Tagged: zoochauvinism

Plant blindness eradicated *

Plant blindness [PB] is the term coined by James Wandersee & Elisabeth Schussler (The American Biology Teacher 61(2): 82–86, 1999; https://doi.org/10.2307/4450624) for the phenomenon in humans whereby plants are not seen – literally overlooked – in nature, and consequently their importance to humanity is not appreciated. It’s also been called zoochauvinism, and zoocentrism, which terms emphasise the perceived pre-eminence and importance of animals above all other forms of life – plants, bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa, and Archaea. As Botanists we know the importance of plants** – and related photosynthetic organisms such as algae and cyanobacteria – to the lives...

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Image: Charles Doussault, ‘A class in the open’, wood engraving, approx. 1842.

Reaching the masses: true botanical evangelism

I don’t know what the average enrolment on a first-year university plant science course is, but I can guess that it isn’t more than 5000. But 5009 is the number who had signed up to Prof. Daniel Chamovitz and Aviva Katz series of ‘classes’ intriguingly entitled, ‘What a Plant Knows (and other things you didn’t know about plants)’ by 3.14 pm on 20th July 2013. That number of students won’t fit into a single lecture theatre, nor even a single campus, but is comprised of individuals throughout the world who are taking the course via Coursera, ‘an education company that partners...

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