Most of Our Oxygen Doesn’t Come From Where You Think

Sam Westreich, PhD
Jul 29, 2020 · 5 min read

Forget rainforests. Here’s the real source of our air — and why it’s in danger

This “Rainforest” stock photo is beautiful, luscious, and probably full of invisible oxygen — but it’s not the main source of our breathable air. Photo by Hidayat Abisena.

As a child, when I learned about how plants produce the oxygen that we breathe, I imagined that I could see that oxygen in the air. In my mind’s eye, I saw vast waves of oxygen rising from a lush tropical rainforest.