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31 May 2021

Is plant extinction a PR problem?

Plant extinction can be seen as a PR problem as we often put people and animals first when it comes to solving critical issues facing our world. However, we rely on plants for so much that we must bring their survival to the front of mind. 

In a recent ‘Live at The Calyx’ session, the panel discussed whether or not plant extinction has a PR problem. The conversation was had in the context of the Infinite Herbarium – an artwork created by Caroline Rothwell in partnership with Google Creative Lab

Caroline Rothwell suggested that plant blindness is a big problem in the world today. We’re just so used to buying our food, breathing air, going for drinks with friends, that we forget this all happens because of plants. 

“There is this great plant blindness in the world. We’re just so used to having them around us, feeding us, providing for us… To create this big experience… I really wanted to make these (plants) overwhelming extraordinary pieces (of art),” she says. 

John Siemon, Director of Horticulture at Botanic Gardens Greater Sydney, brought up that plant extinction might be a PR problem and that experiences like the Infinite Herbarium are ways to bring the public on board to fight for plant life. 

“Plant blindness is something we’re challenged with on a daily basis. Projects like the Infinite Herbarium, that Caroline has created, helps battle plant blindness."

Generally, human nature puts eye brows and fur before plants, however plants are fundamental to our daily lives. How is it that plants are forgotten? Projects like this help us have this conversation.
John Siemon, Director of Horticulture at the Botanic Gardens, Greater Sydney

“The loss of a single plant species before we know its value to the planet is a huge issue. If that happens to be the next COVID vaccine and we’ve lost it from the planet then that’s a catastrophic loss. There are examples of where plants are critical to the ecological balance of the planet, so we must start recognising them as such,” he says. 

The Infinite Herbarium and other art projects might be the way to combat the PR issue facing plant life. The more people engage with the issues, the more conversations that happen and that leads to raising the global consciousness around plant life and the threat of plant extinction. 

Plant morph from the Infinite Herbarium

You can have a look at what we're doing to combat plant blindness and plant extinction at the Australian Institute of Botanical Science.

About the Infinite Herbarium 

Caroline Rothwell has developed a multi-channel projection and participatory experience based on the plant morphs created via Infinite Herbarium. Launching at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia as part of The National 2021: New Australian Art and concurrently at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

The Infinite Herbarium was created by Caroline in partnership with Google Creative Lab and is a great way to connect with nature. You can use the Infinite Herbarium on your mobile at any time.
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