On the Nature of Plants and People
We live in a fragile and complicated ecosystem governed by fallible men and women. When they vote and take action on issues and events in this country, politicians should have our collective best interests in mind. Sometimes they don’t.
You can learn a lot about how things work – or could work – from nature. The natural world is full of communities working together within and even across species to meet their common needs. Let’s take a look.
The foundation of life begins with plants. Chloroplasts in leaves take in sunlight and through photosynthesis generate oxygen and sugar, giving animals life-giving breath and nourishing meals. Trees and other plants form a cooperative of roots that generates twice the phosphorus and nitrogen that a single plant on its own can create. Larger trees support smaller ones; dying trees pass on their carbon to trees and other plants that are still growing; healthy trees attacked by animals or insects produce chemical defenses and signal other trees in the area to do the same.
In all of this majesty, we see harmony and balance, seemingly without conscious intention; yet somehow all provide for the needs of all in a beautiful dance. Which leads one back to the question of how well our politicians are doing on our behalf these days. Do they have the vision needed to nurture our ecosystem or to diminish it? Do they represent the needs of many or the desires of a few? Are they supportive additions to representation or bellicose partisans in the mostly self-inflicted chaos of politics? Our destiny is in our own hands if we choose to engage. While seemingly a spec in the overall design of this wondrous planet, we are still a part of the ecosystem; and our voices, should we exercise them, can still be heard.
Patrick J. Wood