All biological organisms require certain nutrients to live. Plants require carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from air and water, as well as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, nickel, chloride, boron, and molybdenum from soil. Animals require a few others. Conversions and transformations of nutrients in the environment result from chemical reactions, biological activity, or both.
The ocean is a “carbon sink,” which means that it removes CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere. The ocean currently absorbs about one-third of the CO2 released by the burning of fossil fuels.
However, beyond a certain level of atmospheric CO2, the ocean can no longer act as a carbon sink without it having a negative impact on marine life. When CO2 dissolves in seawater, it leads to decreased pH levels. The ocean becomes less alkaline. This is referred to as ocean acidification.
Soils are one of our most important natural resources — just think of where all the food you eat comes from. They also are important for the beauty the many soil colors add to our landscapes.
Most of us overlook this natural beauty because we see it every day. Often these colors blend with vegetation, sky, water, etc. Soil colors serve as pigments in bricks, pottery and artwork. The color and texture of soil painting is fascinating and a creative opportunity for all ages of students.