The Really Secret Life of Plants By Brian Simpson

     I remember a book being around years ago called The Secret Life of Plants (1973), by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, which argued that plants were sentient, and that agriculture should take this fact into consideration. At the time I was sceptical and believed that if they were right, then probably we would end up eating nothing and starving!

     However, maybe I dismissed this claim too lightly:

     It now seems that plants can learn and creatively adapt to their environment, especially with respect to light and other environmental cues. Plants can detect caterpillars eating them, and secrete defensive chemicals, which is more than some sheeple can do. Plants can detect the presence of water, and can avoid obstacles by shifting their roots. Parasitic dodder of the genus Cuscuta, warn plants about insect threats through chemical pathways. Ok, so what you may say –  but conscious animals also do this via chemical pathways too.

     Thus, there is more to plants than meets the eye. But, are they conscious, and what does being conscious involve, anyway? And, was my 1970s intuition right that we will end up starving if we don't take ecology ethics seriously?



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Thursday, 29 July 2021
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