Carbon Cycle: The Wheel of Life
Carbon is everywhere. It is in plants, animals, the soil, the atmosphere and human beings. Nature maintains a balance of this element through the “carbon cycle.” There are “sinks” that take up and store carbon, such as plants, soil and the ocean. Carbon is also released into the atmosphere, as living organisms respire or decompose; these are called “sources.” Carbon naturally moves through these sources and sinks to form the carbon cycle.
Carbon in the atmosphere, in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, keeps the planet at a comfortable temperature for life. Carbon dioxide and methane are known as greenhouse gases and trap heat. They form a blanket around the planet, keeping the temperature stable.