Our world depends on the life cycle of a plant called photosynthesis. The light from the sun is used directly by the plants to create the resources and energy they need to survive. That same energy is then used by us in different forms from food to fossil fuels. Photosynthesis is the power behind the recycling of air to help all life on Earth breathe.

The Facts

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, some bacteria, and some protistans use the energy from sunlight to produce sugar, which cellular respiration converts into ATP, the "fuel" used by all living things. Plants are able to make their own food. Plants produce chlorophyll, a pigment usually found on leaves. It gives the plant its green color while being a key component in making food for itself.


Photosynthesis is one of the most important biological processes on Earth. Plants produce the air we breathe as well as the nutrients we use to create energy for physical and mental activities such as walking, running and thinking. It is also a great energy source for transportation and for heat. Life is sustainable on Earth because of this process. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was formed to govern laws created to protect the environment, and recycling reuses materials made from natural resources. These initiatives slow the emission of greenhouse gases and the destruction of national resources and ecosystems.


Photosynthesis happens when light from the sun hits the plant. A plant uses light, along with chlorophyll, to transform water, carbon dioxide and the nutrients and minerals found in the soil into the food and energy it needs. In return, the plant releases oxygen into the air. As we exhale, the carbon dioxide is taken in by plants and the recycling of air is repeated.


The energy and oxygen created by plants from photosynthesis keeps life sustainable on Earth. It is one of the many ways our world uses the sun as a source for energy. Scientists for years have been studying the blueprint of photosynthesis in hopes of duplicating its process. They are continually making strides toward unlocking the keys to reproducing this cycle.


The emission of oxygen from plants isn't the only known benefit we receive from them. Photosynthesis helps plants create starch, sugars and fat that is distributed through leaves and products that we eat. Fruits and vegetables are full of these nutrients. Animals eat grass, plants and leaves and gain energy from them. By eating meats, we indirectly absorb the nutrients. Plants are instrumental in our consumption of natural resources for energy. Oil, natural gas, coal and other fossil fuels are made from plants and animals that lived millions of years ago.