Green Genius

“But how is light fuel? We can bathe in the Sun all we want, but we have no way to convert its light into the chemical energy that our cells can use. We can change it into electrical energy with a solar panel, but that’s not going to feed our cells. Lie on the beach all day, and you are still going to have to eat lunch. How does the Sun become lunch?”

So begins an answer to yesterday’s post wherein I talked about entropy and posted Part 1 of Things Fall Apart, an attempt to explain the basics of biology in a way that allows a broad perspective. Entropy dictates an unceasing march towards disintegration for all things. Yet our world is filled with complexity, order, and vitality. How? Energy. A constant influx of energy is required to oppose the tendency to disorder and decay. Energy input may come in the form of eating a deep-fried Mars bar (an Edinburgh specialty), to keep youself intact (if a mite queasy), or patching the roof of your house, to keep it intact.

Today I post Things Fall Apart-Part 2, and explore where all this energy comes from. The answer is the Sun, and the green genius is the way plants take sunlight and use it to create not just energy for themselves, but for all of us.

Why are leaves green? Why do plants need water? How do they create oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide? Tune in to Part 2, and find out how plants feed us, provide our oxygen, process our waste, and ultimately stand–in all their understated vegetal elegance–between us and a slide into nothing.

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Published in: on November 30, 2006 at 12:22 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Begin with cyanobacteria about 3 billion years ago.
    Check out Franz Lantings beautiful site.
    http://www.lifethroughtime.com/
    go to the time line and keep the volume up.
    Enjoy.
    -j


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