Carbon – the base of all life on this planet

If you are a science fiction fan, you will have heard humans referred to as carbon based life forms. In fact, all living creatures on Earth are based on carbon. Carbon is the basic element in our web of life.

Plants are made of carbon and water and assorted other molecules – from phytoplankton to massive trees. Fungi and algae are made of carbon. Animals from bacteria to whales are made of carbon.

Carbon is one of the elements in proteins. People and animals get energy from carbohydrates – which are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. People and animals store energy in their bodies in fat – again includes carbon.

People need energy to sustain life and a standard of living. Most energy sources used by man throughout history are based on either a carbohydrate – eg timber – or a hydrocarbon – eg oil, kerosene.poison

Carbon is taken in at the beginning of the food chain, and built upon as successive species consume the previous one. Where does it start? With plants of course. Plants use the process called photosynthesis to absorb energy from the sun, absorb water and carbon dioxide, and use the sun’s energy to create proteins and carbohydrates from these. Plants keep the carbon and some of the water, and transpire oxygen and water as their waste products.

Carbon dioxide is essential for plant life. If you want a farm animal to grow faster, you feed it more. If you want a plant to grow bigger or faster, you give it more carbon dioxide.

Plants are an essential part of our food chain, and of sustaining habitat for fish, birds and animals. No plants, no other life. Therefore carbon is an essential element of life.

Carbon is not a poison. It should not be treated as one.

Now THIS is evidence of environmental pollution – but by what?

Yesterday’s Courier Mail published a story Two headed fish larvae blamed on farm chemicals in the Noosa River

Brian Williams and Sophie Elsworth

January 12, 2009 11:00pm

CHEMICAL contamination from farm runoff has been blamed after millions of fish larvae in the Noosa River were found to have grown two heads.

 The disfigured larvae are thought to have been affected by one of two popular farm chemicals, either the insecticide endosulphan or the fungicide carbendazim.

Former NSW fisheries scientist and aquaculture veterinarian Matt Landos yesterday called on the Federal Government to ban the chemicals and urgently find replacements.

Dr Landos said about 90 per cent of larvae spawned at the Sunland Fish Hatchery from bass taken from the river were deformed and all died within 48 hours.

“It certainly looks like the fish have been exposed to something in the river,” Dr Landos said.

“I wouldn’t like to be having kids and living next to a place that uses these chemicals and I wouldn’t like to be drinking tank water where they are in use.”

Hatchery owner Gwen Gilson blames chemicals used by macadamia farmers near her Boreen Point business for the deformities.

“Some embryos split into two heads, some had two equal heads and a small tail and some had one big long head and a small tail coming out of the head,” she said.

Farmers nearby declined to comment.

Dr Landos said the chemicals were potentially human carcinogens and could have entered the river through any number of sources such as spraying or run-off even though there was no evidence of improper use.

Carbendazim had a history of causing embryonic defects and had been banned in the US, while endosulphan was banned in New Zealand.

“These chemicals mess up cell development,” he said. “There’s no other plausible explanation for what’s going on.”

Biosecurity Queensland chief Ron Glanville said an investigation into the claims started two years ago.

No evidence of chemicals used on an adjoining property were found in water, fish, fish eggs, chooks and horse samples.

“These things are notoriously hard to track down,” he said.

Dr Landos and Dr Glanville said there was no danger for people either swimming or eating fish from the Noosa River because if chemicals were in the water, levels would likely be exceedingly low.

The Federal Environment Department has been asked to investigate.

 

At least they didn’t blame this one on global warming!