Plants keep the earth and (almost) all of its inhabitants alive by producing oxygen. Every plant in your garden contributes to the oxygen level in the air that we breathe.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.” Every plant in your veggie or flower garden also contributes to the oxygen production that we survive on. At the very least, the air we breathe is a little more oxygenated with every plant.
In addition, maintaining a garden is an ecosystem for local fauna, which contributes positively to life on this planet. It can be argued that without the balance of nature being maintained, life as we know it would cease to exist. (I’m sure this is referenced in a Star Trek episode or two.)
Our friend the toad, butterflies, soil microbes that aid in decomposition, birds and bees depend on the lifecycle of the garden in order to maintain their own existence. This is true for many species, but the gardener knows that the extinction of one of our best friends could lead to human extinction sooner than later.
If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man. ~ Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee, 1901
It may seem selfish to plant a pot of strawberries, but in fact, you would be doing your part to save the world. The plant is home to an entire universe of bacteria and bugs, leaves generate oxygen, flowers feed bees who we need to pollinate food crops which contribute to the oxygen we breathe. AND we get to eat fresh strawberries. Mind boggling isn’t it?