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When Photosynthesis Stopped

Created By: Cynthia Galang


I’m running for my life. I can’t stop. The volcano erupted and I can’t see anything. There’s ash and smoke everywhere covering the earth like a dark blanket. It hurts to breathe, but I finally make it back to my house where I hide in fear. When the rumbling stops and all is silent, I make my way out. When I open my front door, it looks like night. But that can’t be! I check my phone and the time is 9:30 A.M. What happened? I look up and the sun is gone. Only a dark cloud of ash, smoke, and dust can be seen above. I wandered around aimlessly for the rest of the day trying to find other survivors in the area.

The next day, I wake up to go to school, and still the sun has not reappeared. I’m worried. What does this mean for us? It is now likely that we will spend our days in eternal night. How our planet can survive this disastrous blow seems impossible.

Day after day, is like night after endless night. The plants are dying; slowly withering away to fields of death and despair. It frightens me to see so much of what was once vibrant, green, lush earth, dead. Plants need sunlight to live! They take in light energy through their stomata and absorb it into their chloroplast. The chloroplast contains chlorophyll, grana, and stroma. During light reactions, autotrophs take in light energy, carbon dioxide, and water, and make ATP. When it gets dark, plants take ATP and turn it into organic compounds. This is called the Calvin Cycle.

Basically, with no sunlight, plants continue with the dark reaction. However, with no ATP from the light reaction, the plants have nothing to convert into food, the pantry is empty. This is the effect of that volcano eruption; total and complete destruction of plant life and therefore, all life.

I was watching the news today and there is an alarming number of herbivores dying from lack of food. Smaller carnivores are disappearing because they become the prey of larger animals who would normally feed on plants. Omnivores, the largest and the greatest predators, will feed on everything and anything smaller than them. It will be survival of the fittest.  Already, the few species that survived the volcanic eruption are undergoing severe stress in their environment and sustenance. I shudder to think of what people and animals might do to get food.

Lately, my grandparents have been complaining about the heat and also about not being able to breathe. But this time, I understand what life is like for them. You know that feeling when there are too many people in an elevator? Everyone’s body heat is making you sweat, you’re claustrophobic, and you can’t seem to draw enough air into your lungs? That’s what every day, or should I say “night” is like! Complete and utter misery and never-ending darkness are never a good combination.

I remember learning in science that algae restore 70% of the world’s oxygen and plants on land restore 30%. Our atmosphere had 21% oxygen. I seem to recall that the products of photosynthesis are the reactants of cellular respiration and the products of cellular respiration are the reactants of photosynthesis. Therefore, I concluded that with no plants and sunlight to complete the process of photosynthesis, our oxygen is decreasing and carbon dioxide is increasing. With 0% of land plants and algae alive on Earth, life is lost to us.

Everyone’s starving, the heat from respiration and fossil fuel burning is unbearable, and it feels like there’s no oxygen left. People and animals are attacking each other with a ferocious frenzy or simply just dying off. No matter how much I suffer from hunger, I will never stoop so low as to eat another human being.  

As I type this last entry, I take shallow breaths, and do my best to use the last of my little energy to depart with my final words.

“Please bring back the

673 words.


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