Climate change is a problem humanity is currently causing and facing. Along with the rest of life on Earth, including plants. 2017 was one of the hottest years on record. The arctic is our early warning of a potential future.
Policy changes and action on climate are fundamentally selfish – it will maintain the conditions humans need to continue to thrive, not merely survive. It will keep the Earth green for us. 🌱
Climate change will affect nearly all aspects of our lives, including the primary producers that feed, clothe, medicate, shelter, and energize us – the plants. For example, it’s getting harder to grow barley in the United States.
Each species that blinks out of existence due to climate change is a lost opportunity, a missing collection of genes and cells that could prove useful in yet unknown ways. Even well known food-crops are under stress from climate change. Long ago, those crop plants were just some wild plant a person took note of, whose friends likely initially thought it ridiculous for even trying to eat it or grow it intentionally).
Climate change is wreaking havoc with the living treasure of our home. We are diminished as species are lost, putting ourselves at risk and not leaving enough in the bank for the future.
Some action is being taken, however, it is currently insufficient to the scale of the problems we face.
What stories will be told about plants and plant science if climate change goes unmitigated? Here is one possibility:
This blank space will because we aren’t around to be sustained by them. Some plants will survive climate change. However, unmitigated climate change could mean humans (Homo sapiens) do not (at the very least, we will be less well off as a species).
We can still act and save much of what we love about Earth. Part of that is acting to help plants adapt, be conserved, and be better understood. They are the base of terrestrial life on Earth (yes, similar statements can be made about fungi and microbes), including humans.
Here are some places to donate, where people are working to help protect the only home we will every know:
California Academy of Sciences (and do explore their iNaturalist app)
Any Botanical Garden (several major ones listed here). Visit them, donate to them, support your local gardens and conservatories too. Tell others about them:
Advocate for curiosity. For understanding our home and beyond. For science amongst elected officials and in your community. Plants are literal metaphors of growth and exploration. Supporting plants sows the seeds of a potential future for all of us. 🌳
Photo by Ian Street. The Fern Room at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, IL.