Do You Suffer From Plant Blindness?

We human beings generally have a tendency to view as most important those creatures that are most like us. As we pass through our daily lives, we tend to see and respond to animals far more than we respond to plants. Psychologically, we tend to overlook the green, growing things all around us – drawn to the movement and similarities of animals, and often paying little attention to the plant kingdom. How often do you really stop and really see the plants all around you? Do you suffer from this common complaint – plant blindness?

Gardening can help us to 'see' plants in a clearer way – a way that people not involved in growing them themselves don't always see them. It can help us to differentiate different individual plants from the green backdrop, and to appreciate their interconnectedness and the myriad ways in which we rely on plants each and every day.

Plants are, in many ways, very different to us. We live life at very different speeds. But it is important for us all to recognise that plants are precious living creatures – no less important, and no less vital to the world's ecosystems than animals. By seeing plants as 'other' and somehow lesser than animals, many of us subconsciously minimise the importance of this type of life. We refuse to listen to them, and fail the learn the lessons that they have to teach us.

In order to face the existential threat of climate change, we must move away from our current anthropocentric or zoocentric view of the world, which sees humanity as the peak of the pyramid, with animals arrayed below us, and plants below them. We must combat plant blindness and learn to truly see and appreciate the amazing world of plants. Gardening in a nature-conscious and ethical way can help us to move closer to that essential understanding.

Plant life is rich and wonderful – varied and bountiful. Plants form complex communities and communicate underground, they send signals to one another, and work together in astonishing ways that we humans are only just beginning to understand. Combatting plant blindness is an important ingredient in our own evolution, and could be key to forging a way forward. Listening to the plants, learning from them, and appreciating them in all their complex glory, is vital to our own survival on this planet – and it could all begin in your very own garden.