Gereon Janzing, geobotánico y etnobotánico
Gereon Janzing, geobotánico y etnobotánico

Geobotanical Excursions

If you would like to enloy Ibiza's marvellous nature and to learn about plants and ecology on Ibiza, you'll be welcome to take part in my geobotanical excursions. I can show you plants in their habitats, speak about their tradicional and possible uses and their ecological roles, thanks to my university career, to my life in and with nature, to contacts with local people and to practical works, for example in organic agriculture. All that is necessary from your part is interest in nature and in Ibiza.

I read technical literature in Catalan and listen to lectures in Ibicencan. If you do not know Catalan, you cannot do that, still you can participate in my excursions and learn those things in English. My website http://www.geobotanicapityusa.es/ is in four languages: Catalan, Spanish, German and English. Of course, there are people who know Ibiza's vegetation better than me. I put it in a wider geographical and ecological context due to several exploring expeditions and my study; I already guided geobotanical excursions in charge of my university in Germany. It is true that my university career does not make me a better person, still it helps me to understand nature better.

Very aromatic: the headed thyme

We have had quite many beautiful excursions with good vibes among the participants. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the beautiful success of my excursions! In order that it stays that way and that you can enjoy beautiful walks, I'd like to clarify some things.

If you are interested in medicinal plants, that is what many people are after. I love to talk to elderly women to learn from their ancestral wisdom - witches if I am allowed to call them that with a lot of respect. I read books on the topic, not only in Catalan and about Ibiza, also for example in German and Russian to get a wider overview. I wrote for two magazines articles on hemp as a medicinal plant, mentioning its valuable properties and also its counterindications for a powerful plant is not a toy. I'm interested in any topic of self-sufficiency. I often use wild plants for eating or making teas. I sometimes drink rosemary tea to stimulate myself. I have a self-made lavender cushion to support my sleep. Since medicinal plants - just like commercial remedies - are for curing diseases and I have never had many diseases till now, I admit that I luckily don't have many experiences with them. On Ibiza it is common to speak of "healing" (often in English, even in Spanish sentences), I prefer to speak of conserving one's health. If you have got a health problem, of course, it is good to create a solution. Problems exist for being solved. It is clear that no plant, however good it is, can substitute a healthy lifestyle. So, if you have got little physical activity, sweat little, smoke a lot, moreover follow an imbalanced diet (boycott ecological agriculture and pasture economy) and swallow food supplements (an issue of big business), the solution does not lie in some miraculous little plant but in a change of your lifestyle. From such a perspective I want to say I am not really an expert in medicinal plants, still as a biologist I know something about the functioning of the human body and I hope in the case of health problems I can be empathetic to find the causes and possible remedies.

If you know something to contribute about uses (also medicinal ones), Ibicencan traditions, ancestral wisdom (which some elderly women guard), experiences of your own, whatever, great. Me too, I am fond of learning. However, I'm not very interested in the opinions of some ideologists who speak rudely about doctors (physicians), that soes not qualify for speaking about medicinal plants.

Children are welcome to my excursions, I only ask that the accomanying adults feel responsible.

If you want to bring your dog, it is convenient to make it clear in advance, in most cases it is possible. Keep it under control. If it is ill-educated, leave it at home; I´ve met dogs that molest cyclers, please no such dogs in my excursions. If your dog cannot stay quiet when seeing herds of goats and sheep, leave it at home. The major problem for herdspeople and their flocks are usually dogs.

If you smoke, it is your responsibility not to smoke in sensitive zones like forests and never to throw fagends into nature.

Of course, in ecology like in any other science we have got technical terms, which every ecologist understands but which might sound strange to others (like "logistic growth", "ecological vicariance", "cation-exchange capacity"). Don't let yourself be scared by the difficulties of our science, I'll try and explain myself in a way that the audience understands me. I only ask that you, if you have got no ecological schooling, please do not play the wise guy, do not insist in urban myths on ecology. Ecology is not based on opinions but on facts. Not everything is valid as many people on Ibiza believe.

We respect nature. We can take some plants for some use and I understand that this is a main interest for many people but we always respect the ecosystems without over-exploiting them. We respect the crop fields. We do not step on them. Also control your dog concerning that.

If you consider yourself a hippie, a child of Mother Earth, whatever, great. Please respect that not everyone of us is a hippie. And respect the agriculturalists and their works: The crops on the fields and the fruits on the trees are not ours. As for me, I'm very much of a hippie if that means practicing little consumerism and respecting nature, thanks to my schooling I even understand nature and her needs better. But I am anything but a hippie if that means disdaining society while taking advantage from it. I'm not a hippie either if that means to promote simple solutions for complex problems, like electric cars against the air pollution or an imbalanced diet against the climate change, for such level I am overqualified.

We respect Ibiza's traditions. We do not practice vandalism. If you follow a snobby diet, that is your personal matter. If you don't take milk and dairy products, still respect that Ibiza is an island with a great milk and cheese tradition. If you don't like that (galactophobia), go to Japan, not to Ibiza. If you don't eat meat, still respect that the slaughterings are necessary for Ibiza's economical and ecological balance. My ego is very vegetarian but I appreciate biodiversity, a good resource management and social life and therefore sometimes I overcome my ego. To the biodiversity there belong also the local livestock breeds; and to preserve them, it is necessary to eat them, like is commonly known on Ibiza.

Take into account that Ibiza owes many ecosystems of a great biodiversity to pasture grazing. I think it is suitable to say thanks to the herdspeople for caring for the countryside, every person with ecological interest should do that. Especially if we collect herbs in pasture ecosystems, for example thyme. And herdspeople have a lot of experience with nature, so we can learn from them.

Illa de sa Mesquida

The vast majority of the participants are usually respectful. Only once was there a group of people who boicotted pasture grazing: vegan snobs who behaved like the world was theirs, they were only interested in the use of plants, in exploiting nature, they did not want to know anything about the ecosystems, about the people who take care of nature, the people to whom we owe the presence of some plants. German people with no interest in Ibiza, some young women of whom I suspect that behind their deficitarian diet they hid an anorexia. Such egocentrism is not of my liking in my excursions. We are not alone in the world. My excursions are just for perceiving our surrounding. We make use of nature but we do not abuse her. Just that is the principle of organic agriculture: We take care of the Earth, we do not exploit it.

If you do not question consumerism as such, industrial mass-production and massive transport and packaging of food, but instead question one production branch in particular without differenciating, for example livestock keeping, that is your personal hobby and for my excursions as irrelevant as the information if you collect stamps or coins. However, if for that reason you close yourself towards information about Ibiza and its ecology, please ask yourself what it is you want to learn in my excursions.

Pityusian goat (cabra pitiüsa)

Nature has a lot to show us, let's listen to her joyfully!