The Demise of Plants

Two sequoias highlighted against a smoky, bluish backdrop
Two sequoias highlighted against a smoky, bluish backdrop

I've been reading a number of articles lately about the decline of plants in our society, not just on an environmental scale but also as an 'idea'.

The loss of Botany courses at universities worldwide has been mirrored in changes to dictionaries where Junior versions of the venerable Oxford dictionary have replaced many 'natural' terms with technological terms.

I'm not sure this is 'progress'.

I do understand we live in an economic rationalist world where 'survival of the most demanded' thrives in most areas of society. Those who have the biggest bling, make the loudest noise and look the most fashionable tend to get the most attention. Jim Henson/Kermit the Frog's lyrics for It's Not Easy Being Green have never been so apt.

But when a dictionary replaces words like Heather, Mistletoe, Fern, Hazel and Nectar (Nectar for goodness sake!!!) with chatroom, celebrity and voice-mail, then we are losing a deep and, ultimately, essential part of our culture. [See Landmarks by Robert MacFarlane for further reading]

In an article in The Guardian yesterday, entitled Plants Are Our Lifeline - But We Are Letting them Die, author Michael McCarthy outlines our desperate need to be advocates for the green world.

Kew Gardens is a prime example of this advocacy and their 2016 State Of The World's Plants is a wonderful document to read and share.

However as individuals, we can do more.

We can plant a tree or donate to a charity. But we should also begin talking about plants again, include them in our daily lives, have conversations about Nectar and Heather, so the lexicon of flora doesn't disappear, buried by the newly adopted words of technology.

Plants need us to care, our very survival depends on it.

Reading: Landmarks by Robert MacFarlane Listening: Star Trek Original Movie Soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith Watching: weather