|Why sell paper when you can sell the thing paper is made out of?|
Sorry for the crude intro but how else am I supposed to get your attention these days?
Today's tale comes from a student suggestion that was proposed as a part of a project for the Office of Campus Sustainability this past year. The project focused on trying to create more indoor green space on campus. The suggestion didn't really blow me away at first. It read, "Instead of having a poster sale every semester in the University Centre, we should have a plant sale."
I mean how could boring plants ever compete with sexy, sleek posters that are focus grouped, over designed, industry branded, and backed up with every marketing trick you can imagine? No brainer right? Exxxxxxcceeeeeept...
So there is the concept out there known as Nature Deficit Disorder. The idea boils down to this; if you are separated from nature you become depressed, anxious, and unable to function properly. As strange as this may seem, maybe it isn't actually that far off the mark. A lot of studies have observed the correlation between anxiety and proximity to nature. A while ago I had a conversation with some friends about 'your brain on Nature' and it kind of primed my mind to look for examples of people's connection to nature.
And then this past month one of my team members were putting together a 'living green' in residence guide and she also mentioned the idea of plants for students. And then I ran into a prof friend who also wanted to create a house plant sharing network on campus. And then I saw the plant sale recommendation again while riffling through some papers. And then I went over the see that giant Living Wall in the Social Sciences Building. And then I dug up an old report about putting plants in classrooms to reduce CO2. And then... it was at about this point that I started to think that whole plant sale idea was actually a stroke of genius.
Think of it this way, sure plants aren't as sexy as posters but that doesn't mean the two have to be in competition with one another, because let's face it, plants win hands down. They clean the air, they help reduce your anxiety levels, and they also tie a room together pretty nicely. Caring for plants tells you just as much about a person as the kind of posters they have on their walls. Are you a tropical plant kind of person, a cactus collector, or perhaps you're a vine lover.
So this is the proposal, have a plant sale on campus with tonnes of different kinds of plants, instructions on how to take care of them, and maybe a few nice accessories. I think the whole thing could be a hit with staff and students alike. The only problem is, I have no idea where to start. If you like this idea and you think you could help out, please get in contact with me.
~ jON - campus sustainability manager
photo credit - jonathan rausseo