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The More You Know about Plants, the More You Feel a Part of the World

Geobiologist Hope Jahren: studying the natural world of plants helps us transcend our human form, find joy and meaning in life, and feel more at home in this world we all journey through. Jahren’s book is “Lab Girl” (http://goo.gl/2g74Iq).

Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/hope-jahren-on-the-wisdom-of-plant-appreciation

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Transcript – I think plants present an opportunity for people to look closely at something and get invested in something that’s truly very much outside of themselves. Plants are not like us and the more you study plants the more different and deep ways you see that they are not like us. All the important things that we do from how we move around to how we reproduce to how we react to the sun. Any human activity you could point to you/re going to see something very different in plants. And the more you know about how plants function and the more you watch them function and test their functioning the more deeply you understand how different they are. I think that’s useful because I think people have a need to transcend themselves. And I know that when I get bogged down in the dysfunctionalities of how people treat each other and conflicts between men and women and money problems and science and all this kind of thing that I can take some comfort and joy in transcending what seemed like very small scale human noise and look at the differences in a life form that’s been successfully occupying the planet for 400 million years.

So, quite frankly I get a lot of joy and comfort and happiness from considering these things. I mean I think that’s the main reason to do science is that it feeds the soul. I think that, and I see this in students year after year that the more you know about the world the more you feel like you’re part of it. And it’s like nothing else. You teach somebody not to just walk up by a tree but to look up at it and say yup that one’s deciduous and that one’s evergreen and that one is going to lose its leaves this fall but that one is going to stay green just very basic things like that. And you see people’s sense of self and self-esteem rise and all of a sudden they know something about the world that they journey through and it makes them a little bit bigger as a person. And that’s really a wonderful thing to watch in students and to be able to facilitate. Read Full Transcript Here: http://goo.gl/XVGG5f.

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