Archivos de diario de junio 2019

18 de junio de 2019

Plant Blindness

I recently read an article about "plant blindness" -- a term I had never heard of before. It is a rather interesting concept; plant blindness is, via Wikipedia definition, "a form of cognitive bias, which in its broadest meaning is a human tendency to ignore plant species [in one's environment]". The article touches on different aspects of plant blindness: from younger kids being able to easily recognize animals but not plants, to how plant blindness is essentially built into our human biology. The author also mentions a few scientific studies and cites some conservation statistics. I found one of these statistics to be especially powerful:

"[I]n 2011 plants made up 57% of the federal endangered species list in the US. But they received less than 4% of federal endangered species funding."

Let's be honest - it's easy to go through life ignoring plants. They are stationary, they are all pretty much the same shade of green, and, on the surface, seem to offer very little to us. People often associate plants with "dirtiness" or something that needs to be "cleared out" -- essentially clustering most wild plants into one category: "weeds".

I, too, never really paid much attention to the plants in my surroundings up until the last year or two. Growing up in the suburbs, I wasn't exactly exposed to many forests or natural areas in my childhood and I definitely possessed the "they're all just weeds" mindset.

About four years ago, I switched to a vegetarian diet to lower my personal environmental impact, remove myself from animal-agriculture-driven deforestation, and to adopt a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle. My interest in plants 'sprouted' as my diet expanded to include more leafy greens, fruits, beans, grains and other veggies. Eventually, I switched to a completely plant based diet two years ago, and around the same time, I completed an internship studying the plant diversity at a local stormwater basin that was constructed to prevent the surrounding neighborhoods from flooding. My interest in plants began to deepen immensely.

Since I always had an interest in "going green" or helping mitigate the effects of climate change, I developed a particular interest in trees. I learned the importance of our forests in regulating our Earth's climate, biodiversity, and nutrient and water cycles, as well as their remarkable ability to sequester carbon dioxide in the carbon-carbon bonds in their wood.

Regardless, a year or two later, I love exploring forests, finding new trees or other plants, and reading about them. Plants have much more to offer than initially meets the eye. They have history - some plants are native, and some are dispersed around the world by humans for various reasons (food, beauty, etc). The same plants that were intertwined with Native American cultures, plants with medicinal properties, or edible plants are probably growing in your backyard right now. Invasive plants, like the Tree of Heaven, may have originally arrived across the pond for their beauty, but now have spread across the country, forever altering local ecosystems.

I could go on and on. If anyone is reading this, I'd love to see what your thoughts about "plant blindness" are. Why do you like plants? What do they offer to you? Do they help you find peace within yourself?

Ingresado el 18 de junio de 2019 por conboy conboy | 11 comentarios | Deja un comentario