Subject line: The world still has wild beauty but also imagined landscapes.


Dear Friends and WS/C,

Don’t underestimate the power of the imagination. Whatever we want to bring to life must first be imagined. We can apply this to creating our future. Recognizing our failures is teaching us how we must proceed, maximizing our chances for success. As Henry David Thoreau said, If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost, that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.” There are better ways of living. It’s time to visualize, redesign, and take control of our future. It lives in us now.

In this issue of Plantings–

“If cognition is embodied, extended, embedded, enactive, and ecological, then what we call the mind is not in the brain.” What? Our brain is not the root of cognition? People like Professor Paco Calvo believe that plants are key to understanding how the human mind works. You won’t want to miss Amanda Gefter’s, What Plants Are Saying About Us.

In this installment of Viriditas: Musings on Magical Plants, Margaux Crump tells us about the stellar properties of Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), a drought and pest-resistant succulent that can really take the heat that climate change is dishing out. Purslane has been grown for over 4,000 years as a highly nutritious vegetable and important medical plant, but of late has become known primarily as a common weed. You’ll want to move this plant from the crack in the sidewalk to your garden. Harvest before flowering to enjoy its many benefits including its uses in salads, soups, and sauces.

From Jake Eshelman, our contributing editor of Ecological Thinking, are the words and photographs of Probiscis, Pollen, and the Rapture of Interspecies Intimacy, about the mechanisms and mutualisms of plant-pollinator relationships. It’s a reminder that pollination and ecological networks are all about survival. To that end, he offers resources and planting guides to make the most ecologically positive impact in support of all life.

As the effects of climate change reach every region of the planet and the world works to reduce carbon emissions, some of our worst affected areas are our cities. These urban metropolises are looking for new strategies to adapt to the rapidly changing climate. Many of these projects consist of nature-based solutions that work to improve the quality of life by cooling cities naturally. Greening the urban environment is not only effective in building resilience to more extreme weather conditions but also allows for the development of new ecosystems that could potentially improve cities in the long term, delivering health, environmental, and economic benefits. One of the cities leading the way is Milan. There is nothing like solving climate problems with brilliant Italian design. Read The Greening of Milan: Porta Nuova and Vertical Forest by Gayil Nalls.

As a crisp breeze embraces you be inspired to treat your family and friends to something delectable and unforgettable.For this month’s Eat More Plants we offer this easy and delicious recipe–the savory and sweet flavor of Fennel, Tomato, and Red Pepper Pasta Sauce from Le Botaniste, a 100% plant-based, certified organic, and Co2 Neutral Restaurant. Their motto is, “Let food be the medicine.” Le Bontaniste says, “For us, it’s more than just serving bowls — it’s about consciousness, wellness, and respect. It’s about changing our food habits for our bodies, our souls, and the planet. Our dishes nourish the body without starving the planet.

The October Nature Sketching Lesson is the last of the series. We hope the journey has inspired your flow of line, left an impression, and put you on the path to penetrating observations of nature. This month’s lesson is about capturing the larger pictorial vision of the landscape. We thank Liz Macklin for her beautiful artwork and hope you enjoy it. For your benefit, there will be a link to the complete eight-part series on the website.

In the podcast Overshooting Earth’s Boundaries: An Interview with Bill Rees, journalist Rachel Donald interviews the systems bio-ecologist and ecological economist. William Rees is also the originator of ecological footprint analysis, a tool that quantifies human demands on ecosystems and the extent of the ‘ecological overshoot.’ In this interview, Rees gives his views on the longevity of civilization.

At the UN Climate Summit on September 20, 2023, world leaders discussed how their countries will cut carbon emissions. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres told global leaders that, “We can still build a world of clear air, green jobs, and affordable clean power for all.” However, we all must do our part. Work with your family to see how you too can achieve net zero emissions. Remember that small life changes can have a big impact on cutting carbon. Commit as a family or support group, to one or two changes, then move to the next ones. Turn off the lights when out of the room. Take shorter showers. Bike or walk more often. Turn off computers and appliances when not in use. Move away from fossil fuel use as fast as possible. Consume less. Help each other live well and live sustainably.

4000 BC
Earliest surviving piece of fabric with indigo dye
was found in 2007 in Huaca Prieta, now Peru.
2600 BC
Indus Valley now India and Pakistan-Indigo
called nila, meaning dark blue.
2500 BC
Textiles pigmented using indigo plants
were discovered on an Egyptian mummy
600-500 BC
Babylonian tablet dye recipe. Indigo used in
Mesopotamia 2,700 years ago. At British Museum.
400 BC
Indigo used in textiles by
Greeks and Romans.