Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

Rediscover the plant

A scientific and ethical discourse

Organiser: Florianne Koechlin, Blueridge Institute, Switzerland

Florianne Koechlin: Plant Rights
Günter Altner: Ethical Discourse
Parichart Suwanbubbha: The plants in Buddhism
Razan Zuayter: The plants in Islam
Jürg Stöcklin: Scientific Discourse


Part 1: Scientific discourse

Input: Jürg Stöcklin, Associate Professor at the Botanic University, Basel
New scientific findings reveal: Plants communicate above and below ground, with the help of scents; they learn from experience and have a memory; they forage actively and flexibly – but in science they often still appear as living automatons with predetermined reactions. How we see plants, determines how we deal with them.

Part 2: Ethical discourse
Input: Günter Altner, emer. Prof biology and theology, Parichart Suwanbubbha Buddhist, Prof for comparative religions at the Mahidol Univ., Thailand and Razan Zuayter, President Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN), Jordan & Palestine
Today we acknowledge that at least higher animals have a dignity  which is to be respected. Animals are not longer things. But the discussion about the dignity of plants is miles away from this point. You can do everything to plants, without any ethical concerns. The 2 speakers will show why it is necessary to change this view of plants, from a Christian- Occidential  and from a Buddhist view.

Part 3: Possible Consequences
Input: Florianne Koechlin, biologis
Rediscovering the plant from a scientific and ethical perspective should lead to concrete consequences: How can the dignity of plants be respected? Do plants have rights ?
In Basel an interdisciplinary group of experts (farmers, biologists, philosophers, NGOactivists) developed  - provisional - thesis and rights. Presentation and discussion.

Goal  of the workshop is a deepening of the discussion of the new view of plants and first strategic thoughts about strategies for respecting the ‘dignity of plants’.

Your contribution on this subject

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Last Contributions

Background Papers and further reading

The Dignity of an Oak Leaf, Florianne Koechlin
Chapter from  “Cell Whispers.  Journeys through new realms of science", by Florianne Koechlin, 2005, Lenos Verlag, ISBN 3-85787-368-X
Informations (mostly in german):
Animals have an inherent value of their own, a soul perhaps or an “inner consciousness”. But what about plants?

The dignity of living beings with regard to plants, Moral consideration of plants for their own sake from the Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH)

Die Würde der Kreaturbei Pflanzen, Die moralische Berücksichtigung von Pflanzen um ihrer selbst willen von der Eidgenössischen Ethikkommission für die Biotechnologie im Ausserhumanbereich (EKAH)

Günter Altner's Beitrag zu diesem Workshop

Rediscover the plantÀ la redécouverte de la planteNeue Pflanzenbild-Anspruchsrechte der PflanzeRedescubrir las plantas: un discurso científico y ético

Local Organising Committee