Plants To The Rescue? #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrikeOnline

This week, I read an article about a biologist whose work might help save the planet. I said “help”, you’ll notice. There are plenty of partial solutions that need to be implemented, but this is one.

The article, Joanne Chory is using plants to save the planet by Sarah Kaplan, is about the work of Joanne Chory. Over age 63, grappling with Parkinson’s, she and her plant biology research team are working to create what she calls “the ideal plant.”

Wolfgang Busch, a root expert, suggested that plants could be genetically manipulated to put more carbon in their underground parts. This way, their decomposing tissue would be incorporated into the earth, rather than being released into the air. Carbon and other nutrients would be restored to soil depleted by decades of intensive agriculture. And, as an added bonus, deep-rooted plants would be more resistant to flooding and drought.

Sarah Kaplan

Sometimes Chory loses heart. Then:

And then she envisions the future she still believes is possible: People living in smaller, safer, more sustainable houses. Windmills churning and solar panels gleaming from mountainsides and fields. She pictures acre after acre of farmland planted with engineered crops, their roots reaching deep into rich, healthy soil. She thinks of carbon dioxide concentrations ticking downward — measurable, meaningful change.

Sarah Kaplan

I think Dr. Chory is my new hero.

Mine, too!

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Overcoming great odds.

MA

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About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Plants To The Rescue? #FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrikeOnline

  1. acflory

    May 9, 2021 at 5:14am

    Ugh, I wish I could be as positive about this research. I’m not against genetic engineering per se, but out track record of biological interventions is truly appalling. The stated aim of sequestering carbon in the ground may be a good one, but evolution has spent billions of years perfecting biological systems to be in balance with each other. Humans, on the other hand, have a habit of not seeing, or ignoring the unintended consequences of their interventions. I have no idea what unintended consequences this particular type of genetic engineering could have, but billions of other organisms live on or around the roots of all plants. A change that could be good for climate change could end up being a catastrophe for the soil biota.
    We humans have so many options open to us with regard to climate change, and changing our own behaviour should be top of the list, long before we try to re-engineer other life forms to fix the mistakes we have made. 🙁

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 9, 2021 at 7:45am

      Excellent points, Meeka. The biota would be able to evolve with the plants, IF THE PLANTS EVOLVED naturally. A sudden, human-engineered change, though….

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      • acflory

        May 9, 2021 at 7:22pm

        Exactly. Here in Australia we have a massive cane toad problem. They were originally brought into the country to counter some other biological problem.. Now they /are/ the problem because they’re poisonous and there are no predators here who are immune to their poison. One bite and the dog or goanna ends up dying. I know cane toads aren’t genetically engineered but the principle, and our arrogance, remains. 🙁

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