Sri Lankan Students Uncover the Importance of Plants
by Dr Anusha Seneviratne
Sri Lankan students based in the Foundation of Goodness’ (FOG) Sixteen Village Heartbeat Empowerment (VHE) Centres were introduced to the importance of plants to our planet’s ecosystems and human survival.
The students were first introduced to the concept of photosynthesis – the basic biochemical process performed by plants which underpins our atmosphere’s oxygen levels. They learnt about how the vast majority of animals on our planet, including ourselves, depend on this oxygen to live, through another important biochemical process – respiration – which we use to create energy to function.
The students then discussed how natural compounds released by plants, particularly in abundance in green spaces, can boost our immune system’s ability to fight disease, as well as the many of our medicines that are derived from plants. Students were then shown what can go wrong from the manufacture of medicines such as the release of pharmaceuticals into the environment from human and agricultural waste, which can be harmful to healthy humans and wildlife.
Finally thanks to educational material kindly provided by Diane Gabriel, students were introduced to the importance of seed banks in preserving our planet’s plant species as they are increasingly under threat due to issues such as deforestation and climate change.
To reinforce their learnings in a practical manner, they were given the opportunity to try forest bathing, a common meditative practice originating in Japan to maximise the health benefits of green spaces by reducing blood pressure for example. They were also introduced to creating their own nature journals by collecting natural specimens, and their knowledge was further reinforced during the FOGs regular tree planting and community activities such as beach clean-ups.
Written feedback from the students clearly demonstrates the students understand the important role plants play in our environment and for our health and survival.
See below for a full photo gallery from around all the FOG VHE Centres around Sri Lanka. Click the ‘i’ icon to read a caption for each photo, and translations of written feedback.
We would like to thank Diane Gabriel for kindly providing educational material about seed banks for the students to understand their importance. We would also like to thank the Foundation of Goodness for facilitating the provision of lessons to all their students around their VHE Centres in Sri Lanka and for sending us their photos and feedback, and we look forward to continuing our successful collaboration.