Fake news, real news, or just bad news: Our planet is experiencing extremes in climate.

Flooded streets and backyards. Paradise devastated. Years of drought in places that used to produce food for millions. Dead trees for miles, victims of beetles and blights that thrive as our sensitive planet warms by less than two degrees Fahrenheit. Ticks all year round. Disappearing species (unfortunately, ticks aren’t one of them).

Some call it climate change. Is all this change natural or a result of greed and apathy or simply our day-to-day way of life? Or worse, is it the result of the desperation of human beings searching for a source of income so their families can survive another day? Whatever the answer, by now we know human activity contributes to the increasing frequency of these climate events.

The varied faces of animals stir our emotions with their beauty and struggle to stay alive on an increasingly hostile planet. We always think of animals as the only living things. But plants are just as important to Earth as animals. Plants are alive too.

Trees and rainforests act like the Earth’s lungs.

Plants “breathe” for our planet by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, filtering toxins from the air, and lowering air temperature to keep toxins from evaporating back out. Think of majestic firs. Or the camel thorn tree in Africa that hosts an entire ecosystem in its leaves, trunk and roots. Or acres of algae floating on the seas. All plants, big and small, provide a cleansing breath to our planet.

Plants are an endangered species.

Each day corporations gobble up huge tracts of forests in North America and tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Africa. They lay the ground bare and destroy trees that are older than any human; some are centuries old. Think of the centuries of human history those trees lived through! Corporations justify destruction of old growth or tropical forests by telling us they are creating jobs, or that farmland is being opened for agriculture, or that minerals are being extracted for digital industries.

The fact is simple: We are destroying the Earth. The atmosphere is no longer cleansed. Soil washes into the sea or blows away on the wind without roots to hold it, and new deserts are created where nothing can live.

When do we start acknowledging these losses in time to save ourselves and Earth from asphyxiation, thirst, and starvation? When do we stop destroying ancient beings, our life-giving forests?

Earth is our home.

Earth sustains life, and plants are alive. That last bunch of tulips you brought into the house – did you notice how they kept turning and stretching to face the sunlight? Watch them next time and you’ll see how they move and grow, even though they are just sitting in water. Amazing!

Simple fact: Plants give their lives to feed livestock, and us. When we eat a steak, or guacamole and tortilla chips, or a bowl of penne vodka, and drink beer, wine or a Margarita, we’re eating plants, delicious and healthy (well, maybe not the tequila). Food comes directly from plants. Avocados, cilantro, garlic, corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions, grains, parsley, grapes, lime, agave, even sugar.

People need plants.

Whether for food or for the environment, we need plants to keep the Earth alive. What’s more important than preserving the Earth? Money? Fame? Without the Earth, we have nothing.

We owe our lives to plants, and they don’t ask for much in return. Just that we respect the Earth and every living thing, and respect each other. That shouldn’t be a lot for humanity to do.

Give a little each day.

Maybe the plants are more evolved than we are, but I’m convinced we can learn to live like plants. All we need to do is give a little each day. To our planet. To another person. To that pretty little plant you put on your desk to keep you company at work.

Some clean water and food, a gentle word, and a little love may keep all of us alive another day.