“Adopt a Plant” and the importance of sustainability


Photocredit @gaels_gogreen on instagram

Planets were given out for students to connect with nature more personable.

Adara Johnson, Contributing Writer

Residential Assistant John Gardini hosted the program “Adopt a Plant” in McGrath Room in the LaPenta Student Union on March 3. 

The event was done in partnership with Gaels Go Green, the environmental sustainability group on campus, and the Deignan Institute for Earth and Spirit. The program was the perfect kickoff to the spring season!  

Gardini, who studies biology and religious studies, has developed a passion for environmental sustainability and wants to help other Iona students strengthen their connection to our planet. A class that especially sparked his interest in this topic was Professor Jim Robinson’s class RST 213: Religion and the Natural World. In that class, Gardini learned that the average American could identify about 100 corporate logos but not 10 plant species. He was disheartened by this information, believing that as human beings we have the ability to deeply connect with the rest of creation. However, many do not take advantage of that opportunity.  

“Whether you look at it from the perspective of evolutionary biology or from a spiritual and philosophical perspective, we humans are deeply connected to all other life on this planet,” Gardini said. “Today, we simply like to think that we are beyond this because of our intelligence, though how intelligent can we be if we find it acceptable to blindly exploit the resources of the earth and therefore disregard the preservation of the natural world that we simply wouldn’t be able to live without?”  

As a Brooklyn native, Gardini realizes that a lot of people are not at all familiarized with the concept of caring for plants. Most people have no idea where their food comes from or what it takes to get to their homes because of industrialization and urbanization. Yet, Gardini decided he wanted to do his part to close that gap by hosting “Adopt a Plant.”  

Each student who attended was given a plant and was then educated by the RA on the name and type of each one and how to properly care for it. Each plant came with a pot that students could paint and a name tag that they could personalize to truly feel connected to it. Along with the free plant, guests were given the opportunity to participate in a game of Kahoot that included questions related to sustainability.  

Gardini hopes by giving out plants and providing some information on them, he can help students make caring for a plant a part of their daily routine and inspire them to maybe start a garden of their own. At the very least, he wants students to do their part in preventing the destruction of the environment.   

“When thinking about protecting the environment, a lot of people tend to immediately jump to large-scale ideas and interventions,” Gardini said. “You’d be surprised how beneficial it can be to start working locally within your community in order to achieve great things!”   

If you’re interested in becoming more eco-friendly in your personal life or on campus, RST 213 is a fantastic way to learn more about the importance of practicing sustainable living, or you could get involved with Gaels Go Green.