Forests were a radical innovation that has not been seen before or since. Trees were Earth’s first and last truly gigantic organisms, and the . Why did trees grow so large? It seems to be because they could. Land life gave plants opportunities that aquatic life could not provide, and plants “leapt” at the chance. Lignin, first developed for vascular transport, became the equivalent of steel girders in skyscrapers. In the final analysis, trees grew tall to give their foliage the most sunlight and to use wind and height to spread their seeds, and in the future that height would help protect the foliage from ground-based animal browsers. The height limit of Earth’s trees is an energy issue: the .Arid climates prevent trees from growing tall or even growing at all. Energy availability , too. From an ecosystem’s perspective, the great biomass of forests was primarily a huge store of energy; trees allowed for prodigious energy storage per square meter of land. That stored energy ultimately became a vast resource for the forest ecosystem, as it eventually became food for other life forms and the basis for soils, which in turn became sponges to soak up precipitation and recycle it . Trees created the entire ecosystem that depended on them.
Perhaps the most damaging deficiency in FE efforts, after self-serving orientation, was that the participants and their supporters were scientifically illiterate and easily led astray by the latest spectacle. Scientific literacy can help prevent most such distractions. While writing this essay, I was not only bombarded with news of the latest FE and alternative energy aspirants' antics, but I had to continually field queries regarding whether Peak Oil and Global Warming were conspiratorial elite hoaxes (or figments of the hyperactive imaginations of environmentalists and other activists), for two examples that readily come to mind. Digesting this essay's material should have those questions answered as mere side-effects. Far from being a hoax or imaginary, Peak Oil was and , and it is all downhill from there, and conventional oil will be almost entirely depleted in my lifetime. , although both were heavily promoted in the USA in 2014. In every paleoclimate study that I have seen, so-called greenhouse gases have always been considered the primary determinant of Earth's surface temperature (after the Sun), and carbon dioxide is chief among them. The radiation-trapping properties of carbon dioxide are not controversial in the slightest among scientists, and after the Sun's influence (which is exceedingly stable), declining carbon dioxide levels are considered to be the conditions that have dominated Earth for the past 35 million years. Humanity's increasing the atmosphere's carbon dioxide content is influencing the cause of Icehouse Earth, and , and are merely proximate causes. Increasing carbon dioxide can turn the global climate from an to a Greenhouse Earth, and the last time that happened, Earth had its . But have purposefully confused the issues, and a scientifically illiterate public and have played along, partly because believing the disinformation seems to relieve us all of any responsibility for our actions. Although scientific literacy can help people become immune to the disinformation and confusion arising from many corners, and reading this essay's first half can help people develop their own defense from such distractions, my goals for this essay's first half are far greater than that.
This is your Practice Reading Test Answer Section
Here is a brief summary of this essay. Ever since more than three billion years ago and about a billion years after the Sun and Earth formed, organisms have continually invented more effective methods to acquire, preserve, and use energy. after three billion years of evolution and, pound-for-pound, it used energy . The story of life on Earth has been one of , and in turn influencing them. During the eon of complex life that began more than 500 million years ago, there have been many brief for some fortunate species, soon followed by increased energy competition, a relatively stable struggle for energy, and then cleared biomes and set the stage for another golden age by organisms adapted to the new environments. Those newly dominant organisms were often marginal or unremarkable members of their ecosystems before the mass extinction. That pattern has characterized the journey of complex life over the past several hundred million years. among some animals, which provided them with a competitive advantage.