The UN has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health #IYPH2020. This is an exciting time for anyone who loves plants, works with plants or grows plants. A once in a lifetime opportunity to show-case the importance of plant health to feeding the world, protecting the environment and boosting the economy. Follow this link for more information https://www.ippc.int/en/iyph/about/

It is baffling that even though we get 80% of our food from plants, and almost 60% of all endangered species are plants, a lot of the world populace especially in urban areas is “plant blind”.  Yes, plant blind is actually a thing! Plant blind people are unable to see and notice plants and therefore are unaware of the benefits of plants in their lives (even though they are numerous). The relatively small amount of time dedicated by curricular to learning about plants does not help, neither does the largely vertebrate-centered lens through which humans view the world. We would like to turn that around!!  To commemorate this year, societies and organizations affiliated with plant health will be organizing local, regional and international events around the globe. Follow this link to find an event near you http://www.fao.org/plant-health-2020/events/en/

What can individuals do? Write an article in the local daily or school newspaper, volunteer at a local after school program to highlight plant based activities, present at a scientific conference, make a Pecha Kucha (pictorial, 6-minute presentations) to present to a non-science audience, have an outreach activity at a community event, highlight activities, articles and plant scientists on social media with the hashtag #IYPH2020, are a few suggestions to get one started. It would be wonderful if individuals came back to Plantae and let the community know what activities they have been involved in. Thank you in advance for your participation in commemorating the International Year of Plant Health.