They’re everywhere. Literally. And some people even tie themselves to trees to save them from being cut down.Is this love justified for something so ubiquitous?
Let’s look at the green part. It’s the chlorophyll in them that make them green. This helps plants convert light into food via photosynthesis, as anyone with a basic science education would know. But have you really thought about that carefully? Light -> Food. Can you do that? Here’s that light energy into matter link again. If you really sit down and think about just this alone it’s awe inspiring. Often we are like bored children who don’t recognise the seemingly magical right in front of our eyes.
A recent study estimated that in terms of pure mass, plants are the winners of the earth biomass contest by a large margin – 70 Gigatons, vs just over 1 Gigaton for bacteria. What about animals? Less than 1 Gigaton. a trifling insignificant number. So light does indeed make a fantastic amount of biomass. Plants don’t really move much and have abundant light and so it’s easy for them to become the biggest organism on the planet by pure mass.
Plants are producers in the food chain. Animals, insects and other organisms literally depend on them for food and these are primary consumers. This foodchain extends further as other organisms feed on the primary consumers – these are now secondary consumers. Humans are often both primary and secondary consumers, cows are primary consumers and lions secondary or even tertiary or higher.
What this means is that light underpins the entire phenomenon of life on earth. Literally. And plants are the conduits of the light to matter connection on which our lives depend.
As if that was not enough plants are also take up water from the soil and push it into the air via a process called transpiration. This would be unremarkable until we recognised that the plant doesn’t use 95% of the water it takes up. It appears to be designed to be taking water from the ground to provide water to the atmosphere, leading to rain, rivers and thereby sustaining life above the ground. So this green coloured plant is a light factory producing food, but gives us water trapped in the ground.
Amongst the mysteries of the world we occupy, is the atom.
From the earliest times this was considered the smallest particle of an element. When we zoom in technologically speaking, it appears as if that it’s not just a solid but composed of many particles.
A number of strange phenomena can be recognised inside this from an everyday human perspective. Firstly is that the atom is composed of 99.99% empty space, due to the vast distance between the nucleus and the edge of the atom as described by electron orbits. This means that you and I are 99.99% empty space despite the appearance of solidity. This is a scientific fact, not speculation. That we see and believe one thing yet what is we accept as fact is indeed very different. This should give us pause to reflect on the Reality of what we perceive and what it actually is.
Secondly is the fact that there is a strong positive charge in the nuclei in atoms. This means that two atoms can never really get too close due to extraordinary repulsion forces. In fact the whole idea of nuclear fusion is based on the premise of trying to bring together two atoms – and the enormous energy required is equivalent to what we would find in the Sun. What does this mean? That when you put your finger to a table, that in fact you have never touched that table. You merely experience extraordinary repulsion forces. Once again this is a well established scientific fact. Once again our perceptions are deceived and what we think is real is actually something else entirely.
Thirdly is that electrons don’t just travel around the nucleus. One of the lessons of quantum mechanics is that the electron indeed can appear and disappear from one location to another repeatedly when crossing the zero volume of the nucleus when describing the pi orbital. It’s well established that matter does not exist in a solid fashion as we understand it. It can even become a wave. Remember Einstein’s equation E=mc^2. He related matter (m) to the speed of light (c) as being so relatable that he put them in the same equation. What we understand as solid is not really even solid – subatomic particles are often described as being in a wave-particle duality. And as we know waves can go through things – radio waves, sound waves, even light waves in certain conditions.