This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 11, 2009 - "We are saving plants to save ourselves" said Peter Raven. "In an age of global climate change, habitat destruction, population growth, increasing desire for consumption, and rotten technologies throughout the world, institutions like ours have a special responsibility."
"At no other point in history have plants been so important," agreed Stephen D. Hopper, director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. In a speech at Missouri Botanical Gardens, he equated the movement toward conservation and sustainability with major social transitions such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. Botanical gardens will play a major role in shaping the future, he believes.