Sunday, October 02, 2016

Creation Time Day 32

No celebration of the creation would be complete without paying homage to the glory of green. Large swathes of the landmass of the Earth appear green because of its vegetation cover. The colour green has come to symbolise nature and the natural in human culture. There is plenty of anecdotal, and some scientific, evidence that spending time with, or even having regular sight of, plants or woodland environments can relieve stress. Green is good.

There remains some mystery nonetheless about why plants are green. Yes it is because plant tissue is full of the green pigment chlorophyll. The presence of chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis which is the process whereby plants absorb energy from sunlight. Chlorophyll absorbs light in the red and blue sections of the spectrum but it reflects green; making plants appear green to the human eye.

The question which I understand has yet to be answered fully to the satisfaction of all scientists is why plants evolved with chlorophyll predominant, since it does not absorb a significant section of the light spectrum, namely the green. Why would plants not maximise absorption of the full range of light from which to convert to energy? There are several theories still under discussion.

If another pigment which absorbed the full  light spectrum had evolved in plants all that is now green would appear black to the human eye. Who knows what that would have done to the evolution of vision in humans and other creatures. 

Mystery or not, green is worth celebrating: a gift in creation which calms the human spirit.

"Our response to the world is essentially one of wonder, of confronting the mysterious with a sense, not of being small, or insignificant, but of being part of a rich and complex narrative." John Burnside, poet (1955 - )

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