Botanists are Needed
The world needs more botanists and gardeners.
This is not just my view but it is also the view of the United Nations. You may be surprised that the UN has an opinion on this subject with so many other things going on in the world today that may seem more important. However, in 1992 the United Nations organised a meeting in Rio to which all the world’s leaders came. The meeting was the 1st Earth Summit and the result was the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Almost every county in the world agreed that we need to protect the world’s species from extinction because the comfort and prosperity of future generations depends upon the plants and other species with which we share the planet.
In 2000 a group of gardeners met in the Canary Islands to write a plan to conserve the world’s plants and they suggested 16 targets for us to aim at by 2010. The plan was taken up by the countries who signed the Convention on Biological Diversity and for the first time there was a coordinated global strategy for the conservation of a major group of organisms. By 2010, almost half of the targets had been hit, about half were missed but not by much, and two were completely missed. This was not a bad start and so revised targets were set for 2020.
We are now half way through this decade and the UN has just published a half-time report on progress towards the 2020 targets and Target No.15 is giving grave cause for concern. The world simply does not have enough botanists and gardeners to do the work needed to hit the other targets. Botany & gardening may seem like genteel professions to some people, but highly trained and qualified botanists and gardeners will be responsible for the future prosperity and comfort of our children, grandchildren, and even the future of our species. This is why the work of ACS students is so important.
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