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The Max Planck Institute has figured out how wild wheat seeds dig themselves into the ground. wheat seed planting itself Image: Here's how they summarize the process: The awns of the wild wheat are both steering mechanism and engine at the same time. They guide a ripe grain to the earth with the pointed end downwards by providing it with the correct balance as it falls. Once the grain is sticking in the earth, the two bristles transform themselves into a drill and drive the grain into the tilth. This action is powered solely by the air which in the habitat of the wild wheat plant is dry during the day and damp during the night. . . . During the day when it is dry, the two awns bend outwards; in the dampness of the night, they bend towards each other. Here's their explanation of the image above: I. The seed and part of the awn in the soil (the red arrow is pointing to a silica hair). II. When humidity rises during the night [nacht], the awns become erect and push the grain into the soil, because the hairs prevent any movement out of the soil. III. As the airs dries the next day [tag], the awns bend apart again. This tensions the drill that will push the seed further into the ground during the following night. Read the whole story . It's facinating! These are wild weed seeds, mind you. Cardizem 120mg pills $167.00 as the institute press release notes, "domesticated wheat has lost the ability to perform this trick. " Like Joni sang, "Don't it always seem to go, don't know what you've got till it's gone?" In the "Flower Power" section of my chapter "Stomping with the [cardizem 120mg pills $167.00] elephants: Feminist principles for radical solidarity" in the anthology (AK Press), I write about how we've altered the atmospheric conditions for the mysterious process of transubstantiation by which plants convert sunlight into food for us all: Photosynthesis requires light, water, and carbon dioxide in proper proportions. . . . Around the world, people have distorted and destroyed plant habitats by pumping, flooding, depleting, and tainting water; by cutting, burning, uprooting, and transplanting shade trees; and by poisoning the air that the plants need to breathe. At the same time, our collective folly has interfered with the global atmosphere. We have torn the protective cardizem 120mg pills $167.00 mantle of the ozone layer, exposing the plants that sustain us to increased levels of the kind of ultraviolet light that can interfere with photosynthesis. Meanwhile, human activities such as burning fossil fuel have radically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The resulting climate changes will surely alter growing conditions such as temperature as well as availability of water. We don't know what impact the ever-increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the air that we share will have on plant photosynthesis and photorespiration or, in turn, what impact that will have on the availability of oxygen for the animals of the world. Of course, those animals include us. And yet, rather than becoming more cautious, scientists are becoming ever more reckless in their approach to plant biology. Again quoting from that chapter: Like the spark of life itself, the energic exchange at the heart of photosynthesis cannot be faked or even fully explained. . . . Common sense dictates that life-or-death mysteries be approached with hesitation and respect but some scientists are confronting the carbon dioxide conundrum not with more caution but with ever greater recklessness. Even though we don't really know how or why plants balance photosynthesis (in which they consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen) and photorespiration (in which they consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide), some scientists intend to tamper with plants' genes to reduce photorespiration. Thanks to the promiscuity of pollen, both food crops and wild plants already have been contaminated by the genes of plants engineered to resist pesticides and it's possible that the genes of plants engineered to produce pharmaceutical or industrial chemicals also have gone astray. Imagine what could happen if genes engineered to interfere with the mechanics of photosynthesis were to cross into wild plant populations. Clearly, we need to quit violating plants and start learning from them: Plants and other animals appear better able than we to perceive and respond to each other's needs in a mutually gratifying manner. Countless animal pollinators and seed distributors help to propagate the plants that feed them without, apparently, feeling the need to claim credit for the process or to assert ownership of the resulting seedlings. For their part, plants have managed to feed themselves and the rest of us despite all manner of impediments imposed by people. Plants are not passive cardizem 120mg pills $167.00, however inert they may seem to the human eye. Probing, probing, probing into the ground, roots seek out resources, break through barriers, and share information with other plants. Reaching, reaching, reaching toward the light, limbs and vines position leaves so that they can do what we all need them to do: transubstantiate light into food. While we do not now and may never know anything about plant intentionality, we do know that plants are, indeed, actively responding to pesticides, genetic modification, and other assaults on their bodies. . . . Are plants that participate in happy mutualisms with insects, fungi, or other plants cooperating with other beings? Are the "super weeds" that have evolved in response to pesticides trying to tell us something? In the end, what we think we know about such questions is irrelevant. We can and should learn from what plants are doing, taking guidance from the measures they have taken to preserve themselves and their ecosystems. Even if we don't know what the trees are "thinking, " we can still follow their lead. Also in that chapter, I urge us to be true allies to animals who liberate themselves and offer an ecofeminist critique of property and defense of direct action. Pick up the anthology, or ask your local library to order it, if you have a chance. I'm not saying that out of self-interest (anthology contributors don't make money from book sales). It's a remarkable collection of more than 45 contributions by a truly diverse array of scholars and activists.


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