Green is the color that represents life; therefore, it stands for hope. Green plants offer hope of ongoing survival by offering foods, fuels, medicines, and seed for future generations. As we ponder the question, why are plants green, we put ourselves in the position to learn about nature and our environment. Questioning opens the mind to consider options, opinions, and mindsets while taking us on a journey through the past, present, and future of mankind. The color green speaks to us about cycles, renewal, life, energy, growth, and health.
It also brings us into another realm of reality with the associations that exist regarding non-organic entities such as money, greed, safety, and ambition. Green is life whether the connotation is positive or negative. It denotes action, healing, protection, and longevity. The world also considers it to be the most calming and restful color on the human eye. Green may enhance visual acuity and endurance, thus giving another reason why are plants green. It requires more space in the color spectrum available to the human eye and is the most prevalent color in the natural world. Interior designers incorporate green in projects regularly because society is so accustomed to being surrounded by it.
In order for us to understand why plants are green, we direct our thoughts to how we, as humans, see color. This brings us to the subject of “light energy” (the kinetic energy carried by electromagnetic radiation). When a person looks at an object, we are not really seeing the color. Rather, we are getting the result of a process.
We as humans absorb certain colors and reflect others. Colors we recognize are the colors reflected onto our eyes by the object we are looking at. Now, when someone asks, “Why are plants green?” we can tell them the reason is that the grass absorbed the surrounding colors and reflected its shade of green back to your eyes where your brain interprets the color as green.
Why Are Plants Important?
Plants are a culmination of live organisms able to exist on both soil and water. They have many variations and species such as forest trees, agricultural plants, and herbs. They are vital to the survival of every form of life on planet Earth. As a food source, they are the sustenance for all living organisms as they aid in oxygen balance and maintenance which is what all life forms breathe. Plants balance the air for consumptions by reducing the carbon dioxide exhaled as waste.
Plants work to protect the world by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere reducing harmful greenhouse effects and factors contributing to global warming. Plants play a critical role in maintaining the ozone layer protecting life on Earth from injurious ultraviolet radiation. All life forms on our planet either directly or indirectly depend on plants for both biological and external needs.
Plants As A Food Source
Plants provide nutrition for all living things. They nourish our bodies with carbohydrates, nutrients, vitamins, and fiber necessary for good health. Green plants form the foundation and focal point of food webs (a sophisticated, interlocking system of separate, interdependent food chains) for mammals, insects, birds, and microbes. These organisms serve as food sources by other animals (including man).
We can use a deer or other vegetarian mammal who consumes grass as an example then becomes prey for another. There is no question as to the importance of plants as a food source in our world. Regardless of the form, it takes; vegetables, fruits, oils, herbs, spices, purees for juices, etc. plants keep us alive and our bodies healthy.
The Significance of Plants in Industry
A world without plants is unimaginable. To sustain life and living in an environment suitable for mankind, the trees provide the elements needed for housing, furniture, windows, vehicles and, tools. Trees and plants of every kind contribute to communication via writing instruments, the paper written on and the desk that holds them all up. Additional contributions plants make to industry include:
- Essential oils
Bio-fuels are essential to fuel derived directly from living matter. It is a commonly used term used in referring to any combustible organic material. The leftover waste from sugar cane processing is a biofuel. The most frequently used types of liquid biofuels include Bio-Ethanol (Bio-gasoline) and Bio-diesel derived from new or unusable vegetable oils such as the different rapeseed (canola) oils. Industry prefers this oil in the production of bio-diesel fuel in most areas of Europe as rapeseed produces more oil per each unit of land area compared to other natural plant oil sources.
Why are plants green? Because they lead us to the best sources for the things we need the most. The entire world uses vegetable oil, corn and sugar in fuel production because it is clean, moderately priced and low-carbon. Sugarcane ethanol is now one of the foremost renewable fuels purchased in the transportation industry. Uses of ethanol include:
- Drinking alcohol or ‘pure alcohol’ because it is the main ingredient (the substance responsible for intoxication) in alcoholic beverages.
- Ethanol is also an effective fuel for motor vehicles.
The fuel industry grows many plants only for the production of biofuels. They often opt for plant-based products in place of coal and other fuel producing products. Fuel produced by plants is not as toxic, and they use the waste to generate electricity. It is also less expensive and doesn’t emit harmful vapors from gasses.
Plants and Natural Pesticides
Everyone knows artificial pesticides are harmful to people and the environment. The good news is, plants defend themselves against insects and harmful pathogens naturally. Here are natural sources of insecticides and pesticides. Using these natural pesticides is safe and recommended when growing organic fruits and vegetables, degrading naturally over time without affecting the health of the soil.
Plant-based (botanical) pesticides:
- Nicotine (Nicotiana plants)
- Plant sterols (drug precursors)
- Urushiol (poison oak and ivy oil)
- Pyrethrum and rotenone (natural insecticides)
- Peppermint oil
- Clove oil
- Citrus oil
- Lavender oil
- Thyme oil
- Rosemary oil
Why Is It Special for Plants to Be Green?
When the world wants to assign a significance or title to something for distinction, the word “special” is a good choice. Though they are plentiful and usually taken for granted, the humble plant is true as special as it gets. When we consider the question, why are plants green, it behooves us to delve into chlorophyll-the natural pigment belonging to plants.
Chlorophyll is an organic compound that assigns a specific color story to plants and animal tissues. Chlorophyll is to plants what red is to blood. It may vary slightly, but you know it when you see it. Chlorophyll absorbs the red, blue, and other wavelengths of light, reflecting green back to the eyes, so a plant’s familiar green color is what you see. The color green serves other purposes along with properly identifying plants.
The Importance Of Chlorophyll
Besides its usefulness in helping man and industry find essential plant-life for health, housing, and fuel, chlorophyll and light work together to trap light energy from the sun. Together, they combine the light’s energy with carbon dioxide discarded from the air and water. This process provides sugars the plant uses as food. The scientific community refers to this phenomenal process as photosynthesis. Chlorophyll enables the plant to harness the light from the sun and use it in photosynthesis. Without photosynthesis plants could not survive; neither, would we!
Why Are Plants Green? For Natural Cooling and Stabilizing the Soil
Green plants are superior natural cooling providers. Before cities and urban dwellings, the precious plant has been there shielding Earth’s inhabitants from the harmful effects of the wind and rain with long, lush protective leaves aiding in blocking the ultra-violet rays of the sun. Green plants can also send relief through transpiration (of a plant or leaf, the exhalation of water vapor through the stomata) although this effect is minimal unless there is a multitude of trees available.
Plants that are green cool the environment through evaporative cooling. The evaporative cooling process consumes heat most effective when the humidity is low. Why are plants green? So we know which plants can stabilize certain soils by using their roots. Roots capable of binding different soils through their leaves, keeping rain from eroding and washing away the soil. Geographical locations without enough vegetative cover may frequently suffer from detrimental quantities of sediment that wash into food providing streams and lakes. This diminishes water volume and kills wildlife.
People and plants are connected-there is no question about it. We all realize there would be no life without them. They are the silent providers of food, shelter, medicine, and energy which forces us to protect and nurture them-the way they nurture and protect us. Why are plants green? We think the answer to this may lie in the use of the color green in our world. Green means go. It means life, love, and growth. If green means anything these days, it means awareness. Take care of me so I can take care of you!