I grew up in Minneapolis and have been growing native plants for about 7 years as a way to enhance my connection with the natural history of this specific place that I live. The first plants I ever grew were a few garden beans that I threw out into our front yard when I was in about 2nd grade. They grew, and I was amazed and have been enthralled with plants ever since. I have about 2 years of college behind me, no degree. I took a great Plant Propagation course at the U. of MN. a few years ago which was excellent. Observing and interacting with growing plants , especially natives, is truly inspirational to me. I don't claim to be an expert with plants, natives included, but mostly would like to encourage others to develop their own experience with these amazing transformers of solar energy.
Your Grandma or your parents may be in an assisted living residence, now scientists are working to assist plants in finding new homes as the planet continues to heat. Global warming will continue to dislocate whole communities of plants as higher temperatures make their present environment inhospitable to their gene pools which evolved in a cooler time. Scientists at The Chicago Botanic Garden are making a valiant effort collecting seeds from different populations of prairie species with the intent to preserve the species and possibly even assist the movement of communities of species to more suitable environments. Historically, plant species were able to make pilgrimages even across large distances in the event of climate changes, but only because those changes happened at a very slow rate. The current human-induced forcing of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is happening at an unprecedented rate, the effects of which many plant species may be unable to outrun. The effort to help plant species migrate in the face of climate change is not without debate; some scientists fear the unintended release of invasive plant species, which take over new habitats, reducing native biodiversity in their wake. Read the whole article here.
From "Grist", an article about how human psychology affects the reception of the message about climate change...and how to best deliver the message, without being put away. Climate Psychology
And for possibly the best one volume book on the science of climate change, see "The Weather Makers", by Tim Flannery. Also, Flannery discussing his latest book, "Now Or Never", on MN Public Radio on Nov. 3, 2009.
Finally, possibly one of the most effective things a person can do to reduce their carbon footprint; stop eating animals ! See Jonathan Safron Foer's interview with Ellen Degeneres about his new book.
Don't think that Climate Change is really happening? Or that it's not human induced? It's time for you to present your science on why not...what facts are you basing your decision on? Are they tested facts? Have they been peer-reviewed? Are they demonstrable and repeatable? Because this is how real science works. Facts. Data. Repetiton. Peer-Review. If your story doesn't have these, it's probably not science.
Finally, why am I blabbing about climate change on this quaint little blog about native plants? Because it is one of the most important (yes, in my opinion) issues affecting our families in the human history of the planet. I wish that people would try to educate themselves on this topic from a scientific, not political point of view. Find out what the vast majority of scientists think about the issue. Take off the blinders of cultural and political denial. It's happening, and we're doing it, and it will bite us all hard if we don't do something different.