NYC Wildflower Week — Xenophobic?

Don’t get me wrong — I’m keenly interested in native plants. I do think people should learn about indigenous species, and what our environment was like before industrial development. What I don’t like is an environmental movement that takes on biodiversity but not social diversity. Find a person of color on this website for “NYC Wildflower Week”: I couldn’t. On the site’s ‘Why Wildflowers?’ page, there’s a video on what you can do to preserve New York’s native plants. The nice lady says, “Gardeners can help out by planting natives in their backyards or their window boxes.” Well , howzabout the thousands of community gardeners? We garden a lot of land, and in a much more public way than an enclosed backyard or a high-up window box. This is particularly an issue these days because the discourse around native plants — natives vs. ‘invasive aliens’ — can feed an anti-immigrant sensibility. As the linked article by Michael Pollan points out, we need an approach to native plants that is cosmopolitan. And, I would say, accountable to the political ramifications of its preachings. Remember Arizona.

Slick website, though. Seems like the core of this group are creative advertising folks, a field not known for its diversity.


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