Cretinous literary endeavours.

dave s
Fri, 25 Feb 2011 05:55:14 PST
There was a decent SF story a few years back set in the the not-at-all
distant future, about a botanist who travels, in his spare time, from office
to office, looking at plants on windowsills to see if any extinct or
as-yet-undiscovered plants might be surviving that way.  Good story, with
the caveat that the author was really, really obsessed with ABBA (yeah, you
read right - they are mentioned over and over again by one of the
characters, and yellow-flowered *Saintpaulia *is given the name "Dancing
Queen.")  A good story for the ecologically-minded.  Sort of a happier
version of "The Ugly Chickens." (A story that should be required reading in
any Eco class).

- Dave

On Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 7:55 PM, <> wrote:

>     I don't have the entire article, but from what I surmise from the
> comments thus far, it sounds like another attack on those of us who like to
> grow interesting plants and who actually care about their continued
> survival.  More important, from a conservation point of view, it makes no
> sense.  Evolution is not static, gene pools constantly shift, and if
> anything the world has been very unstable in the last few million years--who
> knows how many plant species were wiped out by the repeated Pleistocene
> glaciations onm the northern hemisphere.  Now that humans are here, there is
> no going back, rather we need to think
> about doing our best to preserve what diversity is left, and that means
> growing them, setting up seedbanks, and in some cases moving species in
> response to/ianticipation of global climate change.  An argument could also
> be made that while there may be short term, human induced, extinctions, the
> movement of plants to new areas may actually enhance biodiversity in the far
> future (assuming we manage not to wreck the planet first).
>     A Lilium species collection in the UK indeed may save some species, as
> I imagine the rampant ecological destruction in Tibet, western/southwestern
> China, Burma, and much of the rest of himalayan region (except perhaps
> Bhutan) might very well drive some species of lilium to extinction. Such
> efforts are both necessary and commendable.  Though perhaps occasionally
> common to the point of pesky in their new home, Gladiolus caryophyllaceus
> and Morea aristata are far safer from extinction in Australia than in their
> native South Africa.  Deppea splendens survives only in cultivation, if Dr.
> Breedlove had not been able to bring back live material to the US from
> Mexico at the time, this magnificent shrub would be gone.  Clearly humans
> are not going to disappear or even voluntarily reduce their excessive
> numbers, so there can be no real preservation of a status quo.  Our world
> ecosystems are constantly, and it seems with increasing speed, changing due
> to our activities that is not
>  beneficial for the survival of many other plants and animals.
>     In the end, there is no perfect solution, and steps need to be taken by
> interested and informed individuals, who can make a small difference in our
> too short lifetimes.  Relying on goverments that are hard pressed by other
> concerns to protect plants with limited geographic ranges is bound to fail
> in the long term, as funding for such programs will invariably be cut in
> reponse to economic constraints. In areas of the world where biodiversity,
> population growth, and poverty are all high, there is no real effort to
> protect rare plants, so limiting their movement only seals their sad fate.
>     Having a doctorate myself, I can only imagine that the authors of this
> article must possess a very narrow fact base in their actual knowledge of
> rare plants. Its a common problem in academia, where the intense focus on
> the tree obscures the view of the forest.  I wonder, could they actually
> grow a rare plant, and do they have years of practical experience observing
> plant communities in various areas (not just the one field/species/ecosystem
> or whatever they studied for their doctorates).
>     Just some of my thoughts on this complex issue, plus I have to admit, I
> really liked the phrase "cretinous literary endeavours".  I'll have to
> remember that one next time I'm grading a student essay.
>                Ernie DeMarie
>                Tuckahoe, NY Z6/7  where a lone crocus is blooming in my
> school garden, along with the first eranthis.
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