May18th: A fascinating day for plants
Europe, 18th May—The European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) has declared May18th 2012 the first international “Fascination of Plants Day”.
The day aims to get people worldwide enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture, in sustainably producing food, as well as for horticulture, forestry, and all of the non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy, and pharmaceuticals. The role of plants in environmental conservation is also a key message.
Many plant science institutions, universities, botanical gardens, and museums, together with farmers and companies, have announced that they will open their doors, with a variety of plant-based events taking place during the day for all the family.
We asked colleagues in TRAFFIC and the FairWild Foundation what fascinates them about working on conservation and sustainable use of plants—and here’s what some of them had to say:
“Being able to contribute through our work on sustainability gives me a strong feeling of pride to be associated with local communities and being able to contribute to their economic welfare,” MKS Pasha, Associate Director-Programmes, TRAFFIC.
“The world would just be a less interesting place without all the different plants in it - and they have so many uses too!” Bryony Morgan, Executive Officer of FairWild Foundation and Medicinal Plants Officer, TRAFFIC.
“The reason I am especially fascinated by use of plants is because it is such a large part of the dependence of people on nature – and trying to understand and influence the relationship between people and their environment is the motivation for my involvement in conservation overall”, Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC, Trustee of the FairWild Foundation.
“Plants have myriad value and underpin all life on earth – trees are the lungs of the earth; plants provide innumerable uses from construction to culinary delights; they represent an incredible storehouse of undiscovered medicine; they inspire design, artistry and poetry; and they are intrinsically beautiful and, simply, make me feel good,” Thomas Osborn, Regional Programme Coordinator, TRAFFIC.
“I am always fascinated to work on plants, because they are quiet, but beautiful and useful,” Kahoru Kanari, Senior Programme Officer, TRAFFIC.
“Ensuring access and benefit sharing and recognition of traditional knowledge has always been very important to me and the work in TRAFFIC on medicinal and aromatic plants focuses on these issues as well as the conservation of the plant species”, Naomi Doak, Coordinator, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia's Greater Mekong.
“It is rewarding and fascinating, knowing we together to contribute to the survival of species so important for so many purposes, and so beautiful too!” Anastasiya Timoshyna, Global Medicinal Plant Programme Lead, TRAFFIC.
“The conservation and sustainable use of plants is of utmost importance for humanity—thus my fascination in work on conservation and sustainable use is based on my nature to be a plant person on the one hand and on my understanding of current worrying developments on earth on the other hand,” Heiko Schindler, Institute of Marketecology (IMO), Technical Committee of the FairWild Foundation.
“Working with useful plants brings together, for me, the most compelling arguments for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity – the social, economic, and ecological benefits, the natural wonder, and the jaw-dropping beauty of plants,” Dr Danna Leaman, Chair of Medicinal Plants Specialist Group, SSC IUCN and Trustee of the FairWild Foundation.
Check www.fairwild.org to learn more about the FairWild Standard, developed to ensure plants are managed, harvested and traded in a way that maintains populations in the wild and benefits rural producers.