In the chapter "Reciprocity" by Janine Benyus in ALL WE CAN SAVE, she tells the fascinating story of an ecologist in the early 1900s who was the first to demonstrate that "...plants were cooperators as well as competitors." This view lost favor, coinciding, "to the year, with the release of the Truman Doctrine and the onset of the Cold War. For decades, communism was a third rail best avoided, even when talking about plants." I love this statement by Benyus:
"But here is what I love about the scientific method. Though culture seeps into science and sometimes holds its finger on the scale, it cannot stop the relentless search for measurable truth. Un-American or not, the math has to work."
The symbiotic relationships between animals (mutualism, commensalism, parasitism) are widely known (and taught in 5th grade Life Science in Ohio). Scientists are beginning to understand the mutualistic relationships between plants, and they are finding a truth we need to remember as a human species:
"The more stressful the environment, the more likely you are to see plants working together to ensure mutual survival."
Let's use mutualism as our model moving forward -- for both our species and our planet.