Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

RANCH MUSINGS: Forget dinosaurs; working to eliminate plant blindness

Decades ago, research showed that modern civilization is dangerously ignorant of plant life

A couple of decades ago, research showed that modern civilization is dangerously ignorant of plant life, even if we eat parts of them daily. This phenomenon has been called “plant blindness.”

We hear that one million plant and animal species are at risk. All of you who went to UBC will have seen the article that inspired this column from the fall edition of the “Trek” the UBC Alumni publication.

Too much attention is being paid only to the “at risk” big animal species like Rhinos. We have a fascination for dinosaurs and children probably know more about them than any plants that are at risk these days.

Connections with nature, some studies say, have beneficial effects on cognition and learning. As we lose these connections, we miss learning about the environment that supports our lives.

I think I grew up “plant blind” and that is not all. While I studied biology in high school and first year university, I was diverted into international relations and politics. Later at UBC I was fortunate to participate in an interdisciplinary seminar in ecology and for a few years.

READ MORE: Revolutions in agriculture need to be local

I had the inspiration of one of the world’s leading ecologists, Buzz Holling, who just passed away.

But I was really blind to the small critters in our soil.

For those of you who want to pursue more information on plant blindness check out the journal Plants, People, Planet.

But those big plants and animals are all we have to come to know. If we are blind to many of the living things we can see, what about the microscopic plants and animals in the soil. Millions exist right under our feet.

This leads me to the upcoming Soil Health Conference in the Cariboo in January.

Some local people have invested a lot of time on behalf of all those interested, especially farmers and ranchers.

Here are the details following. This conference was designed to bring in a world class expert and mix her with local experts or “knowledgeable persons” to get us on track to understanding this underworld below our fields and pastures.

With understanding and practical advice, we can move forward in our stewardship. This is the link to register: Or call Ang at 1-604-243-8357.

READ MORE: The big test and how do we prepare for it?

And here is the description of the courses designed for agriculture producers and other interested members of our communities … https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/bc-interior-soils-conference-building-soil-health-tickets-81077522051. The dates are January 16-17. Sign up today.

About the event featuring soils expert Kris Nichols:

• Regenerating Soils with Soil Biology: Soil regeneration is different from soil sustainability, which is maintaining a degraded resource.

Soil biological activity is key to regenerative processes. The types and roles of different microbial communities will be described.

• Principles and Production Practices to Regenerate Soils: The soil regeneration principles are universal while the tools vary across systems, and the particular tools relevant to the participants will be highlighted.

• Linkages between Soil Health and Human Health: The linkages between soil health and human health will be discussed to determine if how we grow our food changes food quality.

This will go beyond looking at a reduction in pesticides but will also discuss the importance of macro and micro-nutrients, as well as proteins, amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, polyphenolics, fatty acids and other vitality important biomolecules.

• Plus: Other guest speakers and producers panels.

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Esk’etemc First Nation (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins takes part in Secwepemc Health Caucus’s “Raising Our Spirits” ceremony Friday, Jan. 22. (Secwepemc Health Caucus Facebook image)
Secwepemc Nation raises spirits through song

More than 150 join virtual ceremony

Have you read any good books lately? (File Photo)
Editorial: Literacy matters

This week marks the Williams Lake Tribune’s annual edition of Reach a… Continue reading

Susan Hill with her dog Sadie enjoy a brisk walk this week at Scout Island where the lake is beginning to freeze over as overnight and daytime temperatures remain well below zero. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Overnight lows of -18C in the forecast for Williams Lake Friday

Colder temperatures will persist through the weekend and next week

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Most Read