Moss balls banned

In February 2021 posted a message (PDF backup) on to request attention for the idea that plants are living creatures for which the concept ‘happiness’ may be applicable. The incentive for the post had been a news item about the discovery of moss balls that were moving in herds across the ice on the North Pole.

houzz forum post moss balls

moss balls north pole

Herds of moss balls mysteriously roam the North Pole together

Glacier mice (moss balls) live on the ice and move by rolling. Scientists recently discovered that they move in herds across the ice.

The moss is not propelled by a slope, the wind or the sun, but the group moves in sync.

The glacier moss balls move together across the ice. Bartholomaus compares this to a school of fish or a flock of birds.

Bartholomaus said he hopes future generations will one day “sort out these great mysteries.”

Source: Smithsonian Magazine (PDF backup) | (PDF backup)

In February 2021, a pet shop in Washington state sounded the alarm on a small mollusk found on a marimo moss ball. Shortly after, the banning of moss balls went viral on YouTube.

moss balls banned on YouTube february 2021

google moss ball ban

Moss balls as pet

Moss balls are kept as pet by people around the world.

A quote of advise with regard care for a moss ball:

Waterlogged moss balls move up and down the fish tank. Remember, it’s a living organism and responds to environmental cues. We suggest you do your research to provide adequate care and also choose a place in your home before you actually make the purchase.

The movement of the moss balls across the ice on the North Pole is also an indication of intelligence:

“The whole colony of moss balls, this whole grouping, moves at about the same speeds and in the same directions,” Bartholomaus tells NPR. “Those speeds and directions can change over the course of weeks.”

He explains that herd of 30 moss balls that they observed first moved slowly southward before accelerating west, and then losing speed. The new data show that the moss balls don’t move randomly—but the researchers couldn’t yet deduce what’s driving them.

The glacier moss balls didn’t follow any pattern that the researchers checked. The moss wasn’t rolling down a slope, getting pushed by the wind, or following the sun.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine (PDF backup)
Moss balls moving around rocks

There are small and large balls that manage to maintain the same speeds. This includes rolling up-hill en around rocks and obstacles.

moss ball moving around rocks 600

plant brain

Plant intelligence

Recent scientific discoveries show that the root system of plants contains many neurotransmitters that are also present in the human brain, including dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and histamine.

The discoveries further indicate that the root system of plants can grow many billions of cells at the tips of the roots that function similarly to brain neurons. For some plants, it would result in a number of neurons that rival those of the human brain.

(2010) Recently surprising similarities between plant cells and neurons

(2014) New research on plant intelligence may forever change how you think about plants
How plants sense and react is still somewhat unknown. Plants have a system for sending electrical signals and even produce neurotransmitters, like dopamine, serotonin and other chemicals the human brain uses to send signals.

“We don’t know why they have them (neurochemicals), whether this was just conserved through evolution or if it performs some sort of information processing function. We don’t know. There’s a lot we don’t know,” Pollan says.
Source: (PDF backup)

(2015) Research Shows Plants Are Sentient
Not only do plants engage in neuron-like activity and movement, they make mathematical computations, see us and, like animals that act altruistically, show kindness toward their relatives.
Source: Good Nature Travel | The Society for Plant Neurobiology | The Society of Plant Signaling and Behavior

(2015) Plants signal stress like animals do: with neurotransmitters
Source: ZME Science

(2019) Plants ‘Scream’ in the Face of Stress
Source: Live Science (PDF backup)

(2017) Plants can see, hear and smell – and respond
Plants, according to professor Jack C Schultz, “are just very slow animals”.

This is not a misunderstanding of basic biology. Schultz is a professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and has spent four decades investigating the interactions between plants and insects. He knows his stuff.
Source: BBC (PDF backup)

(2019) Flowers are talking to animals—and humans are just starting to listen
Scientists increasingly believe that trees and plants communicate with each other, various living things, and the environment.
Source: Quartz (PDF backup)

Philosopher Michael Marder, a research professor at the University of the Basque Country, mentioned the following:

philosophy professor michael marderPhilosopher: Plants are sentient beings that should be treated with respect
His claim that a plant is a sentient “intelligent, social, complex being” has been contested by some biologists, but a stronger reaction has come from animal-rights activists and vegans who fear their cause is undermined by extending a duty of respect to plants.
Source: Irish Times (PDF backup) | Book: Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life

economist gmo eugenics nature synthetic biology

Eugenics on Nature (GMO)

The multi-trillion dollar synthetic biology revolution reduces plants and animals to meaningless lumps of matter that can be “done better” by a company.

A flawed idea (a dogma) – the idea that the facts of science are valid without philosophy or a belief in uniformitarianism – lays at the root of the synthetic biology revolution or “Eugenics on Nature”.

When it concerns a practice that profoundly disrupts the foundation of Nature and human life, it can be an argument that caution is required before the practice is started and that letting it ‘run dumb’ by companies with a short term profit motive is not responsible.

Reprogramming nature (synthetic biology) is extremely convoluted, having evolved with no intention or guidance.

Synthetic Biology in The Economist (Redesigning Life, April 6th, 2019)

The idea that plants and animals are meaningless lumps of matter is not plausible for diverse reasons.

If plants and animals are to posses of meaningful experience then they are to be considered meaningful within a context that can be denoted as ‘vitality of Nature’ or Nature’s bigger whole (Gaia Philosophy), of which the human is a part and of which the human intends to be a prosperous part.

pant philosophyFrom that perspective, a base level of respect (morality) may be essential for Nature to prosper.

Vitality of nature – the foundation of human life – is a motive to question the validity of Eugenics on Nature before it is practiced.

View Eugenics on Nature case