Plant Blindness vs Plant Mindfulness
Plant blindness, a term coined in 1998 and recently brought to my attention by a post from @houseplantjournal, is an interesting phenomenon that has occurred as a result of urbanisation. Simply put, it is the inability to see or notice plants in one’s own environment. There’s an interesting @bbcearth article that asks the question “what is the last animal you saw”? You could probably name it, describe its colour, size, texture and distinguish it from other animals. But asked the same question, but to name the last plant you saw, and the answer may be more difficult to come up with.
As global warming & general urbanisation contributes to the reduction of fauna and flora species alike, it's vital that we fund sustaining plant species with the same effort we apply to preventing the extinction of animals, however that is not the case. According to the BBC, "in 2011 plants made up 57% of the federal endangered species list in the US. But they received less than 4% of federal endangered species funding". One reason that animals get all the love is because we view animals as being more important than plants. They have eyes, and mouths, and other identifiable features that allow us to relate to them, more than we would a plant. They also don't move like us humans.
Plants clothe us. They feed us. They give us oxygen. They make medicines that aid us and even cure us. It's as essential as ever that we continue to make every effort for all plant life to continue to live and thrive, not just for our sake but for every living organism on the planet. And plant blindness can be cured! Whilst some media sources claim that the indoor plant obsession is just a fad, you can't argue that it's teaching some incredibly valuable lessons about caring for plants for people who may not have had exposure to that information before. Gardening courses, community vegetable areas, and botanic gardens (to name a few) are vital sources of education for the everyday man and woman, and after all, charity starts at home. By continuing to build plant life and plant education into our metropolitan lifestyle, we can learn to stop taking plants for granted, and protect them for everyone's benefit.
I went on a neighbourhood walk this afternoon, pondering the idea of plant blindness. I am lucky to live in an area with gorgeous greenery both in public spaces and in private yards. And I made the conscious effort to really notice every plant I could see. I found photographing them helped me tune into the details more, as I changed up angles to get a good shot. This photo is one of the amazing discoveries I found that I have walked past over 20 times and never noticed its amazing size and beauty. So! If you need a mindful challenge for this week, try to really notice the greenery around you as you move about during your day. Sometimes you’ll find the most beautiful surprises that were right in front of you, but you never noticed them.