All living things must die. It is a part the final part of the biological cycle of life. A flowering plant, for instance, springs from a seed, grows, blossoms, produces seeds for the next season, fades, and dies. Similarly, an animal is born, grows and matures, reproduces, ages, and dies. Old plants and animals must make way for new plants and animals, through which the cycle of life can continue. If plants and animals did not die, eventually there would not be enough food, water, or space in the world for life to flourish. Even dead plants and animals contribute to the cycle of life, for their remains enrich the soil for the next generation of living things.
New generations of plants and animals are needed to ensure the survival of life on our planet. The world’s environment is constantly changing, and new plants and animals with unique characteristics resulting from the combined genetic contributions of their parents may be better equipped to survive under the evolving conditions. This process of change and improved survival, which has taken place gradually over millions of years (ever since life began), is called evolution.
Just like all plants and other animals, people also experience this biological cycle of life. A person is born, grows into physical maturity during adolescence, perhaps has a family in adulthood, ages, and then dies. At death, the cycle of life is completed as that individual makes way for following generations. But because people are such special beings, they can live on in so many other ways besides in the genetic makeup of their offspring after they die. A great painter or writer, for example, can live on in the work that he or she has left behind for others to enjoy. A politician may leave behind new laws that improve the lives of many. A parent or friend may live on in the minds and hearts of his or her loved ones, thanks to the experiences and affection that were shared and the memories left behind. The time that each person spends on Earth, and every contribution he or she makes, however small (like planting a tree to make the world a little healthier), is an important part of the cycle of life and has an impact on future generations.