Save the plants!

plants-1Lately I have been thinking about how people are becoming more and more unaware of what nature is. We are used to living in the cities, which makes us totally disconnected from the rest of the world that surrounds us. In my opinion people become more human being “out there” than being closed in a concrete jungle, where they fight between each other for no particular reason. What we can also see is that people are much nicer in the nature. They smile to each other, want to help, respect their environment and… I realised that being “out there” in the nature and doing nothing, just living is more educational than doing tones of stuff in the city.

Being disconnected from the nature make us forget about many things that are fundamental for our life or sometimes surviving. One of these fundamental elements is food. Nowadays very few people know how to manage a garden. I would even risk to state that very few people know how to identify all the plants from which we gather our food. How does the pineapple grow, or a watermelon, or would you be able to differentia potatoes from beetroots?Actually most of food comes from plants. Of course, produce such as cheese; milk or meat par excellence comes directly or indirectly from animals. But if we start thinking what does a cow eat we again come back to plants. Sugar that is used in so many things that each one of us love so much, also is made from a plant – sugar cane or in colder places sugar beetroots are used. It means that without these plants we wouldn’t be able to eat cookies, cakes, ice cream nor drink juices.

The most mysterious and mesmerizing part of all this, is that if you don’t know the plants, you can walk the forest in search of food and never find anything to eat, even if all the nutritious food is right there in front of you. A great example of that is when in the community we walked past various plants that seemed like anything else you can find in the forest, and our native guides would tell us: This is ginger plant, this is yucca plant, this is the avocado plant, and here you have a cinnamon tree. If it weren’t for their deep knowledge in the natural world, I would have never have remembered where really does our food come from. I guess being exposed to supermarkets for all your life, really closes in your world, and disconnects you from the full food chain that all our ancestors were in tune with.

A really interesting fact about all these plants is that if you tear off a leaf from say a cinnamon tree, or a ginger root and chew it, the flavour of the actual fruit or vegetable suddenly comes alive in your mouth. I guess that could also be one way to survive in the forest, chew all the leafs that you come across to find the right one, but that seems like a very inefficient way to find food. The best process is to start re-learning all the essential skills our ancestors had, and get back in tune with the natural world. After all, without all these plants, forests, and fertile land….what would we have left to eat??

posted by Piotr Wielezynski & Hokuma Karimova

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