Dear Readers, 

This volume of Spiritual Botany comes at a very challenging time. Most of us around the world are currently in lockdown and getting used to this new way of life. This situation is particularly hard for children, whose life has suddenly come to a halt with no school, no playdates, no birthday parties, and no fun in the playground. Their parents must also now find new creative ideas to keep children occupied, keeping the stress at home in check. While I was planning the next volumes of Spiritual Botany, an interesting idea emerged. This lockdown period may be an opportunity for both parents and kids to explore and learn about nature, trees, forests, and express their thoughts in words, photos, paintings, poetry among many other forms of communication. This may also be a nice distraction for both parents and kids from the typical gloom and doom running ceaselessly on the TV these days. 

I must admit that I had little courage to approach the community at large for this pilot project and approached only those families whom I knew well. I am very grateful to all the parents who responded to my request and worked with the emerging scholars and artists in their family to deliver lovely contributions. I am also impressed with the vision these young minds displayed. It gives me enough confidence to invite a larger population in the future for forthcoming issues which will address other pressing environmental issues this world is facing today. 

For this volume, I suggested that children may write short stories or poems or express their thoughts in drawings and paintings on how they relate to plants, flowers, trees, and nature.  Considering that the attention span of children for a given task is short, about fifteen minutes, the entries I received were amazingly interesting. I hope you will enjoy these as much as I did. I am sure that these works of emerging scientists and artists will put a smile on the face of Dr Philip Gosling, Order of Canada, and his wife Susan Gosling. Together, Philip and Susan Gosling have pioneered many ground-breaking conservation projects to save plant biodiversity. 

In the words of Philip Gosling “There is still so much that needs to be done, and while we are currently witnessing the 6th major mass extinction of biodiversity, I encourage everyone young and old to not give up. We can despair about this, we can regard it as inevitable, or we can say: Let’s save what we can while we can” (Spiritual Botany: Field Notes, Issue 2) 

Volume 5 also has a featured article which gives glimpses into  East Indian traditions of social distancing and the section Plant Profile has an article on a very interesting Mayan plant “The lipstick tree”. Enjoy! 

As always, I look forward to your comments and contributions to Spiritual Botany. 

Praveen Saxena  

Editorial Team for Spiritual Botany Volume 5:

Devanshi Shukla

Shweta Dixit

Posted by Praveen Saxena