You can get started with just stuff you have lying around at home and what you can find outside.
If anyone wants to learn how to get a great planted tank with minimal maintenance. I suggest Diana Walstad's book "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium". A beginner will easily get amazing success with this method (though it doesn't last forever and a year or two later this will start to break down).
For anyone who finds this article (slash podcast episode) interesting, I'd also recommend the episode on the Hollerith punch card, which is kinda relevant to the history of the computing field :)
Hollerith punch card episode page: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csz2x7
The article for this episode (i.e. same format as main link): https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50578234
>Ward's invention...let the light in. It kept the soot and smoke out.
How bad was the air back then, was it really so bad that a plant couldn't grow? That notion seems unbelievable.
We do this in China.
Other significant western plant hunters who were active in China: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Rock https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Forrest_(botanist)
Many were active in China's southwestern region of Yunnan, the origin of tea and camellias.
Shortly after the Industrial Revolution, society was inundated with all of the new incredibly unhealthy side effects of industrialization. People simply didn't know that those consequences were coming, what their scale would be, or how to handle them. Technology changes much faster than culture, laws, and infrastructure.
Today, we are inundated with disinformation, memes, and a horde of technology trying to take our attention away from our own control. It looks to me as unhealthy and unsustainable as a soot-covered 1850s London or a 1960s 747 packed full of smokers.
It's a scary time to be alive, but I have some optimism that we will figure out how to mitigate the negative consequences of the information world we've created, hopefully in time to deal with the next revolution that follows.
It could be absolutely dire in the cities. When every house and office is using coal in open fires for heating the consequences are fairly obvious.
According to https://ourworldindata.org/london-air-pollution London had nearly 600 micrograms per cubic metre of particulates in the early C19th. That came with similarly outrageous levels of Sulphur Dioxide, which dissolved in moisture to make it acidic.
Only especially hardy plants could cope with this. Hence the tendency for middle class families to grow aspidistra as a house plant ("keep the aspidistra flying" as George Orwell once wrote) - it was one of the few plants that would tolerate the pollution.
If you wanted to grow anything delicate you did it in a case or somewhere outside London.
While it's a contemporary financial centre, it was much more industrial; with coal-burning factories of all kinds, and shipping, the latterly diesel cranes at the docks were I believe in operation 24/7 for most of their lives.
Don't attack a field directly. Improve it by processes that help all participants.