Global warming alarmists would have us believe that driving a car, heating your home, buying goods and eating food all contribute to the load of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air. Since CO2 is one of the gases that trap heat in the atmosphere – known as greenhouse gases – environmentalists insist it is a large contributing factor to the “catastrophic warming” of our planet. Perhaps we should all stay home, stop eating, and freeze to death in winter?
And guess what? It would be better if you stopped breathing! A Q&A article in The New York Times expounded on the “Burden of Breathing” – yes, you read that correctly – explaining that breathing makes a significant contribution to the burden of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year, since it involves exhaling carbon dioxide.
The Times piece explained, “A conservative estimate based on a person who spends eight hours a day sleeping and 16 hours in normal activities, but one who does not add to the atmospheric burden by exercise, would thus come to about 456 liters of carbon dioxide a day, or 166,440 liters every 365 days.” That’s around 44,000 gallons of carbon dioxide per person, per year. And that’s if we don’t exercise!
Back when the article was published in 1990, that was still okay. You see, back then, there were only 5.3 billion people on the planet, and as Joel S. Levine, an atmospheric scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration explained, all that carbon dioxide was pretty much eliminated “by the uptake of carbon dioxide by vegetation in the process of photosynthesis.”
Now, we can’t be sure that the balance is still intact – after all, there are over 7.5 billion people on the planet today. We can rest assured, though, that if global population gets out of control, the powers that be will deal with the situation “for the greater good.” Perhaps a mass human culling is in the offing for the near future?
But let’s focus on Mr. Levine’s point for a moment. He correctly reminded readers that the carbon dioxide dispelled by breathing (and presumably by all that eating, driving, and temperature control) is balanced naturally by the process of photosynthesis.
For those of us who may have forgotten elementary school science, photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert carbon dioxide into food, using energy from the sun. To do this, they need sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and chlorophyll (the pigment that gives leaves their color). The leaves and stem of the plant contain tiny holes, known as stomata, through which the carbon dioxide enters the plant. At the same time, water enters the plant through its roots, and travels through the stem to the leaves. When sunlight falls on the leaves, chlorophyll captures the energy in it, and stores it for future use. That energy is eventually used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is combined with carbon dioxide and used by the plant to produce its food, while the oxygen is released into the atmosphere through the stomata. This process is repeated over and over, and without it there could be no human or animal life.
So, as much as carbon dioxide has been vilified by many scientists and the mainstream media, it is a vital component of life on our planet. And enough plants and trees could perfectly balance out any excess CO2 produced by food production, heating, driving and breathing. It doesn't take a scientific genius to think that perhaps we should be planting more trees rather than wasting time obsessing about global warming!