Report | 1999

Tale of Two Botanies

By Amory Lovins

In this paper given at the World Botanical Congress in 1999, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins describe their concept of the two botanies.” The first botany has been shapped by billions of years of evolution. The second botany comes from recent advances in genetic engineering. Modifications in genetic make-up contradict whole systems by “isolating complex wholes to simple parts.” Transgenetic manipulation is worrisome for many reasons. The writers argue that we are incapable of understanding the consequences of these significant manipulations that have been developing for so long. They advocate for seeing “beyond molecules and genes to plants, and beyond plants to ecosystems.” They argue that it is the botanist’s responsibility to help us understand the biology and biotechnology.”