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Ever heard of something called CO2? It is a gas existing all around us. And it has a significant impact on our lives and on the environment. We will explore in this article what exactly CO2 is, what produces it, and why it is so important.
What is CO2?
CO2 is the abbreviation used for ‘carbon dioxide’, a gas composed of two oxygen atoms and one carbon atom. CO2 is a natural element in our environment. Just think about it: every time we, or other living beings, breathe, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
(Image courtesy Matthias Heyde)
Where does CO2 come from?
Different sources can produce CO2. Some natural processes, such as volcanic eruptions, or the decay of plants and animals contribute to it. But much of the CO2 released into the atmosphere is caused, however, by human actions, like the production of energy by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), driving cars, or heating our homes.
Why is too much CO2 a problem?
(Image courtesy Gerd Altmann)
CO2 is a so-called greenhouse gas (GHG) that traps in Earth’s atmosphere the heat from the sun, making it possible for us to live on the Blue Planet. CO2 isn’t the only greenhouse gas in our planet’s atmosphere. Also, water vapor (H2O), ozone (O3), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) contribute to keeping the Earth’s surface temperature suitable for life. Without these gases, we will have on our planet around -18 °C (0 °F).
Yet, too much CO2 can lead to serious environmental problems, such as climate change, which is harmful to humans, animals, and plants. This happens because too much heat is trapped in Earth’s atmosphere.
1. What exactly does CO2 mean?
a) Carbon dioxide
b) Copper oxide
c) Chlorine oxygen
2. What is the source of CO2?
a) Natural processes
b) Human activities
c) Both a and b
3. Why is an excess of CO2 a problem?
a) It makes the Earth too cold
b) It causes too much rain
c) It traps too much heat in the atmosphere
(Image courtesy Thijs Stoop)
How can we reduce CO2?
If you ask yourself how can you leave green footprints in the world and reduce the amount of CO2 you release, then choose to go for a nice walk, ride your bike or use public transportation when you go to school. Another way to protect our planet is by choosing clean sources of energy, such as wind or solar power. But even the smallest act counts when it comes to CO2, so don’t forget the lights on when you leave home.
(Image courtesy Sam Jotham Sutharson)
Did you know that plants create their own food using CO2? They take atmospheric CO2 and transform it into sugar, which they use as energy, by absorbing it along with water and sunlight.
Maybe we can’t see this gas named CO2, but, as we could see, it has a big impact on our planet. We can all do our part to keep Terra healthy. Think of various ways to reduce the amount of CO2. Every little bit helps!
(Image courtesy Kazuend)
And don’t forget to share with us in the comments your answers to the quiz!
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