The Ecological Citizen Vol 3 Suppl A 2019: 13–21
In many ways, plants are fundamentally different from other kingdoms in the domain of life. Through photosynthesis, with its absorption of carbon dioxide and release of oxygen, plants serve as the lungs of planet Earth. As organisms capable of synthesizing their own food from inorganic substances, they are the basis for food webs upon our blue-green planet. From this wondrous arising, the miracle of life moves forth. Diverse forests, grasslands, deserts, tundra, wetlands, and waterways blanket the Earth, providing refuge for untold realms of biodiversity from molecules to species to bioregions and biomes. Vascular plant numbers total over 400,000 taxa, with 20% threatened with extinction. Along with the twin spectres of climate chaos and species extinctions, vast numbers of individual plants and animals are being extirpated beyond our ability to comprehend the losses. The green world is being razed by agricultural expansion and deforestation, as well as from wildfires, industrial agriculture, and indiscriminate use of biocides. Along with immediate steps to reduce human numbers and its attendant consumption, the best conservation science tells us setting aside half the Earth for the preservation of wild nature is crucial if humanity and the more-than-human world is to make it through this plight of our own making.