It is no taboo that the Earth endures devastating damage, from all its inhabitants – man and animal. Go green, recycle, cycle! Just a few messages, now well embedded in the subconscious, from public campaigns on the topics. A more obvious, but overlooked solution, is to grow more oxygen.
Holding onto and increasing oxygen available on Earth, may well be beneficial. Not only now, but for generations to come. What we do or don’t do now, may affect our grandchildren’s, grandchildren. Growing or increasing oxygen in an environment, reduces the amount of carbon dioxide available in the surrounding air.
What is oxygen? Oxygen (O2) – A life supporting component of air, a colourless, odourless reactive gas, element 8 on the periodic table. What is air made of entirely, if oxygen is a ‘component’ of air? Oxygen (O2) makes up approximately 23% of air (with many studies varying between 21% and 23%). Nitrogen (N2) makes up approximately 76% give or take. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) makes up a much smaller percentage of air. Other components of air include trace gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor. Even with the small variation in percentage, by 1 or 2 units, oxygen is still surprisingly a small percentage of what makes up the air we breathe.
MAIN SOURCE OF OXYGEN
What is creating oxygen? Phytoplankton, trees and plants release oxygen (the life supporting gas for all living organisms), they release oxygen during photosynthesis. Photosynthesis occurs when plants and trees use the energy absorbed from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to make glucose to power a plants metabolism. This all occurs during a chemical reaction and oxygen is left over when the reaction takes place. The oxygen left over is released back into the air by the plants and trees. On average, over a 24-hour period, trees produce more oxygen than they use up, through growth and photosynthesis.
Most of us are familiar with trees and plants but what is Phytoplankton? Phytoplankton contribute to a large proportion of earth’s available oxygen. Scientists have suggested that phytoplankton may contribute to between 50 – 80% of the oxygen on earth.
What are phytoplankton? Small living plant like organisms that live in our oceans. These small ocean plants power metabolism by way of photosynthesis, just like other plants and provide us with oxygen.
WHY PLANT A SEED
Carbon dioxide is present in the air we breathe, when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air is too high. We absorb or extract, for lack of a better word, even less oxygen from the air from each breath. As trees and plants actually absorb carbon dioxide naturally, during photosynthesis. Large volumes of trees and plants in the forms of tropical forests and so forth, act as a carbon dioxide magnet so to speak. Which is why we are now seeing the deliberate creation of tropical forests. China is a great example where basic science (and a lot of manpower) has been used to reduce pollution and provide cleaner air and combat pollution.
A human breathes in approximately 9.5 tonnes of air, per year, according to studies. However, oxygen makes up about 23% of that air, in mass, as mentioned earlier. Just a little over 1 third of that 23% of oxygen is absorbed/extracted, in each breath. That works out to an approximate total of some 740kg of oxygen, per year. Which is, roughly, 7 or 8 trees worth of oxygen.
Most of us don’t own 1 fully grown tree, let alone 7 or 8. There are many articles out there that discuss the number of trees needed to survive. Some go into the amount of oxygen a particular trees and plants produces per kg of their weight as well as how much oxygen a human consumes in each breath. Then there is also the NASA Biosphere II study that details the number of trees required for survival, in an airtight space.
SAY NO TO CUT FLOWERS AND CUT TREES, PLANT A SEED
Things get more concerning when considering how many trees are cut down all over the world every day, every month and every year. With plants being used in many different industries. According to a survey, of 2015, earth is possibly losing an astonishing 15 billion trees per year, that we know of! The survey suggests that sadly the figures are probably an underestimation as not all trees and plants that are cut are documented.
The effort to maintain optimal levels of oxygen per human being, without even considering oxygen-depleting factors, like pollution and loss of tropical forest trees or plants, would be a great effort. However, there is indeed a practical low-cost solution to help ourselves and our planet. Plant a or a few trees! Starting from seed is so satisfying and actually creates oxygen, that was not present before that seed was germinated.
Oxygen is a gas and gases spread easily and effortlessly. Make an effort to maintain the oxygen already available on earth and minimise how much of a carbon footprint you leave behind on a daily basis. Here at Organic Occasions we are focused on creating awareness and where possible, practical solutions to better quality air. Particularly where pollution is at its highest. Help us reduce CO2 and increase O2 in the air, not just in the UK but worldwide. Plant a tree!
JOIN THE GREEN PARTY
In reading this article we hope that you become more conscious of protecting the air you inhale. We would love if you showed support for our awareness campaign. Grow and encourage the growth of seeds, particularly those usually thrown out everyday, from shop bought fruit and veg that indeed successfully grow into trees or plants. In turn, producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide as they grow. Say no to cut flowers and decorate with potted plants and trees instead. Help us help Earth. Plant a tree. If you need help germinating plant seeds check out our guide on germinating plant seeds here.
It’s may not always possible to plant as many trees and plants as one might like, due to lack of planting space or space in general for that matter. When challenged with lack of planting space that did not deter us from trying to create better quality air in the home and office. Check out our guide vertical gardens for inspiration.