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Why are plants green?
Science doesn’t really aim to answer the question “Why?”
So I will start with an observation.
Plants live in a symbiotic relationship with the animal kingdom – we need them and they need us.
For example, we tend to live on each other’s waste products. We use plants’ waste products, notably oxygen, food and fuel, and they use our waste products, notably carbon dioxide (carbon emissions and excrement. (I wonder who’s getting a better deal!) So it’s not surprising that plants leave the bit that is in the middle of the visible spectrum, upon which we rely for vision, precisely because it is where the sun’s radiation peaks across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. If plants absorbed the whole of the visible spectrum, natural landscapes would be rather dark, severely hampering the endeavours of both hunters and prey.
Incidentally, it is precisely because we have lost sight of this symbiotic relationship between us and plants that our civilisation is under threat. We have forgotten that rainforests can only be rainforests if they are connected to a source of airborne moisture, which is what blows over the seas to the land. Historically we cleared coastal trees to land and settle, unwittingly cutting rainforests off from their source of rain, triggering desertification of the world’s great land masses. Now we are burning the fossilised remains of those rainforests instead of replanting coastal rainforests to that plentiful crops can turn our exhaust gases and waste back into the very resources that are diminishing in supply and therefore rocketing in price – food and fuel.
But let me return to the question at hand: Why is it that plants are green – leaving the middle of the visible spectrum to us? Thinking as broadly as possible, this could be the natural course of events, fluke or design. The fact that plants got there first and still left the centre of the spectrum to us, leaves me thinking, on balance, that this is part of a plan. . .
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