Ecosystems in their natural state continually cycle carbon in and out of the atmosphere, keeping total atmospheric carbon content in balance. Plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis, while and create oxygen as a waste product. Animals breathe in this oxygen, and exhale carbon dioxide. This keeps the atmosphere’s carbon content in balance, but humans have disrupted the cycle by burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels contain carbon that has been stored under ground for millions of years; so burning fossil fuels injects the atmosphere with more carbon than the planet’s ecosystems are able to handle. By ending our burning of fossil fuels, we can help the natural carbon cycle return to normal.
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