Why Do Plants Need the Sun?

By Geoffrey Weed; Updated April 24, 2017
Why Do Plants Need the Sun?

Why Do Plants Need the Sun?

Plants need the sun because sunlight is made up of electromagnetic radiation which is given off as energy as the sun burns through its stores of hydrogen many millions of miles away from Earth. The electromagnetic radiation that plants receive from the sunlight that reaches Earth and penetrates its atmosphere is the key ingredient in a process that is called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is important because it is the way in which plants derive their energy.

What is Photosynthesis?

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, algae, and some forms of bacteria convert energy from sunlight in the form of electromagnetic radiation into energy in the form of simple carbohydrates. In order to do this, plants require water, carbon dioxide, electromagnetic radiation, and light-absorbing pigments such as chlorophyll. Photosynthesis takes place within plant cells in organelles (structures) known as chloroplasts. The result of the process is that the plant takes light from the sun and turns that light's energy into energy that the plant can use to grow and to stay alive.

Why is Photosynthesis Important?

Photosynthesis is important because without it we would not exist. In fact, life as we understand it would not be possible on Earth without photosynthesis. This is because all plants and animals depend on photosynthesis to get their energy, even carnivorous animals. While a carnivorous animal may not eat plants directly, most do eat animals that eat plants. In other words, the carnivore is indirectly dependent on plant life for its survival. Without photosynthesis, there can be no plant life. Without plant life, there can be no animal life.

About the Author

A legal clerk and law school student at The Thomas M. Cooley School of Law who lives in southeastern Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree in English from Western Michigan University. Geoffrey has over a decade of experience working as a freelance writer and has completed hundreds of articles during that time.