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September 11, 2021

Lessons from Plants by Beronda L. Montgomery ~ an Audiobook Review

by Donna Huber

Beronda Montgomery is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University. She is a plant biologist whose research focuses on how photosynthetic organisms adapt to changes in light. Lessons from Plants is her first book.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free audiobook was provided for an honest review.

Lessons from Plants
September 2021; Dreamscape Media; 978-1666518856
audio (4h 8m); ebook, print; nonfiction

It has been more than 20 years since I've taken a plant biology course. I enjoy plants, and I thought plant knowledge would be useful in what I hoped to make a career of - designing animal habitats and enrichment opportunities for captive wildlife. But really I took the extra classes (only 1 was required) to keep from having to take microbiology or histology. In truth, I struggle to keep a plant alive.

As I like learning about all sorts of science, I thought this would be an interesting book as it proposed to relate the biology of plants to human societal issues.

I listened to the audiobook read by York Whitaker. It is a short audiobook - it's just over 4 hours and I was able to finish it in a day while doing household chores.

At first, it felt like a textbook was being read to me, though the level of biological information is similar to what you would encounter in a high school biology class. The first few "lessons" we could learn from plants didn't really into the application. It was more like plants have to balance limited resources, we have to do learn to balance resources too. But some of the later lessons went a bit more in-depth on how to apply it to our own circumstances.

I particularly liked the chapter about when plants don't thrive. As I mentioned earlier, plants don't usually thrive under my care. When a plant is struggling as the caretaker I usually try to figure out is it getting too much or too little water, does it need more or less sunlight, does it need to be fertilized. And when the plant eventually dies - I confirm that I don't have a green thumb. As Montgomery points out we rarely blame the plant for not thriving. Sure there could be a genetic mutation or something "wrong" with the plant, but that is definitely not our first consideration. However, with people, it is our first reaction to blame the person for failing to thrive instead of considering aspects of their environment or the skills of the "caretakers". 

I think this book would be really useful if you were preparing a presentation and were looking to nature for examples of solutions to human societal issues. It is definitely one of the more unique approaches I've read about looking to nature to understand and inform our own choices in the environment.

Buy Lessons from Plants at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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