Plants Can Change The World

Plants Can Change The World

Plants Can Change The World

Plants are extraordinary superheroes: they provide a multitude of tremendous services without asking for much in return. For starters, plants supply us with the basic requirements of life (food, oxygen, and shelter), but they also enrich our lives in unnoticed ways. The daily tasks that plants perform are called ecosystem services, though they should be called ecosystem superpowers because of their profound effects. Each plant initiates ripples of impact.

The abundance of plant-powered-services is so great that researchers organized them into four categories. Globally they are cultural building blocks that direct cuisine, art, and recreation. They provide us nourishment, fuel, and medicine. They support healthy soils and clean water. Lastly, they regulate air quality, flooding, landslides, and many other parts of our planet. Their multifaceted brilliance is what allows them to change the world.

If you are feeling cooped up or deep in the blues, you might consider joining many of your anxious fellows in beginning garden therapy. Community gardens are unique educational hubs that connect neighbors regardless of background. They provide local food, clean your stormwater before it enters the drain, and attract pollinators. Your simple action of planting just set off a cascade of positive effects: firstly, the improvement of your mental health, with many more to follow.

When thinking about what plants can do for us, there tends to be an overemphasis on food and fibers, though plants are excellent multitaskers. By considering the natural diversity of ecosystem services we can solve some of humanity’s most overwhelming issues: like how to clean up an oil spill, how to supply life-saving medicine, or how to smile everyday.

Plants Can Change The World

Dig Deeper & Learn More

Barthel, S., Folke, C., & Colding, J. 2010. Social–ecological memory in urban gardens—Retaining the capacity for management of ecosystem services. Global Environmental Change.

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Geijzendorffer, I. R., Cohen-Shacham, E., Cord, A. F., Cramer, W., Guerra, C. & Martín-López, B. 2017. Ecosystem services in global sustainability policies. Environmental Science & Policy.

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Samantha Elie Botanist