Humans and plants have coexisted for thousands of years, giving birth to a huge variety of crops all over the world in a “domesticated evolution”. Today, that valuable biological knowledge achieved through the efforts of much of humanity is disappearing by leaps and bounds.
I remember that in an ecology class while I was in college, a teacher asked us to hold a seed. She then asked us what we had in our hands. After several answers that she considered insufficiently valid to her expectations, she told us in a clear and emphatic voice: “Life! What you are holding is life!
Instead of preserving this fascinating diversity, we have been selecting those species most in line with the eyes of the tireless and endlessly unsatisfied market, with the consequent loss of those ancestral wonders that are and were so valuable: “Seeds: The Untold Story“, directed by Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel, rightly points out the worrying loss of biological and human culture that reigns in most agricultural fields.
If we are cooperating with life to secure our livelihood, why do we want to dominate and control it instead of understanding it? Now, when we most need to preserve genetic diversity to cope with climate uncertainty and global problems such as hunger and inequality, we are opting for maintaining doubtfully free and equitable food monopolies.
Agricultural land, stripped of the natural balance of the heterogeneous, is ravaged by disease and pests. We respond with more control, as if it were a runaway horse that needs to be calmed down. We study their theoretical needs and create more “miracle products”, in order to solve the new needs and problems that we have created due to our lack of understanding and ignorance.
It is essential that we are humble and aware that traditional knowledge must go hand in hand with science and that it can even be a determining factor in promoting a world in which we manage to make nature part of our lives.
I will never tire of extolling the exemplary educational role that the natural environment plays on human beings. Let us become its best students to make this world a better place.