Tuesday, April 9, 2024
12:00 - 1:00 pm Central US Time
Join us for this free online conversation with scholar Keith Williams about plants as relatives, partners, and co-creators with humans.
Have you ever wondered about the connection between humans and plants and what it means to live in good relationship with our vegetal kin?
Join scholar and professor Keith Williams in a conversation about plants as relatives, partners, and co-creators with moderator Laura Pustarfi, board member of The Plant Initiative.
Our relationships with the vegetal world are typically informed by human exceptionalism and colonial extractivism animated by the flows of global capital. This conversation explores an alternative perspective that figures plants, fungi, and other relatives as partners and co-creators rather than resources to be exploited.
As part of the discussion, Keith will draw on Indigenous philosophy and post-humanism to offer a different way of being with our planty kin featuring examples from his personal experiences with gardening, wild food gathering, and with sacred plant medicines.
There will be time for questions from the audience following the discussion. This free program will be livestreamed with a link to be sent to participants before the event and will also be recorded and available for viewing online afterwards.
Keith Williams is an assistant professor (educational studies) at Athabasca University. His work focuses on better understanding how to be good relations with our more-than-human kin.
Keith draws heavily on Haudenosaunee teachings (part of his paternal lineage is from a Mohawk community on the shores of Lake Ontario), posthuman philosophy, and his lived experience with family members—human and otherwise.
Keith has an undergraduate degree in plant science, a master’s in mycology, and a Ph.D. in educational studies with a focus on Indigenous ways of knowing and being.
Each month, The Plant Initiative sends out an e-mail newsletter to provide timely information and resources about improving the plant-human connection as well as to keep you up to date on our work.
Here's the link to the February 2024 e-newsletter which was sent on February 15, 2024.
To subscribe to the e-newsletter, just visit our home page and enter your e-mail address on the form on that page. If you have a suggestion for a resource, event, or other item that may be of interest to subscribers, please consider sharing it with us at email@example.com.
A December 2023 Plant Initiative report Toward a Plant Advocacy Movement is available now for download. This report presents reasons why a plant advocacy movement is timely, outlines challenges that such a movement would face, considers what can be learned from the animal advocacy movement, and suggests potential approaches that could be useful for operationalizing a plant advocacy movement. Access it free here.
This new free Hylo networking tool is a special interactive web site set up for those interested in the human-plant connection supported by The Plant Initiative and Networking with Plants in the Anthropocene. It's a space for sharing active research, collaborations, art, and any forms of humans and plant relations. Use this page to collaborate, share, and to connect with others interested in thoughtful ways of relating to plants.
Visitors to The Plant Initiative's web site are especially invited to join this online community!
The Plant Initiative is posting podcast episodes on our YouTube channel.
Our third episode, posted on October 13, 2023, features a wonderful conversation with Mari Margil of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights and Plant Initiative board member Sue Fager about the Rights of Nature.
These grants totaling $6,500 were provided in October 2023 to organizations working to increase respect for plants, encourage ethical behavior toward plants, and/or to support development of an effective movement toward these goals.
Grants of $500 each were provided to:
Center for Biological Diversity (Tucson, AZ) to support the Center's efforts to protect Florida’s endangered ghost orchids, which are being rapidly wiped out due to habitat loss, poaching, and a changing climate, with the grant supporting litigation and advocacy for this plant and the swamp ecosystems where it lives.
Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (Spokane, WA) to support the Center’s work with Tribal Bands in Minnesota to protect the Rights of Nature, including the rights of manoomin (wild rice), by contracting with an Ojibwe attorney who will conduct legal research and legislative drafting involving the White Earth Band and other Tribal Bands.
Earth Law Center (Durango, CO) to create a model law concerning the rights of culturally significant plant species, which would be uploaded to the Earth Law Portal hub, including draft model text that can serve as a starting point for any community, NGO, or government looking to recognize the rights of plant species.
Fungi Foundation (Brooklyn, NY) to facilitate the Foundation’s participation in the 2023 More Than Human Rights (MOTH) Conference in Chile through covering essential travel and accommodation expenses, which will help to foster more profound integration of fungal conservation into the broader Rights of Nature movement, as well as to amplify awareness and advocacy for the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plants thereby strengthening the nexus between fungi and plant advocacy.
Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (San Francisco, CA) to support GARN's work to protect the Amazonia Shihuahuaco tree in Peru, which faces imminent extinction, with GARN’s International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature raising the alert for violation of the rights of this tree and calling for the Peruvian government to update the CITES list so that its timber extraction can be regulated or prohibited.
The Kerulos Center for Nonviolence (Jacksonville, OR) to promote respect for plants through developing a four-part webinar tentatively entitled Plant Voices: Guides to Understanding Nonviolent Living which would be scheduled for 2024, as well as creating a short educational video illustrating how vegans can put respect for plant agency and sovereignty into practice in everyday living and activism.
The Land Institute (Salina, KS) to support the Institute's foundational work in perennial grain crop research and education, which furthers the transition to diverse, polyculture cropping systems that hold the potential to bring grain crop agriculture to a level of ecological function on par with native grasslands and other natural ecosystems, sustaining human and plant needs within an ecospheric context.
Native Seeds/SEARCH (Tucson, AZ) to support the distribution of free packets of rare and endangered native crop seed varieties to Indigenous individuals and families living in or belonging to tribes from the US Southwest Region and/or northwest Mexico through the Native American Seed Request Program, which helps to conserve and promote the arid-adapted crop diversity of the Southwest in support of sustainable farming and food security.
Old-Growth Forest Network (Easton, MD) to help support the creation of a Choices in Forest Management guide, which will educate forest owners on the different forest management practices they can prescribe to their woodlands, including describing management options that quality a forest for recognition in the Old-Growth Forest Network, with the grant helping to support costs of researching, designing, editing and printing the guide.
Re:wild (Austin, TX) to protect Jamaica’s critically endangered Grey Birch of which there are believed to be fewer than 50 individuals left, with the grant helping to support costs associated with mapping and recording the locations of the trees, contributing to the ultimate goal of developing a species conservation action plan with local stakeholders.
Seacology (Berkeley, CA) in support of Seacology's seagrass project on Sucia Island in Washington State, which aims to replant .12 acres of native eelgrass while including Indigenous youth in eelgrass education and long-term restoration, with the funds helping to cover the expense of collecting seeds and storing them over the winter.
WildEarth Guardians (Santa Fe, NM) in support of WildEarth Guardians' Forest Fungi campaign that is working to bring forward the importance of mycorrhizae in forest resiliency, and ensure that the US Forest Service adopts policies and practices that restore and protect the mutualistic associations of fungal species in forest ecosystems.
The WILD Foundation (Boulder, CO) to help provide permaculture planning and implementation support to the 15 communities living within the Yawanawa Indigenous territory in the state of Acre, Brazil, with the grant specifically covering the cost of a permaculture expert and plan with one of the communities, which can lead to increased protection of the rainforest as Yawanawa communities actively participate in traditional, sustainable cultivation practices.
With your support, The Plant Initiative plans to continue to provide grants in 2024 to organizations working on behalf of plants!
2022 saw continued progress for The Plant Initiative – our second full year! We are pleased to share our annual report with you and hope that you will find it of interest. With your support and encouragement, we have taken real steps toward our mission of building a movement to increase respect for plants. The Initiative seeks to accomplish this through advocacy, collaboration and partnerships, and education and outreach.
Learn more about our work by reading or downloading the report here or by clicking on the report cover,
The Plant initiative is pleased to be included as a Friend of the Journal by The Ecological Citizen, a peer-reviewed free-access online journal that is working for an ecological civilization. Issues are published twice a year and are full of articles promoting respectful relationship with all of Earth's diverse beings.