Naturally a healthy diet includes a lot of plant based foods: fruits, vegetables, greens, and herbs. Eating meat after all can increase your risk of certain cancers. The World Health Organization in 2015, for instance, found that eating processed meats like hot dogs, ham and bacon can increase cancer risk, especially colon risk. Diets that are high in fatty, red meats also can raise cholesterol, increasing heart disease risks. Meanwhile, plant-based foods have potential to do the opposite, with antioxidants lowering everything from cancer risk to blood pressure. Not only is it good for our bodies, but a more plant based diet is often good for the planet, reducing carbon emissions from animals and the trucks that drive them and their meat around our world.
Did you know plants are also good for each other? A healthy garden is a mixed garden because a lot of plants like and thrive when grown next to each other. Lavender repels slugs for example and Marigolds keep those pesky aphids away. No chemicals needed, just a handy guide to what helps what and what keeps away those little critters that want to eat away at your garden.
We are well experienced in knowing that many other forms of life have conscious intelligence. ravens use tools, elephants form complex emotional relationships with their counterparts, chimps and other apes have been seen using plant matter as umbrellas in the rain. There is no doubt that animals hold levels of complex intelligence, but have you ever wondered if plants do? If not you should.
Children have long asked their parents if plants can feel being eaten. We often rebuke them and deny that—but the truth is plants are more aware than we realize. IFLScience says “A small, flowering plant called Arabidopsis thaliana can hear the vibrations that caterpillars trigger when they chew on its leaves. According to a new study, the plants can hear danger loud and clear, and they respond by launching a chemical defense.” And this is just one example among many others.
To apply the idea of “intelligence” it is often said that you need a brain to truly qualify, but is that true if plants can sound the alarm of danger? That is an awareness. So where is the line drawn then? Because plants cannot really move in the way animals or humans can it is fair to say that to survive they must be very aware. They understand what is going on around them from the soil conditions to moisture, threats to pollution. That’s sensory processing. Roots grow towards nutrition and know to avoid other roots, but are fine with hitting up against intimate objects. There is evidence that fungi communicate to their tree hosts to help the chances of that trees survival. Could we see this as a form of corporation? A clear form of some level of intelligence?
Plants are more complicated than what we give them credit for, and it is time to consider them a bit more.