help the environment (and us! ) in many different ways:
lants are the only organisms that can convert light energy from the sun into food. And plants produce ALL of the food that animals, including people, eat. Even meat. The animals that give us meat, such as chickens and cows, eat grass, oats, corn, or some other plants. ne of the materials that plants produce as they make food is oxygen gas. This oxygen gas, which is an important part of the air, is the gas that plants and animals must have in order to stay alive. When people breathe, it is the oxygen that we take out of the air to keep our cells and bodies alive. All of the oxygen available for living organisms comes from plants. Plants are the primary habitat for thousands of other organisms. Animals live in, on, or under plants. Plants provide shelter and safety for animals. Plants also provide a place for animals to find other food. As a habitat, plants alter the climate. On a small scale, plants provide shade, help moderate the temperature, and protect animals from the wind. On a larger scale, such as in tropical rainforests, plants actually change the rainfall patterns over large areas of the earth\’s surface. n the forest and the prairie, the roots of plants help hold the soil together. This reduces erosion and helps conserve the soil. Plants also help make soil. Soil is made up of lots of particles of rocks which are broken down into very small pieces. When plants die, their decomposed remains are added to the soil. This helps to make the soil rich with nutrients. any plants are important sources of products that people use, including food, fibers (for cloth), and medicines.
Plants also help provide some of our energy needs. In some parts of the world, wood is the primary fuel used by people to cook their meals and heat their homes. Many of the other types of fuel we use today, such as coal, natural gas, and gasoline, were made from plants that lived millions of years ago. lants, because of their beauty, are important elements of out human world. When we build houses and other buildings, we never think the job is done until we have planted trees, shrubs, and flowers to make what we have built much nicer. The relationship between plants and people is a long and continuous one. We need plants for basic human purposes. We eat them in many forms; we make medicines, soaps, furniture, textiles, tyres and much more from them. Plants play a very important role in our lives. Although we now live in a highly industrialised society, we have not lost this dependence on plants. We need to be aware of the part that plants play in our lives and must ensure that we care for these plants to continue this long relationship. It is vital that we remind ourselves of our reliance on green plants. We need to realise that we must protect the future of the plant species upon which life depends. Bread – is mostly made from cereal grains, such as wheat and rye and may contain other seeds, such as sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds. Margarine – most types are based on oils pressed directly from plants such as soya, sunflower and African oil palm. Sugar – all green plants make sugar and various plants have their sap or juice extracted to produce sweet syrup, such as maple and date palm.
Most of the world s sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beet (related to beetroot). Cereals – are plants like wheat and rice which produce grains, which feed the world. They are not just used to produce your breakfast cereals, cornflakes, muesli or puffed rice. Coffee – made from the seeds of the coffee tree. Tea – the leaves from the shrub are used. The tea plant is closely related to the camellias grown in our gardens. Sweets – chocolate and cocoa are made from the beans of the cacao tree. Nectar collected from plants by honeybees is converted into honey. Jam is made with fruits and sugar. Soya – the soya bean has been used for many centuries and is the richest source of plant protein. About two thirds of all manufactured food products contain ingredients made from soya. It can be used in many different ways to produce a wide variety of foods from dog food to vegetarian hamburgers and oil to milk. Fruits and vegetables – all sorts are available to us every day, from onion, cabbage and potatoes to kiwi, apples to mangos. Herbs and Spices – help to flavour our food. Pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, mint, parsley, thyme and many more all come from plants. Clothes – one of the most important natural fibres in the world today comes from the cotton plant. The chances are that each of us is wearing a garment made of cotton. Linen is made from the flax plant. Wood fibres give us cellulose, which is used in the manufacture of viscose.
Soap – plant oils are amongst those used, for instance African palm oil and the coconut palm. Shampoo – plants are partly responsible for its cleansing qualities and fragrance. Often plants used are herbs, such as lavender or other scented plants, such as sandalwood, almond and coconut. Many are also used for their medicinal properties, such as jojoba and chamomile. Bathing – a range of plant oils and extracts are used to soothe and relax. Many plant oils are used to moisturise. Loofahs are used to scrub ourselves – this is the bleached skeleton of a cucumber-like fruit of the gourd family. Toothpaste – contains cellulose and cellulose gum, which are derived from wood pulp. Extracts from mint and strawberries may be used to flavour toothpaste. Cosmetics – substances extracted from nuts, avocados, Aloe vera and carrots are often used in the preparation of cosmetics. Hair dyes – henna is very popular, but colours can also be obtained from ground coffee beans, black walnuts and oak galls. Scents and perfumes- many plants are used for their scents, such as frankincense, sandalwood, lily-of-the-valley, lavender and citrus plants. Boats – are often made from various kinds of wood; jetties that they moor at are usually made of hardwood. The ropes to secure them can be made from hemp and sisal. Sports – cricket, hockey, polo, baseball, golf, billiards and croquet, all rely on plants for their equipment. Some sports rely on grass to play on. Musical instruments – from drumsticks to bagpipes, recorders to bassoons, panpipes to string instruments all contain plants.