Plants For People
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In a world dominated by technological change, it is easy to forget the importance of plants: they feed us, clothe us, clean us, protect us, cure us, transport and entertain us. Every day, plants play a fundamental role in our lives. Plants For People gives us a fascinating insight into the countless, often surprising, ways in which we use plants – from the woodpulp in our clothing and the soya in fast-food, to new medicines from daffodil bulbs (forAlzheimer’s disease), yew leaves and hazel nuts (for cancers), and the sunflower and rape seeds providing cleaner fuel for our cars.This book explains how plants support our lives in practical ways, but also gives examples of the heavy cost of much plant use to people and the environment. The book investigates the real environmental and human price of cotton clothing and household soap, alongside the use of tropical hardwoods and the spread of soya plantations, and considers how patenting is privatizing our most basic foods: including rice and maize. It looks, too, at how we are changing plants through genetic modification, reducing their diversity in the wild, and controlling their commercial production in increasingly globalized markets. The book also considers practical and ethical issues such as organic production, bio-piracy and the Fail-trade movement.Since its first publication over a decade ago, Plants For People has been hailed as a pioneering work of ethnobotany, and was fundamental to the thinking of the Eden Project. Now totally rewritten and updated, this classic book is available once again. Plants are essential to our lives, and yet the ways in which we are managing some of them is seriously harming people and environments worldwide. This is a book with a mission to help us save the diversity of plant life on earth and to treat as equals the millions of people whose knowledge and services support us every day.