Column 7: Jan Voogd
The Nation of Plants
Author: Stefano Mancuso
Dutch translation ‘De universele rechten van de plant’ 2020: Etta Maris
Someone handed me this book during the digital book review at GrootGroenPlus 2020.
In this book, Mancuso rights that the nation of the plants was and is the unique and everlasting power on earth. Without plants, there probably would not be any life.
Mancuso applies the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948 to the plant kingdom. This declaration consists of eight articles, stating the fundamental rights of plants, which he also elaborates on.
Some of the things included:
Plants are living beings and have sovereignty, just like any other living being.
Plants can feel, perceive, things like light, temperature, gravity, chemical gradients, electrical fields, touch, sounds, etc., which makes them very sensible to their surroundings.
Without enough forests, there is no real change to stop the increasing trend of CO2. Only plants can bring the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere back to harmless levels.
Plants and humans have entered a joint venture a long time ago. Through domestication - a long-term relationship between human and plant - in which both types learned to live together, and from which they will both benefit. They still give us enough food and materials that allow us humans to live comfortably. We will have to respect our green surroundings, and cover each spot on earth with plants.
By using new discoveries and data, Mancuso makes a strong case for the power of plants, and a conscious cooperation between human and nature. Plants see, hear, breathe, and think with their entire being, and are capable of photosynthesis. Mancuso also talks about the difference between plants and animals. Animals can flee from their predators. Plants have to depend on their roots. Plants think with their entire being. They have defence mechanisms against predators, such as spikes, thorns, smells, and colour of the fruit.
Without any fuss, Mancuso describes the overexploitation of nature by humans. We shamelessly exhaust the already limited number of sources. We still do not seem to be aware of the magical properties of the plant kingdom, and the way it offers us convenience.
The supplement to BN De Stem of Saturday 10 October 2020 included the following description of this book:
“The world should read this pamphlet about the importance of plants.”
I think that’s a great encouragement to actually do that. Especially given the specific instructions of Mancuso and recommendations that we should change our behaviour towards plants and put a stop to deforestation immediately, before it really is too late, and nature will be forever out of balance with our living environment.