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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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A Knowledge of Plants

A Knowledge of Plants

Ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin (credit: Skoll Foundation Amazon Conservation)

Knowledge about plants began a very long time before the 17th and 18th Century explorers returned carrying seeds, tubers, and cuttings for European botanical gardens. Those early plant hunters hoped to find new foods, medicines, and spices.

Instead of exploitation, the contemporary ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin collaborates with indigenous peoples of the Amazon to understand their deep botanical, knowledge by understanding how they utilize the plants that surround them. Plotkin explains his approach and its rewards in a TED presentation that has been viewed more than a quarter million times since it was first presented.

We could gain some similar botanical wisdom ourselves if we knew as much about the plants in our environments instead of struggling with the pathology of 'plant blindness'. WHB

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