Plants are aware and intelligent beings as demonstrated by recent scientific findings. Yet, plants typically continue to be treated as mere objects for use. In response, The Plant Initiative was started to encourage ethical behavior toward plants and to support development of an effective movement toward this goal.
The Plant Initiative works to increase respectful treatment of plants and to advance an effective plant advocacy movement through encouraging policy, law, and activism on behalf of plants.
The Plant Initiative works with others to build partnerships and strengthen networks on behalf of plants through financial assistance, fostering information exchange, and encouraging interdisciplinary and cross-movement collaboration.
The Plant Initiative works to increase appreciation of plants and their special qualities, including building understanding of plant intelligence, sentience, and consciousness. We support conferences and provide online programs and materials.
Walter Furness is a doctoral candidate in Geography at Texas State University. His current research examines the politics of human-yeast interactions across laboratory spaces. He also enjoys nurturing plants and microbes at home, cohabitating with succulents, herbs, sourdough, kombucha, and other ferments.
Britt Gangeness lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. She credits free play in the woods and a mother who loved to garden for teaching her to love plants. She works on environmental education projects at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and goes swimming in Minnesota lakes with her two kids as much as possible.
My connection with plants has been a lifelong pursuit and includes both outdoor gardening and a houseful of potted plants which spend their summers outside and their winters inside (because I live in Minnesota). As a successful gardener, it's important to listen and carefully observe plants' happiness. I believe all living things deserve respect, compassion, and equal rights.
Paul has degrees in biology, agronomy, and marketing and has most recently been studying in the Department of Geography, Environment & Society at the University of Minnesota. He has served as executive director of Cottonwood Foundation since 1992. Paul has a strong interest and commitment to increasing respectful treatment of plants.
Laura Pustarfi, Ph.D., is a scholar and writer focusing on trees in the Western philosophical tradition. She completed her doctoral work in Philosophy and Religion with a focus on Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2019. She currently works as the Associate Director for the Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research Certificate Program at CIIS.
August Stolba coined the term Design Ecology to describe his interdisciplinary study of the anthropogenic factors that affect climate change at The Evergreen State College. Since returning to his home state of Iowa, he has dedicated himself to ecological education, sustainable food systems and native landscape restoration. August currently works as Land Care and Holistic Ecology Coordinator at Prairiewoods Ecospirituality Center in Hiawatha, Iowa.
Lora Wedge is a community leader and educator with a background in social change work and a M.A. in Consciousness and Transformative Studies. She teaches as adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota Duluth and works in the nonprofit sector where she is devoted to helping individuals and society remember our reciprocal relationship with the earth.