Those of us who love plants have always known they are vital to the planet. I mean, who could think they were useless? They have always absorbed carbon dioxide, created a home and food for animals and birds, as well as just making our environment more enjoyable and beautiful. Who hasn’t been grateful for the graceful tree when looking for shade on a hot, summers day?
But, according to scientists, plants have never been as important to the environment as right now because they are vital to reduce the impact of global warming. This has been recently reported by the BBC in an article about Professor Stephen Hopper, who is the director of Royal Botanic Gardens in London, England.
Professor Hopper was quoted as saying, “We believe that at no other point in history have plants been so important to people,” adding that plants “have importance as carbon sinks in a time of climate change.” As we all have always known, plants are vital to the air quality and environment and haven’t we always been told to grow houseplants to improve indoor air? According to Mr. Hopper, they are vital to reducing the impact of climate change and “vast numbers of humans” need them for medicine and food. In other words, we need to take care of plants!
“We have to care for what remains and address the serious business of repairing and restoring vegetation if we’re going to have the buffers to climate variation that plant life offers,” Mr. Hopper warns. There is an urgency to protect the plants that are essential to human welfare and quality of life, he added, as well as continuing to care for “green companions”.
Taking his words to heart and turning my attentions to the plants in our environment, I thought I’d find some things we can do to improve conditions for the plants in our local areas. Here are some ideas that came to mind:
Plant local cultivars and nourish them. This helps eradicate invasive weeds that have been carried into the environment (see my next post on the transport of weeds across the planet) and encourages the natural habitat and wildlife to flourish.
Water and feed plants in your sphere, watching them from time to time to see if they need pruning, seeding, harvesting or general care. Cover plants in cold snaps to protect their longevity. The more the merrier, even if you didn’t plant them or they aren’t on your property. Wildflowers need love, too!
Plant trees everywhere that there is room to do so and that it’s legal to do so. Don’t encroach on private property or assume city property is fair game, always ask first if you are not sure. But where ever you live, whether you own or rent, is viable land for planting lovely trees. Just remember to keep it local and don’t bring Brazilian cultivars into New Jersey, ok?
Plant your own garden or join a co op. Even if you don’t have a green thumb or know nothing about planting and have no desire to learn, you can join a local farmers co op and support their efforts to make fresh plants, vegetables and fruits available to the local region. There is nothing better than eating what the land offers where you live and there is nothing more environmentally helpful that to encourage local cultivars. The soil will thank you!
If you would like to get more activist and join some efforts on a more global scale, here are some links to help you help plants.