Plants are not passive, senseless objects. They use the language of fragrances to communicate above and below ground and engage in lively relationships with their environment and peers. Not only do they support relatives, harass strangers, make alliances, they also learn from experience and remember past events. Underground they form extensive root and fungal networks to exchange nutrients and information – an internet of plant communities of unimaginable size. What are the consequences of re-imaging the rights of plants? Do they deserve more respect? A recent amendment to the Swiss Constitution asserts that plants have “dignity”. Is dignity for plants an absurd concept? Florianne Koechlin thinks not.
Florianne Koechlin holds a degree in Chemistry (Middlebury College USA) and a degree in Biology and Chemistry education (University of Basel). She is the founder and current Managing Director of the Blueridge Institute, in Muenchenstein, Switzerland. She is a co-founder of the Swiss Working Group on Genetic Engineering (SAG), the Basel Appeals against Genetic Engineering and GENET; serves on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Future Farming and Swissaid; and is an Advisory Board member for the Swisscanto-Greeninvest.