Carbon Cycle and the Influence of Humanity on Environment

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Introduction

What is carbon cycle? Everyone knows it. Basically carbon cycle is the cycle of gas called carbon dioxide from biological activities on earth by human and other living matter into the atmosphere and back to environment. Carbon is one of the important elements on earth. All living thing on earth are made of carbon. Most of the fuels human used are primarily made of carbon including the food we eat and the main raw materials used in the factories. Carbon plays important role in controlling the climate change. It’s very essential to biological things on earth especially the plant and other associated environmental system. Primarily carbon is the basis of the organic molecules, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids. Biological activities in different forms on planet are accelerating the amount of carbon gas in the atmosphere. Too much of carbon gas accumulating in atmosphere are bare to biological things on earth. Nowadays it’s on the scene that human activities affect the whole ecosystem on earth. Hence individual of us are responsible to combat to it.

Structure of an Ecosystem

The complex system in which there is an interaction between abiotic and biotic components in the environment producing an exchange of materials between them is called an ecosystem. The non-living or abiotic constituent of an ecosystem includes nutrients, temperature, air, light, water etc. Huge community of living organism from micro level share common ecosystem service to exist, enhancing to live in the biosphere. Basically biota shares common resources in the ecosystem. Hence they are generally grouped by law of nature to shape the biosphere. They are grouped into following groups.

  1. Producers: The community of green plants are called primary producer. It has vital role in sustaining life process. They obtain mineral nutrients; absorb carbon dioxide with the help of sunlight ensuring locking of chemical energy. The process is called photosynthesis.
  2. Consumer: producers are life sustaining materials which sustain living biota to exist in the biosphere. They are interlinked with each other in a complex food web.
  3. Decomposers: The microorganisms especially the bacteria act as a decomposer after all macro organisms are dead. Its faecal matter, exudates and excreta of plants and animals are going to degrade by bacteria. After decomposition it is bring back to surrounding medium.

Carbon dioxide is the source of energy to all forms of life. It’s one of the important elements on earth that support all forms of life. Without its presence nothing can exist on planet. Carbon dioxide plays an important part in plant and animal process, such as photosynthesis and respiration (Singh, 2004). Sunlight is the fundamental energy of the majority of ecosystem. It’s used by autotrophs in the ecosystem to produce simple carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. The process is called photosynthesis. Autotrops are considered as primary producer in the ecosystem. Complex organic compounds like proteins, starch and lipids are produced inside autotrops. The heterotrops in the ecosystem depends on the organic matter produced by the autotrops. Heterotrops are the consumer of the ecosystem, especially plant and animal. The movement of organic matter from primary producer level to consumer level makes up a food chain. The final link of the food chain is decomposer, comprised of microorganism. The overlapping and interconnecting food chain forms the food web. Ultimately the food web is the chain of carbon movement. It’s the way how carbon is constituted of each biota. Hence carbon is the basic needs of every living being in the biosphere.

Changing of Carbon Cycle

Globally we know that today the carbon cycle is changing at an alarming rate. Humans are responsible for emitting more carbon into the atmosphere than any other parts of earth system enhancing the global warming. Due to human greed burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil had contributed excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (staff). Another important human impact lies in changing the Earths land covers. From the terrestrial ecosystem human implies massive imbalance in carbon content. The most abundant practice that human used in imposing change are; Firstly by net change of pristine ecosystem to croplands and pastures. Secondly harvest of wood or logging. Thirdly by shifting cultivation and at some instance by forest fire. On the other hand even the universally distributed poisons like lead and DDT tend to depress the photosynthetic efficiency of green plants on global scale. All of these factor cause imbalance in carbon content in the atmosphere. It’s all because of socioeconomic growth of the nation.

If the nation is having more capital income per annum then there would be more emission of greenhouse gas. However the Bhutan being a small country where the socioeconomic growth is at subsistence level do not face any consequences of effect from greenhouse effect. At global level we are facing indirectly at large scale. People may wonder why Bhutan is only a carbon negative country in the world. It’s all because of our positive perspective view toward nature as environment is one of our pillars of GNH. On the other hand our country focuses mainly on principle of GNH than GDP. Though seventy percent of nation population depend on agriculture but we tend to keep seventy percent of forest cover intact. It’s all because we use renewable resource effectively rather than depending on non renewable resources which are limited.

Human are Agent of Destruction

The natural ecosystem has its dynamic method of maintaining the suitable habitat for living. Interaction between biotic and abiotic agents is needed to shape ecosystem. From numerous entities of ecosystem the most vital role was played by the amount of carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere. It enhances the photosynthesis to plants and was the budding era for the complex food web. Rapidly growing human population emits excess amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to meet their demand. In fact its excess amount has to be beneficial to photosynthetic plants but some researchers found that excess amount of carbon dioxide decline photosynthesis. High concentration of carbon dioxide declines the nutritional quality of some staples, such as wheat. It also creates more access to insects. The plants defence also decline as its amount increase at alarming rate.

On top of that we should know that carbon dioxide is one of the green house gases. Globally we all know that it absorbs infra-red and heat waves effectively. This huge amount of gas acts as a blanket around the globe and does not allow the loss of heat from the planet. When this gas obstructs the loss of heat there will be rise in temperature on the planet. So the rise of temperature is globally known as global warming. It’s all due to human activities on the planet. Due to global warming the rare species on the planet are at the verge of extinction and some are already extinct. Most significantly it has great impact on climate change. The Himalayan region would face the dreaded flash flood due to melting of glacier. Our nation was at the heart of Himalayan region. The disaster management policies of Bhutan are putting much effort financially and dedicatedly yet they are not able to cope up with new GLOFS (glacial lakes outburst floods) threat. Hence the innocent people of our countryside and the zone it belongs are facing the threats to live, livelihood and development. Those unusual factors are due to changing in natural carbon cycle by human being.

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Limiting the carbon dioxide gases in the atmosphere. Everyone knows that human are the main agent that disturb the natural cycle of an environment. In the nature numerous forms of geochemical cycle happens in order to maintain the balance between living and non living things. These cycles are being hampered by human and in return it massively alters lifestyle of living being. Ultimately we are responsible for its existence. One of the main global threats to living being is the massive input of carbon dioxide gas than what the nature actually used as an output. In this fast changing technological world, due to advancement in socioeconomic growth the people are running out of resources present on earth. Their main raw materials are carbon content. Eventually they land up to emission of massive carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere. The gas is one of the green house gases. Out of various greenhouse gases carbon dioxide was one of the major issues at global level.

To suppress its content in the atmosphere a nation alone cannot act on it. We need the act of codification from international too that the legislation that focus on maintaining resource for sustainable development and health of environment. For example the advancement in technology the poisonous chemical (DDT) had massively affect marine ecosystem especially like fishes. Through the process of accumulation and biomagnifications in food chain and it affects the terrestrial ecosystem. Hence there is less in carbon output and eventually leads to more of carbon gas in the atmosphere. Later it was banned from international marketing. So in the same manner the world has many organizations to maintain health of environment.

Some of the organizations that concern with environment protection are ;( (Asthana.D.K, 1998)

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO)
  • Council For Mutual Economic Assistance(CMEA)
  • European Community
  • Organization of African Unity(OAU)
  • Organization of American state(OAS)
  • South Asia Co-operation Environment program (SACEP)

All of these organizations look after the welfare of environment in sustainable use of finite resource of the planet.

Some of the simple ways to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that needs to be remind in our daily activities. It’s one of the best ways to cope with these issues. They are;

  • Reducing the daily driving. Automobiles are one of the biggest producers of carbon dioxide gas. We need to get a gas efficient vehicle or use public transport.
  • Make climate conscious political decision. It depends on the individual voters.
  • Go green electricity. It does not emit carbon dioxide gas. It’s more of an eco-friendly.
  • We needed to buy energy and water efficient appliances at home or anywhere.
  • Always recycle, reuse and avoid useless purchases from shop.
  • Always purchase local produce. It will indirectly reduce emission of many harmful gases.
  • The use of electricity in bigger coal industries than using coal as energy. It would be the bigger step in minimizing the carbon dioxide gas emission.

These are some of the basic ways to combat with emission of carbon dioxide gas. It enables us to combat with world threatening issue like global warming.

Conclusion

Bhutan is the only carbon-negative country among many other countries around the world. It’s one of the prides to nation. These assignments focus on carbon cycle. It’s one of the natural cycles that govern the entire ecosystem on the planet. It has immense significant in nature. Carbon cycle provides basic needs to both biotic and abiotic components in the environment. Without its presence nothing can survive. Though it’s a natural cycle, human alter it immensely. Its alteration affects human and both biotic and abiotic components. Human alter it by emission of large amount of gas into the atmosphere. It leads to global climate change and became threats to living being. Due to advance in technology we can reduce immense carbon dioxide in the atmosphere beforehand. We can practice from individual level and we can balance ecosystem and exist on planet blissfully.

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