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Frances Moore Lappé Interview with Jane Goodall

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At the 92nd Street Y, I got to interview Jane Goodall on stage about her new book Seeds of Hope. Honored to be asked, a bit anxious about my role, I started cramming well beforehand.

I expected Seeds of Hope to be "interesting." I didn't expect it to create a powerful shift inside me. But it did.

I began by jumping around in the book, mining for nuggets that I might incorporate into my questions for Jane. But I kept getting slowed down, caught by a thread that intrigued me, and then slowed down even more to scribble in margins and memorize what I wanted -- oh so badly -- to share.

Here is just a taste...

That plants communicate with each other through their root systems. Why didn't I know this? They can share information. When pea plants experience water shortage, they send a chemical message through their roots warning surrounding plants to begin preparing themselves to better withstand the drought. And they do. They help each other out.

Established trees serve as "mother trees" for surrounding youngsters; sending nutrients out through their roots -- and through thread-like fungi that cling to them -- to help the little ones get going. (So I guess I'd gotten it backwards. I'd assumed big trees would hog nutrients young-uns need.)

I found myself deep under the earth's surface imagining trees' intricately patterned messaging.        
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