We all know plants are life sustaining. Plants are, undeniably, crucial to all life on this planet. We, the ecofemmag team, are the new cat ladies, but instead of cats, it’s plants. We’re shamelessly #obsessed with occupying every spare square inch of our tiny offices, living spaces, outdoor spaces & gardens with new plant babies. But, how do our plant children actually improve the health of the Earth itself? Read on, plant lovers, and don’t let anyone tell you that you have too many (yes, we fully support you buying another basil plant from Trader Joe’s).
PLANTS ABSORB TOXINS
You’ve probably heard that plants filter toxins from the air and produce oxygen for us to breathe. But did you know that they can also absorb toxins from the soil? In a process called phytoremediation (try saying that one out loud), plants absorb man-made contaminants such as mercury, chromium, zinc, and nickel, plus a ton of other ones we don’t feel like listing. The inorganic toxins are removed and metabolized in the plant, rendering them harmless, like little plant fairies with magic wands. Organic waste is degraded naturally–effectively cleaning the soil and making it fertile. So. Cool.
PLANTS MANAGE WASTE WATER
The process of phytoremediation also manages both industrial and domestic wastewater. The management of waste water using plants can reduce toxins 75 percent in just 8 days. Hold on, I’m not sure you caught that. Let me say it again: SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT IN EIGHT DAYS. It’s an extremely effective and sustainable method of water management, but it’s also super cost efficient because phytoremediation equipment breakdown is highly unlikely. Other advantages of managing waste water with plants includes restoring of ecological ecosystems and creating additional sources of animal feed and energy production. Another point for plants. But who’s keeping score?
PLANTS STABILIZE SOIL
Let’s talk about erosion. Soil erosion, which is the degradation of surface material due to processes like wind or water flow, can lead to undesirable outcomes, such as reductions in farmland area & landslides. If you were paying attention about 15 seconds ago, you probably have a pretty solid guess about how we can address soil erosion (hint: subtitle). Yup you nailed it: plants. A rich diversity of plants can prevent soil erosion because their network of roots bind soil particles together. Plants prevent erosion from rain, runoffs, waves, and tidal currents. Vegetation-reinforced soil is self-sustaining, as the plants help maintain adequate moisture levels and encourage future growth.
PLANTS = COOL
Plants are cool. AND they cool things off ;). Trees and vegetation can lower temperatures through evapotranspiration, which is the process of water evaporation through vegetation by the sun’s heat. Evapotranspiration cools the surrounding air as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s about 5 degrees Celsius – seriously, why are we still using Fahrenheit in the U.S.? It’s such a pain in the ass, I never understand weather reports when I’m traveling. What do I wear? T-shirt? Or Parka? WHO KNOWS? Okay, refocusing. Plants are cool.
Shade from trees and bushes can lower temperatures as much as 45 degrees Fahrenheit (again, about 25 degrees Celsius). Plants integrated into “green roofs” and walls reduce building temperatures and cut energy requirements from cooling systems, AKA: air conditioning. Shade in car parks prevent evaporation of volatile organic compounds from heated stationary cars. Bottom line, plants are natural closed-loop cooling systems, my friends.
Plants clearly play a pivotal role in our lives and on earth. They’re a natural detoxifying defense of the earth’s atmosphere and soil, and provide a protective barrier to the elements of wind, rain, and sun.
More plants = healthier planet = healthier people.
Alright, so, action items for today:
- Plant more plants
- Buy more plants
- Give more plants
- Eat more plants
- Talk more to your plants
- Buy that succulent, Ashley. Just do it.