Though lightning can cause great damage, it can also create life-sustaining materials when it strikes air.
One of the substances found in the air is nitrogen. Along with water and oxygen, nitrogen ranks high on the essential-stuff-for-all-life list. Nitrogen molecules in the air consist of tightly bonded atoms.
The lightning bolt zaps the bonds, separating the atoms from each other. The atoms are washed down to the earth with rain water, where they bond with minerals to form nitrate, effectively creating plant food.
The nitrate makes the grass green, and nourishes all sorts of plants. The plants turn the nitrate into amino acids and protein. When we eat plants (or animals that have eaten the plants), we ingest the protein, a key building block of life.
*Image of lightning via Shutterstock