Maybe this is a dumb thought, but you've got me picturing an art installation meant to make people feel angry about the poor treatment of a plant. What could you do to engender enough empathy for a single shrubbery (not nature in the abstract) that you could then set it against some act of cruelty or sadism and get a public reaction?
I obviously don't want to build something like that, because even writing it out made me feel like a psychopath...But where does the empathy people feel for plants begin and end? Is there a way to feel empathy for flora without personifying it?
These are just musings. Pay me no mind :)