31 May 2016
By Richard Deverell – Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew recently published the first annual report on the State of the World’s Plants, alongside an international science and policy symposium on the topic. Kew’s Director, Richard Deverell reflects on how it all began and why the work is so important.
Photo: Andre Dib
Why not plants?
Birds, amphibians, mammals have all been done – but not plants? Why?
This was the simple question posed by Mike McCarthy, a writer and journalist, when Kathy Willis (Kew’s Director of Science) and I met him at Kew Gardens two years ago.
That was when the seed that became ‘State of the World’s Plants’ was planted – and I think we all owe Mike a debt of gratitude for his simple but important observation.
There was an important gap, one that Kew, working with our partners, could fill.
As ever in science – and in life generally – it is just as important to know what you don’t know as much as to know what you do know.
Science progresses only by individuals with imagination and curiosity asking questions – and then doing the hard work to answer them. Continue reading