rare earth

March 16, 2010

By blending water and minerals from below with sunlight and CO2 from above, green plants link the earth to the sky.

We tend to believe that plants grow out of the soil, but in fact most of their substance comes from the air. The bulk of the cellulose and the other organic compounds produced through photosynthesis consists of heavy carbon and oxygen atoms, which plants take directly from the air in the form of CO2.

Thus the weight of a wooden log comes almost entirely from the air. When we burn a log in a fireplace, oxygen and carbon combine once more into CO2, and in the light and heat of the fire we recover part of the solar energy that went into making the wood.

– Fritjof Capra

One Response to “rare earth”

  1. Old Gregg Says:

    Fascinating observation.


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