Welcome to The Loud Branches

When I started this blog, I explained wny I called it The Quiet Branches. It was in part about how many people are blind to plants, how they’re just a medium we walk through without fully understanding just how deeply they show up in our lives every day. The blog is meant to inspire a moment of appreciation when you look at the food on your plate, the coffee you’re drinking, the paper you’re reading a book on or writing on, the air you’re breathing, and more. To appreciate how connected we are to plants– and them to us. The story of plants is deep and profound. And yet we often take them for granted.

The blog is meant to inspire a moment of appreciation when you look at the food on your plate, the coffee you’re drinking, the paper you’re reading a book on or writing on, the air you’re breathing, and more. To appreciate how connected we are to plants– and them to us. The story of plants is deep and profound. And yet we often take them for granted.

Well, I’ve changed my mind*. Welcome to The Loud Branches*.

I’m changing the blog’s name to better reflect how plants actually are in the world, how they really show up. And that is loud and in charge and they are something to be respected and possibly feared. They will outlast us, no matter how badly we humans induce vast environmental changes. Many are much bigger than we are. And they outnumber us.

Welcome to The Loud Branches*. We live on a big blue-green ball (even in the oceans, photosynthetic organisms are profoundly important- and can be considered ‘plants’ in a loose sense). Note, I didn’t say a human-skin-toned ball. We’re a blip. All 7 billion of us could stand shoulder to shoulder and fit in a 27x27km area.

Plants are Ubiquitous. They are in your face 24/7/365. They are watching us all the time and they even talk to each other (in their own chemical/light perceiving/physically touching way).

We need them more than they need us. And getting resources from plants is not an easy prospect. Logging is a dangerous profession– trees crashing down is something to be taken utterly seriously (& of course, sustainably in an ideal world). Fighting wildfires is also dangerous work. Farming is not easy. Not to mention researchers’ quest to improve plants we grow to get better yields or grow foods in places they can’t be grown now. We are still defying the doomsday Malthusian prediction of the problem of over-population outstripping our ability to feed everyone, but without continued investment, that does not necessarily mean it will continue. It takes years of research and development to improve a plant, and then scaling of new varieties for farming also takes time.

Plants have secretly, yet obviously, been shaping our lives since modern humans evolved. Even the ones we don’t cultivate matter in defined environments we exist in. I grew up with the vast conifer forests of Alaska as well as birch trees, and the tundra wildflowers. I still think nostalgically about all of those scenes. There’s a reason we bank seeds in remote and cold places.

Some plants are ostentatious and showy too. Some have explosive seed distribution:

 

 

Some, like orchids, are just loud looking with their blooms:

 

Not to mention that plants have some very clever behaviors they have evolved. Almost intelligent, some say (I don’t fully agree).

So welcome to The Loud Branches*.

April is a time when spring starts in New England.

Fools will say it’s strange to change the name of a blog after a year. But plants are loud and in our faces all the time. We just have to notice.

Sincerely,

Loud Branches editor and writer, Ian Street.

*April Fools (on the name change). The plant part of this post is all too real.


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