Who really produces most of the earth's oxygen?

Explore the vital contribution of ocean phytoplankton to oxygen production and the importance of marine ecosystem conservation for climate action.

Who really produces most of the earth's oxygen?
Photo by USGS / Unsplash

When we think of oxygen production, the image of lush green forests often comes to mind.

However, it may come as a surprise that ocean phytoplankton and algae actually produce 70-80% of the earth's atmospheric oxygen, playing a crucial role in maintaining the air we breathe.

Despite this staggering statistic, the focus on tree conservation over ocean conservation remains significantly prevalent.

But why does tree conservation for oxygen take precedence when it comes to environmental conservation efforts?

Familiarity and Visibility

Trees and forests are more familiar to us, and the impact of deforestation is visually comprehensible.

When large tracts of forests are cleared for agricultural or commercial purposes, the loss is tangible and easily imaginable.

In contrast, the impact of phytoplankton and algae decline in the ocean is not as visible to us.

It's a remote, almost intangible concept, making it harder for people to fully grasp the severity of the consequences.

Impact Beyond Oxygen Production

Contrary to popular belief, the importance of trees extends far beyond their role in oxygen production.

Deforestation has profound effects on carbon sequestration, soil health, and biological diversity.

Trees act as crucial carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, thus playing a pivotal role in mitigating climate change.

Furthermore, forests support a complex web of biodiversity, and their destruction results in the loss of countless species and ecosystem disruptions.

Human Proximity and Significance

Trees are terrestrial and are directly linked to human habitats.

Our dependency on forests for resources like timber, medicine, and various ecosystem services makes their conservation inherently significant for our survival and well-being.

In contrast, phytoplankton and algae, being oceanic, are more distant and less tangibly connected to our daily lives, which often results in less immediate concern for their well-being.

It's essential to recognize that while tree conservation holds immense value, the critical role of ocean phytoplankton and algae in oxygen production and overall ecosystem health should not be overlooked or underestimated.

More comprehensive environmental conservation efforts should encompass the preservation and sustainable management of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems to ensure the continued provision of vital environmental services and resources.

Climate Action and Preservation

Safeguarding our planet's natural resources means safeguarding our own future.

Trees and oceanic flora both play indispensable roles in maintaining the delicate balance of our environment.

By advocating for the conservation of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, we can take meaningful steps toward mitigating climate change, preserving biodiversity, and securing a sustainable future for generations to come.