Introducing Plantivists: the activists who are using their 'green fingers' to make a difference
Here on the Daily Alternative, we've blogged about the Artivists and the Craftivists and would now like to introduce the Plantivists; the activists who are in one way or another demonstrating the powerfully positive influence plants can have on our lives and well-being. Each of the projects below has a different message and unique way of getting their point across.
A few weeks ago we blogged about Agamemnon Otero and the impressive work he has put into establishing community-owned renewable energy power stations on social housing and infrastructure projects across networks of rail and transport and now - a city-wide network of Energy Gardens. Over the next 2 years, the plantivists at Energy Garden will be "supporting communities across London to transform up to 50 London Overground platforms and stations into thriving gardens that will incorporate food growing plots and solar energy providing on-site renewable energy for lighting, water pumps or other small scale station amenities."
Through the 'act of planting' the project supports community and individual positive activism. And the message? We need more renewable energy and we need to support communities in generating it themselves.
Watch their inspiring introduction video above and find out how you can get involved here.
Martin Roth is a rare mix between an artist, activist - and gardener. In May 2017 the Austrian-born New-York based plant-artivists cultivated a piece of land in Midtown Manhattan 'nurtured by tweets' (pictured above). Now he is growing desert plants to question US gun policies. Here's his explanation:
I’ve spent the past several months travelling to the home of the Las Vegas Strip shooter Stephen Paddock. While exploring Paddock’s garden, I found an outlier: a single small saltbush called the desert holly growing out of the gravel-covered garden. For my upcoming exhibition on March 31st at 'yours mine & ours' gallery in New York, I am examining the healing powers of this desert holly.
By giving agency to plants and by viewing them as collaborators, I hope to raise questions about how we cope with violence. I don't believe in a hierarchy of humans, animals, and plant life, and with my work, I hope to show how plants can change us - and affect change.
Stephen Paddock was the deadliest mass shooter in U.S. history. Despite months of searching by the police and the press on behalf of the American people, Paddock's motive for the shooting is still unknown, so I went to try and find out myself.
This exhibition is not an attempt to politicize the shooting or minimize the tragedy. Rather, it is an investigation that asks how the organic world can offer us all a space for dialogue.
Read more, watch the video and support the project on Kickstarter.
Felix Finkbeiner & plant for the planet
At 9 years old, German wunderkind Felix Finkbeiner planted his first tree. Although it may have been small, his intention was great:
Children could plant one million trees in every country on earth and thereby offset CO2 emissions all on their own, while adults are still talking about doing it. Each tree binds a CO2 intake of 10 kg per year.
Other children in Germany connected with his clear vision, began planting trees on their own and quickly, it grew into a global movement - Plant-for-the-Planet.
An article in National Geographic tells Finbeiner's story. Here's an excerpt:
Plant-for-the-Planet came about as the result of a fourth grade school assignment in Finkbeiner’s hometown, Uffing am Staffelsee, south of Munich. The topic was climate change. In this nine-year-old's worldview, that meant danger for his favourite animal, the polar bear. He consulted Google for his research. Google steered him elsewhere—to stories about Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman whose heroic campaign to recover barren land that had been sheared of trees resulted in the planting of 30 million saplings and won her, in 2004, the Nobel Prize.
“I realized it’s not really about the polar bear, it’s about saving humans,” Finkbeiner says in a telephone interview from Britain, where he is a student at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. His report about trees was a hit and as a dramatic close, Finkbeiner laid down the challenge to plant one million trees in Germany. No one expected anything to come of it.
Finkbeiner’s teacher asked him to present his talk again to other students and the headmaster, and two months later, he planted his first tree, a stunted, unimpressive crab apple, near the entrance to his school. If he had known then how much international media coverage that crab apple would receive, he says now, a little ruefully, he would have insisted his mother buy a more majestic first tree.
Looking back, a nine-year-old kid with a cherubic face, a natural gift for public speaking, and a one-million tree-planting challenge was irresistible to the world’s media. Word of Finkbeiner’s project spread rapidly. The next thing he knew, he was speaking to the European Parliament and attending UN conferences in Norway and South Korea. By the time he delivered his speech at the UN in New York in 2011, at the age of 13, Germany had planted its millionth tree, and Plant-for-the-Planet had been officially launched. It had a website and a full-time employee.
Today Plant-for-the-Planet is uniting more than 100,000 children from over 130 nations around one cause - planting trees for a better world. And so far, 15,206,631,734 trees have been planted. Recently, the group has pushed the planting goal upward to one trillion trees - 150 for every person on the Earth. Follow them here.