Whether it occurs as a result of a higher power, ourselves, or the death of our star, Earth is doomed to eventual destruction. However, there happens to be life on it at the time being. Life has existed on our planet for quite some time and most of us would like to see it continue for quite a while longer. The question is; what life will continue to exist? That question will be answered, to a large extent, by us humans. We are currently destroying much of the life on our planet, the only habitable planet that we know of in all of existence. Perhaps one day we will find another planet to destroy, but for the time being this is all we have. As such, one would think that we would be very careful about how we treat our home. Yet we all know this is not the case.

There are some of us who exist in a daily struggle between life and death. Others of us see survival as more of a question of what will be for dinner, not whether or not there will be dinner. It is possible though, that at some points in history there were periods when the entire human species was at the brink of teetering into obliteration – never to be seen or heard of again. A global catastrophe could still do the same today. But human life has not been snuffed out. We are not only surviving but proliferating. Conversely, for many species of life, we are a global catastrophe. By homogenizing the planet, we are excluding many forms of life from the right to live.

Why do we need both a white-throated sparrow and a white-crowned sparrow? In previous times, when we had not set ourselves quite so far apart from other species of life, an observer might think why do we need both a human and a chimpanzee - they seem pretty much the same to me? The chimpanzee is stronger and has more fur. Humans are weak and hairless; they probably won’t amount to much. This is not to say that a white-crowned sparrow will amount to any more than a white-throated sparrow, but are we really qualified to be judge and jury for all of life? Although we are constantly learning, there is vastly more that we don’t know than there is that we do. Shouldn’t we be very careful about altering what we don’t understand?

The point is often made that some plant might hold the undiscovered cure to cancer, or that we can develop new technologies from the chemistry of a particular animal. Although these things may be possible, they should not be our motivation for preserving life. All life has struggled to survive. We have been blessed (or cursed?) with power over other living beings. The myriad species of life should be preserved; not because they are useful to us, but because they have just as much right to live on this planet as we do. If we don’t recognize this, we are merely bullies enslaving the rest of the living world.

These thoughts may be overly comprehensive for the scope of this website, but it is part of what plantstudy is founded on. The discovery of our world is an ongoing process, not just something which happened hundreds of years ago by men in wooden ships. Plantstudy is an exploration into a particular part of our world. Much in life is underappreciated until it is gone. This website seeks to instill greater appreciation for life while it is still here. We hope that you as a visitor will feel a sense of discovery, possibly learn something, but most of all be inspired.