Life
on the planet Earth began as we know it around 3.5 billon years ago, with Earth
being formed around 4.5 billon years ago. Semi-molten rocks from space formed
the surface, making it extremely hot and filled with large amounts of chemicals
such as carbon from the molten rocks. As the earth began to cool in surface
temperature, water vapor from the impact of the rocks was able to condense,
forming liquid water and producing rain. Eventually, oceans formed from the
cooling of the earth, and molecules that were central to life had the ability
to form in the oceans and waterways.

            The physical and chemical properties
of water support the evolution of life by allowing it to be able to dissolve
nearly anything and be capable of having many different forms (solid, liquid,
and gas) in a small range of temperatures. Since water is able to flow, it is
an essential ingredient for transferring substances from a cell to its
environment because of its ease of gaining energy from a liquid. Additionally,
water is able to carry things inside and outside of a cell, because of its
polarity of two hydrogen atoms that are bonded to an atom of water. Since water
is an excellent transmitter of elements or other substances, it is exceptional
at transporting essential life-creating substances such as phosphates, which
are able to hold DNA and RNA together, essential for the formation of any new
organisms.

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            Evolution is a never-ending
occurance. Organisms are constantly evolving over time to better become suited
and adapted to their enviornments, increasing their chances of survival. This
idea of never-ending evolution can be physically seen in the planet Earth
itself – its systems and processes essential to the earth are constantly
changing over time. Unfortunately, the aspects of evolution of the earth aren’t
all positive. Over the past century, Earth’s systems have been changing at
rapid rates, mostly presumed to be due to the pollution and excess chemicals
created by humans to support industry and a growing population. This paper will
analyze the earth’s systems from the past century to form predictions on what
life on earth will be like within the next century.

Earth’s Atmosphere

      As mentioned previously, oxygen is one of the main
factors that involved the development of life. Oxygen makes up a portion of the
atmosphere, which is approximately 218 miles thick, allowing us as organisms to
be able to breathe. As we exhale, carbon dioxide is produced, which in return
also form a portion of the atmospheric gasses. The main gas forming the
atmosphere is nitrogen (78%). Nitrogen is important because it allows for
growth and reproduction in plants and animals because of it being in amino
acids to form proteins, that in exchange form nucleic acids to make up an
individual organism. The secondary gas making up the atmosphere is oxygen
(21%). Next are argon and carbon dioxide, however they form less than 1.5% of
the atmosphere. The remaining gases are Trace amounts of neon, helium, methane, krypton and
hydrogen, as well as water vapor. However, as time has been going on, carbon
dioxide levels have been rapidly increasing. This increase is unfortunately due
to the increase in burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are, “geologic deposits
of organic materials, decayed plants and
animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils
by exposure to heat and pressure in the earth’s crust over hundreds of millions
of years” (Science Daily). The burning of fossil fuels provides heat fro our
homes, fuel for our cars, and electricity. However, since they cause a lot of
pollution and release a lot of carbon dioxide when burned, they have
contributed to the extreme increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

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