Published on : 28/02/2021 – 00:02
In praise of plants: it was with them that it all began, and it is thanks to them that animal life was able to develop. Without plants, which represent the bulk of the planet’s biomass, it is impossible to breathe, eat or heal.
They were there before everyone else. In the form of microscopic blue algae in the oceans, to put it simply, it was about 3 and a half billion years ago that the French botanist Francis Hallé, in his book In praise of the plant, class among plants. A few more evolutions, they colonized the earth, to the point of representing today almost all of the biomass of the planet. Plants, since they are what we are talking about, weigh 82% of all living things. The blue planet is a green planet.
Animals, resulting from plants which remained sedentary, attached to their land or to their rock, have become nomads. And the last of them, humans, who arrived last but who use themselves first, represent 0.01% of the terrestrial biomass. Plants lived very well on their own, but we humans, like other animals, could not live without them. It is thanks to plants, first of all, that we breathe. Thanks to chlorophyll and photosynthesis, which convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, produced by the first organisms in the ocean, life has been possible on the globe.
Without plants, famine guaranteed
Plants, too, nourish us. At the source of the food chain. He who eats an ox eats grass. Without plants, famine guaranteed. They also provide energy: petroleum or coal. Fossil fuels, originally, are only plant matter that has entered into decomposition. Finally, plants take care of us, at the base of many medicines.
More than 30,000 plants are useful to the human species, out of some 400,000 recorded on the planet. But on average every year, three species go extinct forever. 90% of the forests have also disappeared.
“So, are we all gonna die?” ”
This is a hypothesis that has never been denied until now, and this is the reason why we make babies, plants or animals, to ensure the survival of our species. But conditions on Earth are deteriorating. A study published by the journal Sciences shows that plants absorb less CO2 today than before: 50% less in the last thirty years. Blame it on global warming and the increase in droughts. Water stress, and the lack of nutrients too, implies less photosynthesis. Plants no longer follow the rhythm imposed by humans. The planet is out of breath.