This is a work in progress... please bear with me, come back and watch it grow? Send constructive suggestions?
What you see below might be seen as an outline for what will eventually be spread across multiple pages.
First, a quick word about what "respiration" is not.
Not all living things need to "breathe", in the sense that you and I breathe. Most living things don't have lungs, for a start!
The Great Challenge called "Respiration" is not about drawing air into the organism's body.
Respiration is the process by which all living things, except viruses, provide themselves with the energy to do all the other things which make us call the organism alive.
For many organisms, including plants, the chemistry is as follows: The organism converts food and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water... and converts some of the chemical energy in the food+oxygen into other forms... forms which make it possible for the organism to do things.
What does the organism do with the energy it has obtained from the food+oxygen? That is what the rest of this essay will one day be about. How many of the things living things do can you list? Do you see how energy is needed?
Obtaining the food and the oxygen is part of the subject of the Great Challenge "Assimilation"; getting rid of the carbon dioxide and water is part of the subject "Excretion".
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