Herbalism in the Space Age
Over the holidays, I was visiting family in New York. On the top of my list of museums to visit (I love museums) was the American Museum of Natural History. The featured exhibit was Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, which focuses on humanity’s next steps regarding space exploration, travel and colonization.
The event was fascinating. Whoopi Goldberg narrated the planetarium show, which stands out as some of the best science storytelling I’ve seen yet. I saw what plants dinosaurs ate, the Virgin Atlantic model planes for space tourism, models for lunar elevators, space station garden designs, the model for the space port currently in development in Las Cruces, NM, how we might deal with an asteroid, what to do when the sun burns out and the 1000-year plan for terraforming Mars into a second Earth.
I think the exhibit was so well done because it had a clear and important message:
Humanity’s at a crossroads.
We’re facing deep decisions about how we relate to Earth and space.
What are we going to do?
All of this means that we’re expanding the context in which we think, imagine and act. So, what does herbal practice mean in the era when humanity is considering questions such as: should we plan to leave Earth? What does the evolution of our race mean on a cosmic time scale? Where are we going as a species?
These are huge questions, and they require thoughtful consideration. So, how are we as herbalists contributing to this conversation? I think we should. Our context is changing and humanity is going into uncharted waters. What’s the bigger picture of our work?
In pondering these questions, I keep coming back to connection as the nexus and grounding value I hold in my work. Connection to human and ecological communities. Connection to life itself. It’s a big curiosity of mine right now.
As people who love plants, life & community, what’s our contribution to the many crossroads we face? I think we have an important perspective to add. And a responsibility to do so.