Strolling on a lawn, our eye looks for a foothold, and lingers on the few plants it can recognise: a yarrow flower, wild mint and sage, some gentians. Spots of known in a varied-shaded green sea of unknown shapes.
Those we can tell are the plants we use for their healing or nutritional properties, to make infusions, and for further therapeutical or dietary uses. But they represent a minority among the thousands that gather beside fields, along woods, and in clearings.
They are silent herbs that simply exist in that choir we call a meadow.
Not much we can say about these plants: not needing what we know about them, we haven’t produced stories or rituals concerning them. We commonly do not even know their names. But they are a continuously evolving expression of the vitality of the universe, and, even though useless to Man, they have their role in the ecosystem-ecological balance we are part of.
Man is used to getting in contact with Nature with a utilitarian and extractive approach: we value those things we need to survive, as if we were the only recipients.
In developing our ecological thinking, we should rather try to devise a less human-centred vision that allows us to look at the things of the world with the sole reason of their existence, hence to consider them from a different perspective than that of its possible uses. The things of this world have their own value which does not depend on their possible “human” use. The ecological value lies in recognising a relational existence meaning.