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The Human Impact on the Carbon Cycle

The carbon cycle is one of the most important biochemical cycles on earth because of the vital role that it plays in supporting life.  Photosynthesis is a major aspect of the carbon cycle that enables every human being on earth to breathe.  The importance of photosynthesis cannot be overstated; however, it is not the only important aspect of the carbon cycle.  There is a natural carbon cycle that humans are heavily involved in.  This natural cycle contains two main parts both photosynthesis and metabolism. I wanted to focus on a different portion of how humans influence the carbon cycle that is not as popular.  I choose to focus on the non-natural or increased release of carbon into the atmosphere by humans.  It is important to realize the possible consequences that altering the carbon cycle may cause.  Humans increase the carbon in the atmosphere by two major ways: the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.


Humans release carbon into the air in the form of carbon dioxide.  The normal way that is gas is released is through metabolism and that gas is largely consumed by plants during photosynthesis.  One of the unnatural methods that humans release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is through the burning of fossil fuels.  Fossil fuels include fuels formed by natural resources like natural gas, coal, and petroleum.  Mankind has grown increasingly dependent upon these resources and that has begun to lead to possibly severe consequences in the near future.

The problem with the increase in this gas is that carbon dioxide is a green house gas and it may be increasing the effects of global warming.  There is no doubt that humans are directly impacting the level of carbon dioxide in the air.  The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 35 percent more than expected over the past ten years.  Humans are influencing the balance that exists between plant life and animal life and it is resulting in drastic climate changes. It is essential to the long term survival of our planet to discover new clean sources of energy for everyday use.

Not only are humans responsible for adding more carbon dioxide into the air by burning more fossil fuels than the environment can withstand, but we are also guilty of removing some of the plant life that is trying to eliminate the abundance of the gas.  Entire forest are cut down or burned in the process of deforestation.  By removing large quantities of trees from natural regions humans are increasing the volume of carbon dioxide.   Deforestation is having an adverse effect on more than just the carbon cycle for many living creatures.  Depending on the region of deforestation it can lead several animals and plant life to the endangered list or even extinction.

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier from Pexels

All of the life cycles are vital to all living creatures on the earth.  As humans we have a responsibility to every species on the plant now and in the future to keep the earth as clean and green as possible.  As we breathe in and out every day, we should stop to think about our source of oxygen and how it came to be.  Without plants; there would be nothing to remove the carbon dioxide that we have placed into the air with that breathe, and there would be no oxygen to breathe back in after we exhaled. The climate change that could accompany global warming and deforestation would be devastating to life as we know it.  These are all major reasons that humans must do more to leave the carbon cycle uninfluenced and marvelous.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels

Please share with us your thoughts on how we, as humans, can help our planet.

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