Flexi Says: Carbon is the most important element to life. Without this element, life as we know it would not exist. As you will see, carbon is the central element in compounds necessary for life-organic compounds. These compounds include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Carbon has an exceptional ability to bind with a wide variety of other elements. Carbon makes four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds, allowing carbon atoms to form multiple stable bonds with other small atoms, including hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Carbon atoms can also form stable bonds with other carbon atoms. In fact, a carbon atom may form single, double, or even triple bonds with other carbon atoms. This allows carbon atoms to form a tremendous variety of very large and complex molecules.