by Steffan Browning
Tomorrow has been declared “Fascination of Plants Day”.
We find plants very fascinating. New Zealand is a biodiversity hotspot; we‘re responsible for one of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant life on Earth. The native plants we love need protection. This is why we have a Members Bill to have plants included in laws to protect threatened wildlife.
We also find plants fascinating because of the ways in which they contribute to our lives. New Zealand’s primary production industry is based on plants – growing them to feed us, feed our animals, and to make into products we wear or use.
This “Fascination of Plants Day”, however, has a seedy undertone. It has just been invented by the European Plant Science Organisation, who have a real focus on the promotion of genetic engineering. Their three New Zealand members are Scion, Plant & Food Research, and AgResearch – the three organisations in New Zealand doing the most work on GE.
Let’s celebrate our fascination of plants tomorrow but focus instead on the fascination provided by the huge variety of heritage seeds developed by communities over generations, or our amazing and vulnerable native flora. And let’s not be distracted by the fascination that multinational corporations have with owning patents on the genes of our seeds or threatening our biosecurity with the potential for cross pollination of GE crops into our environment.
I invite you to be fascinated by plants tomorrow too. See how you score on this quiz about our native plants or have a look at this seasonal produce guide to brush up on what New Zealand grown produce is in season for you to enjoy.
Published in Environment & Resource Management by Steffan Browning on Thu, May 17th, 2012