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Vegetalize: A Manifest for a New Flourishing

Words by
November 15, 2016
Plants shape every aspect of our lives, whether we notice or not.

All life on Earth ultimately depends upon plants. They transcend us in time and in existence.

They divert energy from the sun and use the matter of the earth to generate life: life for others, life for us.

We want to spark controversial awareness towards plant life and promote plant knowledge as freedom.
There is an intrinsic bond between our physiology and the physiology of plants, that if respected and reinforced will ensure the survival and prosperity of both.

We are in constant interaction with plant matter, inside and outside of our body.

But how do we perceive them? Do we actually perceive them?

Human-plant relations are essential not only for our individual survival but are also the foundations of what we call civilisation. Nevertheless, as Francis Hallé presumed “human beings are ignorant of the biosphere’s plant life” and we seldom recognise the role of plants in sustaining life on this planet, including our own.

Vegetalize: A Manifest for a New Flourishing
photo © Sarah Daher
Today our relationship seems to be limited to control, domination and abuse of the vegetal kingdom. Our cultural and technological developments have changed us from being collectors and growers to become consumers, and now the plant knowledge once essential for human survival is almost inexistent and outsourced to the food and pharmaceutical industry.

We won’t change the past, but we can shape the future.

Therefore, we think it’s important to make visible the influence plants had, have, and will have in shaping our lives in all aspects, from individual wellbeing and health to the shaping of cultural identities towards the development of economic and political strategies.

We want to spark controversial awareness towards plant life and promote plant knowledge as freedom.

We want to raise a critical voice to this apparently silent kingdom and put to an end the current predominant perception of plants as inanimate and insentient beings.

There is a growing amount of scientific evidence that proposes a contemporary vision of plants as highly dynamic and sensitive beings that are in constant communication and interaction with their surroundings, and why not with us?

We want to trigger our imagination to perceive plants as intelligent beings that we can collaborate with, rather than as passive resources.

We oppose a naïve and romanticised idea of nature as a fragile system in need of human protection and that decoupling is the solution for this ‘protection’.

We want to trigger our imagination to perceive plants as intelligent beings that we can collaborate with, rather than as passive resources.
Rather, we are the ones in the need of support from the natural world and as plants are the most abundant form of life in nature, looking into their strategies will bring us new insights to tackle most of our current social and environmental issues.

They have been bearing and improving life for millions of years. What can we learn from them?

We believe that the shift in perception about plant life should not come only through governmental policies, which are also necessary, but it has to come from the inside—from each of us.

We need to understand plants, to know who they are and what they are doing for us to be able to include them within our human ethical awareness.

We need them! Plants are our external organs. Our bodies follow in continuity with their bodies. There is a biological bond that cannot be decoupled.
We want to talk about plant ethics and environmental rights, and promote a more mindful respectful, non-superficial, not only instrumentalized relationship with nature.

We want to trigger our imagination to perceive plants as intelligent beings that we can collaborate with, rather than passive resources.

We want to open space for dialogue across species boundaries, acknowledge plant vocabularies and introduce new terminologies and behaviours into our daily live.

To create opportunities to relate with other-than-human-persons and to expand the notions of health and care towards other living beings.

We want to experience the wild, the danger, the beauty, the amazements of the vegetal life with our guts, with our skin, with our lungs, with our body, with our minds.

We want to extrapolate our senses.

We want to delve into "interpenetrations of human and plant bodies" and to became aware that our relationship with the vegetal world will shape our future, will shape our DNA.

We work with fervour towards a future where we embrace plants as a central aspect of human society and that a sustainable future will only be possible if we create new models of partnership between humans and plants and develop technologies that will interface and support these new realities and interactions.

We want to flourish towards a future where we co-exist, co-create and share togetherness with the ones that not only make life possible but also make life beautiful.

We want to vegetalize!