Kew Bulletin

, Volume 65, Issue 4, pp 677–680

‘All netted together’: is there a need for cultural consilience in the face of extinction?



Professor Stephen Hopper has suggested that ‘possibly the most significant future challenge facing plant conservation is the achievement of a global shift in value systems towards acceptance of the old cultural wisdom that humans are part of, not separate from, nature’. Here I examine this challenge for contemporary humanity experiencing increasingly divergent ‘lifeworlds’ and ask if it is possible to be ‘all netted together’, and achieve cultural consilience in the face of increasing plant extinction. The first part of the article explores a hybrid approach to botanical education, where ‘border crossings’ between ‘Pokémon’ and plant-based inquiry might facilitate 21st century urban children to engage more intimately with the living world. The second part highlights how botanic gardens can facilitate expressions of lost botanical knowledge carried through human migration from rural to urban contexts. The article ends with a discussion intended to provoke interdisciplinary discourse between botanical science and botanical education, contextualised within the wider literature that examines the role of botanic gardens.

Key Words

Carnivorous plants education plant conservation Pokémon rural urban 

Copyright information

© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scientific Associate, Botany DepartmentNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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