Plant Blindness

“Because plants differ in many important ways from animals, and because biology is taught by members of the animal kingdom, there is a recognized tendency to overlook, underemphasize, or neglect plants."

Life on earth began about 3.8 billion years ago, with microscopic prokaryotic cells, archeae and bacteria. Multicellular life evolved about a billion years later, and while the actual emergence of land plants remains the debate of evolutionary biology, it is generally accepted that plants had a profound effect on climate about 700 million years ago. These early land plants explain the sudden appearance of fossilized animals, as the surface of the earth was covered with plants that increased oxygen and decreased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They fed themselves. In an ecological context, plants are producers. As a result of their astonishing collecting and concentrating activities, they created a suitable habit for consumers. Plants also structure soil physically and chemically and use cycles of transpiration to cool the environment. In a cultural context, plants are symbols and myth, from the almond tree (Prunus Sp.) as the Aramaic luzor light in ancient Egypt, the ruminal fig tree (Ficus Sp.) where Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome were sheltered and the Hornbean (Carpinus Sp.) ridge poles of the Chippewa tribe’s wigwam structures. Our association with plants is relatively insignificant temporally, yet plants are embedded in the layers of being human are the that are not only consumptive and exploitative but include respect and care. Humans are entirely dependent on plants and have supplanted ancient wisdom and symbiotic relationships for global authority, imperial trade, and scientific certainty. Plants, on the other hand, have been living on the planet for much longer and are not dependent on humans. Yet plant blindness persists despite our dependence by elevating the role of humans other creatures in planetary affairs.  

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