PAD and BAD and Nature Deficit Disorder

Plant blindness is ableist - the new term is PAD
Plant Awareness Disparity

Broadening that to BAD - planting trees is not a silver bullet
Biome Awareness Disparity
Plant trees, they said. Traps carbon (but grassland roots and the ocean are both more effective, if allowed to)


Honestly, I don’t like the trend of converting everything into acronyms. They get in the way of scientists communicating with the general public. I get the reasoning why people don’t want to see the term “blindness” used any more in this context, but it is a word that pretty much everyone understood without much explanation necessary. You talk about PAD, first you have to explain “oh, it’s an acronym for Plant Awareness Disparity” and then most likely you have to go on to explain yet again what the heck that is supposed to mean. Also, because medicine/psychology love to use acronyms as well, the D suggests a disease or disorder or deficit of some sort. I’ve already seen some mix-ups of all those terms because folks can’t remember what exactly PAD stands for. “Plant Awareness Deficit” - “Plant Attention Disorder” - etc.


It’s peripheral artery disease to me.
I am tired of alphabet soup and so many thinking that by doing so they are smarter or something. I am tired of decoding letters instead of words in written communication including texting and other “computer based communication “.
So, with that, “ttyl”.


Re PAD: We appreciate the movement to a description that allows for change! “Blindness” may not be a disability or condition one expects will improve or heal. It sounds permanent. That a grammar tutorial was necessary to explain how to use the new term reveals a limitation.

What if it had been changed to Plant Obliviousness? Webster had this as a definition for oblivious: “lacking active conscious knowledge or awareness.”

Re BAD: the bias toward reforestation to the exclusion of grassland restoration sounds important to recognize. Maybe creating an acronym for the phenomenon is less attractive as a focus for restoring/conserving grasslands.

We may need to create an acronym to help us slow the dramatic overuse of acronyms.


Some might consider my obliviousness about many things to be a permanent condition and I probably couldn’t refute that.


Why not just Plant Ignorance/Nature Ignorance


Why not Plant Unawareness? I feel that “person X is demonstrating disparity” doesn’t sound like a good phrase despite what the article says.


from the linked site about PAD:

It is not a character flaw. It is simply a side effect of humanity’s incredible ability to survive.

The sooner we stop naming conditions and fixing acronyms for every nuance of human behaviour, the better.


It is interesting that you are all reacting to the acronym issue.

I was more interested in their research. We are restoring lowland fynbos at Tokai where there was a pine plantation. Colonial influence from the Northern hemisphere with their forests still today makes people ask to Plant More TREES.

‘We’ don’t see plants, and if we do, only if they are trees.

I know that @annkatrinrose is a botanist among the people on this thread - she is certainly not unaware of plants, including not trees.


Yes, plant unawareness is much better. Like the term “situational awareness” which is behavior that should be cultivated in young people (or all of us) who don’t pay attention to what might be important or threatening in their immediate environment. Plant unawareness is just a somewhat narrow flipside to situational awareness. We should cultivate plant awareness.


Yes! Cultivate plants awareness,indeed!
We need to start educating our children about botany. I believe we are doing better, I hear more about growing food at school, which is a start. There are wonderful educational materials available to youth groups, but sometimes the problem is getting adults to lead. So many groups seem to be petering out, and that is due to the adults. We all seem to be too busy to volunteer to lead them and we shouldn’t shrug it off to public school.
And I was unaware of what was growing in my “swamp” when I moved here. I thought of it as “ the wall of green”. Thanks to Seek and iNat I know who’s out there.

Michigan is in the process to name Manoomin (Zizania palustris) aka “ Michigan wild rice” as our official native grain. Hopefully it adds awareness and more will be replanted.


It’s always more effective to frame a desired outcome as something positive rather than negative. Rather than identify plant unawareness as PAD, which sounds like a medical syndrome no one would want and could generate annoyance among those who have been “diagnosed”, simply promote better awareness of plants to those who might never have thought about them much.


I find these cumbersome verbal constructions annoying, rather like the newly popular “unputdownable” in book reviews. I think the term “plant blindness” conveys meaning concisely, effectively, and may not insult the people actually dealing with blindness. (If I do loose my vision, how will I feel about people scrambling to talk about this important reality without actually saying the word “blind”? Annoyed, probably, especially because I’ll feel that I should respond politely, as my wife says I should to the young waitresses/waiters who ask, “Are we ready to order?” as if they’re going to order, too.) Searching for acceptable euphemisms makes me think of the times people call me “young lady,” which indicates not only that I’m old but that being old is a bad thing, something that shouldn’t be talked about. (They’re a bit optimistic about the “lady” part, too, but that’s beside the point.)

Yes, I’m an opinionated old woman – and don’t you dare ask me, “How are we feeling today?”!


We get constantly led astray whenever we try to discuss what may be deemed as shortcomings and trip and stumble before we say something that will offend someone else.
I am a disabled senior female and actually those seem to be badges of honor.
I think all of this thread is supposed to address how to educate people on all surrounding life forms. But honestly it got tangled up with words.


But despite the tangled words, it is good to see so many of you clicking thru to the links.

The researcher in the first link - The type of research that I do is actually called discipline based education research (or DBER) because I have training in a specific discipline (biology/botany) and now I do education research within that discipline.

And the second - forest restoration initiatives will continue to forestall action to conserve the biodiversity, climate mitigation potential and human livelihood benefits of open biomes.


I don’t have much interest in plants, partly because my Botany prof (on a video, way back in the late 1970’s). I wouldn’t say I’m plant blind - they are just not my thing. I do notice how they change over a summer, but not enough to REALLY want to learn about them. I also have little interest in sea life, especially since I live nowhere near a sea. I do like plants, and much prefer wild to lawns. I also dislike labels, except when necessary. The DSM IV describes schizophrenia in detail, which can be a major mental illness with treatment. It also includes stuttering, which I have, but is not an illness. I’ve lived my life fine with it, but it’s not a label I want to be known by. I’m coming to conclude that everything is complicated - Just planting trees is not enough. Restoring ecosystems is a much better route.


I admit on first reading I didn’t have time to click the second link. Very interesting study. Fortunately, where I live (North Carolina) there is now a push towards prairie restoration. I’ve got a nice little patch going in my front yard that I only mow once a year now. It’s easy to do and I found it really ramped up insect diversity in my yard, and I even had some orchids pop up in my little meadow that I had never documented before. So if you have the space and opportunity to do this (e.g. not limited by city/HOA restrictions), I highly recommend giving it a try.


Nature Deficit Disorder sounds like it needs a prescription of Park Pass to go to any public park free!

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That’s not what NDD is though. I guess that’s another reason these names don’t really work, they don’t really accurately convey what they mean. Then again, the person who coined the term never intended it to be the medical diagnosis it has become.

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Places us exactly back to where I started. Tired of decoding everyone else’s alphabet soups. Real words work so much better.