Shirley Heritage Project – Autumn 2012 Public History Talk #1
“Plants that affect our lives”
Speaker: Celia Cox
Celia’s presentation on plants that affect our lives was very thought‑provoking, starting with the question “How many plants do you think you might have touched in the first 10 minutes of this morning?” It certainly makes you think beyond the norm when you consider the furnishings around the house, the soap, the toothpaste, the cosmetics, the pyjamas taken off, the clothes put on our skin. Then we get onto that first morning cup of tea or coffee (plant pictured), the chair we sat in to drink it, and the list of plants around us goes on. The audience soon realised how much we take plants for granted and actually how we don’t even realise that we’re using something that is plant‑derived.
Celia’s combined experience of a medical career (veterinary) and an MSc in Botany brings a wealth of knowledge with regards to the medicinal properties of and active ingredients in plants – knowledge lost in most of us these days. Issues of:
- “Whose knowledge counts?”
- “Traditional vs pharmaceutical medications”
- “Understanding of ecosystems and plant cycles”
- “Cash crops/mono‑cropping and the wider implications for economies, rural communities, and the environment”
were just a few of the many topics touched upon in this fascinating talk, which was worthy of any natural resource‑based studies or environmental/development studies‑based degree course.