Plants Can Be Funny, But the Benefits Are No Joke

The next big thing in technology is a really old thing: The Living Plant! Graphic: Courtesy GPGB

I never get tired of talking to people about the many benefits of plants and nature in the places we live, work, and play. But I admit it’s sometimes a challenge to figure out new ways to help people get the message!

The nonprofit organization Green Plants for Green Buildings has been thinking about this, too. My fellow board members and I put our heads together and we have something new to show you that I’m excited about.

Have you ever seen one of those technology product launch videos? Or maybe the demonstrations by Steve Jobs of new products for Apple? Some are pretty impressive, but they are nothing compared to our new video for a product “so far ahead of its time, and yet so familiar, intuitive and appealing – it’s a wonder we didn’t see it the whole time.”

Our new product: Plants!

“Rediscover The Future With The Living Plant™” uses humor to play off the on the tech product unveiling. The presenter dazzles the amazed audience with a plant for some laughs to make a point about the proven benefits of introducing nature via real plants into the workplace.

See the three minute video here.

We cite the research all the time, so by now you should know: buildings that contain plants and other natural elements will be more supportive of human well being and performance – what our tech presenter calls a “dead office.” Workers in office environments with natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight report a 15 percent improvement in their wellbeing, are six percent more productive and are 15 percent more creative.

There’s also a lot of research about the use of humor to help people learn and retain information. A Pew Research poll showed viewers of humorous news shows like The Daily Show have higher retention of facts than people who got their news from newspapers or cable TV news. When Stephen Colbert talks about politics, people hear it and remember.

Neuroscience research finds that our ability to learn better through humor has to do with the body’s chemistry. When we feel good – like when we laugh – the power hormone dopamine floods our brain. Cognitive studies show dopamine is important for both motivation and long-term memory. Educational research finds retention goes up when humor is used effectively – meaning that it’s age-relevant, inclusive, and lighthearted.

Scientists have 40 years of research on educational humor showing it strengthens human connections and is a helpful learning tool. So it was time to put humor to work for Mother Nature!

We know the many benefits of living plants. Time to marry the serious message of this infographic with serious humor. Graphic: Courtesy GPGB

GPGB worked with award-winning filmmaker Justin Bogardus, director and creator of the “Nature Rx” series of videos spoofing pharmaceutical ads which we have shared before. Justin created the TED Talk Tech spoof to communicate the aesthetic, wellbeing, and economic benefits of nature in the built environment. This includes offices, homes and just about anywhere people gather indoors.

GPGB hopes to replicate the success of the Nature Rx video series, which garnered over 40 million social media views to date and has been called “Best Drug Commercial You’ll Ever See” by Outside Magazine.

GPGB President Mike Senneff says, “We have seen other videos in our industry about the benefits of plants, everything from the NASA studies to infographics. They are all informative. But nobody really approached it as – let’s share the message, but let’s share it in a way that’s more memorable. If it gets out there and people enjoy viewing it, perhaps it can have a much broader reach than a simple informative video … We think our message can go further if it’s done in a humorous way.”

Bogardus agrees. “In telling a story through film/video, humor is a great connector and eye opener to new things, and also the undeniable truth of things. The same part of the brain that says “a-ha” is connected to the sense of surprise and delight we get from laughter and humor.

“For instance – everyone knows your office or commercial space, really any indoor space is way better with a bunch of plants. People are happier, people connect more easily, they’re healthier. It’s funny how easily we forget this and create these deadening blank lifeless interiors. The good and humorous news is – we can fix it with the amazing things folks are doing with plants and living walls now.”

Mike Lewis, Executive Vice President of Foliage Design Systems in Orlando, Florida, says he was motivated to fund the project to support its serious objectives. “The message about plants improving our living and working environments needs to get out … This video has the potential to do just that in a fun and creative way.”

Justin produced and filmed the video in front of a real TEDx audience live. “When you hear Steve Jobs or folks introducing new software, new apps, or new robots, the language and tropes they use are really hilarious,” points out Bogardus. “So yes, I parody these formats. I hope folks get some good laughs and remember, when it comes to the incredible benefits of The LivingPlant™ in the office or commercial space, we all sort of know this already.”

So I hope you got a laugh and laughed hard enough to share our video with other people who might need a laugh – and who might benefit from a dose of nature in their lives. Good Earth Plant Company can write up and fill the prescription with a healthy dose of plants to improve any place you spend time indoors. Give us a call at 858-576-9300 or email me at I will answer to Dr. Jim!