Humans and PlantsHumans need plants. All animals do. Humanity's relationship with plants has actually made it possible for us to have a civilization. Before we had cities, humans went around in little packs and were hunter-gatherers. We ate rats, birds, berries, and whatever food we could find. It wasn't very efficient. One day someone had the bright idea to plant the plants we like to eat. When humans did that, they were able to stay in one place full time. Then came the cities and a huge system of agriculture to support millions of people.
Big Time FarmingAs time has passed, we have taken farming to new levels. We have manipulated species to create big apples and large ears of corn. The plants would never have done it in the wild. It took man to change the plants. We are also moving toward the genetic alteration of plants. We're trying to make plants that are resistant to disease and bugs. These stronger plants will allow our crops to give us more food from the same amount of space.
MedicinesOne of the good examples of plants giving medicine to man is an aloe plant. Inside the leaves of an aloe plant are compounds that soothe burns on our skin. Man also gets something called digitalis from plants. The truly exciting discoveries are in the future. Scientists are analyzing plants every day to find out if they have any compounds that can help humans survive and lead a better life.
And Places to LiveIf you live in a house, chances are it was made with wood or there is wood in the house. We have used wood to build our homes for thousands of years. Huge lumber companies grow entire forests to supply the amount of wood needed for our world. As buildings got larger, construction turned to concrete and steel. You will probably still find wood fixtures such as paneling inside these large steel buildings.
Extreme Green Biofuels (NASA Explorer School Video)