energy.
This food-producing capacity of plants is realized by our ancestors who pioneered and developed the agricultural sector that heavily relies on crops. They are responsible for keeping the ever-growing population of Earth away from starvation.
On the other hand, you might think that animal products as food consumption are enough. It may be enough to stay alive but it will not suffice to live a healthy life. Aside from this, animals also need plants to live and to generate nutrients for humans.
Plants Release Oxygen
The air we breathe is not entirely oxygen. It is made up of 78 percent nitrogen and only 21 percent oxygen. However, this oxygen is important for living things cells to produce energy. Plants absorb the energy from the sun and release oxygen as a result of their metabolism process.
Humans and other living things, in return, exhale carbon dioxide that plants need for their photosynthesis. It is a cycle where both plants and other living things get to use each other for survival.
Plants are Used in the Industry
Manufacturing industries use plants for industrial crops. Aside from food, they can also be utilized to produce nonfood products like soaps, shampoos, perfumes, cosmetics, paint, varnish, turpentine, rubber, latex, lubricants, linoleum, plastics, inks, and gums. There are also renewable fuels from plants like firewood and other biofuels. This proves that plants have a diverse function for humankind.
Plants are also one of the fundamental sources of fiber that are used in manufacturing clothing. On the other hand, woods are maximized not just of structural buildings, but also for boats, furniture, and musical instruments.
Some Plants are Medicine
(some are subjected for experimental medication process)
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the world's population use plant-based medication as a form of healthcare in their communities. This is especially more rampant to the rural areas that cannot easily have access to commercially produced medicines and modern facilities.
Many examples support this claim like the salicylic acid, which is the main component of the drug aspirin found on jasmine, beans, peas, and clover.
The first potent Malaria treatment has its origin from a tree’s bark called the Cinchona tree. Digoxin-a medication for heart conditions was derived from the foxglove plant. Various other plants beneficial for human health are well-known around the world.
Plants Provide Habitat and Clothing for Animals and Humans
The earth's landscape is mostly made up of plants that provide habitats necessary for all types of life. They give shelter to the wilds and even to the smallest species on Earth. Without them, life for animals would be unideal since they have no place to live in times of harsh weather. There will be no location to breed for species such as birds, which rely on plant materials for their nests, and no place to hide when a predator wants to catch them.
Aside from the natural habitats they provide in the wild, human beings, since the dawn of civilization, relied on plant-based materials for their shelters (video below). Lumbers is extensively used in homes. Since then up until now, they are derived from hardwood trees, roofing in far-flung areas still relies on plant-based materials like bamboos and nipa palm leaves.
Plants Balance Our Climate
The rising problem of global warming around the world is due to the excessive carbon that stays in our environment's atmosphere. Excessive carbon dioxide is released from harmful activities such as burning, deforestation, and industrial activities like smoke releasing factories.
It is when plants do their work and cancel the carbon in our air, and balance our temperate climate.
Plants are indeed a key to continue living on earth. With all their diversity, they keep the cycle of life going and make opportunities for all other living things to serve more purpose. With their existence, almost everything is made easier, from food consumption to a safe habitat. They are the living things that are the main source of support by other living things.
Plants as Companions
Last but not least plants are also known for the aesthetics they bring in homes.
A study done in 2015 concludes that indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work. This is accomplished through suppression of sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure and the promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings.
So, owning houseplants doesn't only produce just oxygen, which freshens up the air, but also induces better concentration and is also responsible for stress relieving that boosts the moods of the occupants.
The companionship given by these green organisms is supported by the rise in popularity of small, indoor succulent plants, which are prevalent nowadays, and are known for their beginner-friendly tendencies as a gateway to plant keeping.
Wrapping it Up
Plants are indeed a key to continue living on earth. With all their diversity, they keep the cycle of life going and make opportunities for all other living things to serve more purpose. With their existence, almost everything is made easier, from food consumption to a safe habitat. They also paved the way for advancement in medication to happen. They are the living things that are the main source of support by other living things.