I am particularly inspired by ideas that are born out of the recognition of the vast intelligence in all life on the planet which humanity is continually co-evolving with.
The book "Botany of Desire - A Plant's-Eye View of the World" authored by Michael Pollan, and the movie based on the book, both point to the reality that there is much more intelligence embedded in the community of plants within which we live than most societies have ever imagined. Such thinking demonstrates the possibilities of the symbiotic relationship between plants and humans.
Gaia Herbs is a company which has moved far beyond this as a theory, they put these ideas into practice through the way that they cultivate and share the healing power of medicinal plants.
The Founder of Gaia Herbs Rick Scalzo wrote a free electronic book with Greg Cumberland called "Meetings and Awakenings - The Coevolution of Plants and People."
"Certain Species of hummingbirds have co-evolved bills for extracting nectar from flowers whose shape is uniquely suited to allow the hummingbird optimal access that assures the hummingbird departs with the plant's pollen and/or seeds. The same is true with certain milk thistles and butterflies with specially adapted mouthparts. The December 2009 National Geographic features and article showing in micrographic detail how individual pollen from flowering plants have adapted extensively and optimally to the morphologies of their animal carriers, the better to increase the odds of successful coupling between sperm and ovum. Many whole plant-extract phyto-chemistries, we will see, show significant bio-activity in animals in vivo, but purified or sythesized fractions of the same chemistries do not perform as well."
"But these relationships don not only happen over geologic time. They are happening right now in ways we can observe in cellular structures. As an explanatory framework, coherent coupling gets radical when we move to the cellular and genomic level -- where science is showing that the environment (via metabolism, among other exchanges), and even an organism's perception of the environment, can induce genetic adaptation and rewrite sections of DNA code. This moves us well beyond random mutation and natural selection guiding epigenesis. Int confers a far more profound evolutionary legacy and resilience on all species -- and perhaps uniquely to humanity, which is capable of perceiving and realizing our interactive nature in the biosphere. It also places a special responsibility on us to facilitate wellness and natural biodiversity among all species."
"Environmentally induced genetic change under coherent coupling means that sciences capable of characterizing genetic change due to metabolic interfacing can finally validate and authenticate why ancient nutritional protocols like the Okinawan or Mediterranean or Costa Rican diet and lifestyles tend to yield markedly higher longevity. Coherent coupling as an explanatory model can also move the medical sciences away from disease-driven single-vector investigations toward truly wellness-driven investigations explaining what appear to be the underlying genomic adaptations and adaptive proclivities that result in sustained vitality and greater longevity. Key to this whole framework is the notion that our DNA is some sense 'expects' to be perturbed by our environment and is able to "leap" adaptively when conditions are favorable -- like Atacama desert flora waiting for centuries for rain."
"In this way, environment and organism and DNA are constantly shaping and transforming each other to mutual benefit or, at least, to potential benefit to the most adaptive organisms undergoing environmental perturbation. So how do we maximize adaptivity to perturbation in the system?"
"We believe our co-evolutionary history of coherent coupling with nutritional and therapeutic plants, through metabolizing phyto-chemistry, shows us the way.... It's not a one-way street."