Esrm the Botany of Desire

2021 words 9 pages
1/30/2011 The Botany of Desire | By Michael Pollan |

ESRM 100 | The Relationship Of Humans and Plants |

Review of The Botany of Desire – By Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan opens the book questioning the relationship of humans and nature. Who is the subject and who is the object? Who really is domesticating who? From a plant’s eye, he challenges the traditional relationship of human and nature and presents the argument that the four plants- Apples, Tulips, Marijuana and the Potato have shaped human evolution just like we shaped theirs. He calls it “co-evolution”. Nature plays a part in controlling us. It is what the plants know about our desires that made them grow, survive and spread around the world until
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He also brought to the reader’s attention the dangers of only favouring one specific type of fruit. When the book talked about how apple cultivars are artificially selected and grafted, Pollan put it in this way: “They can improve the apple in that way,” he’s supposed to have said,” but that is only a device of man, and it is wicked to cut up trees that way. The correct method is to select good seeds and plant them in good ground and God only can improve the apple”(Pollan, 15). Likewise in Chapter 4, the perfect potato is created to avoid another potato famine. "It begins early in the spring with a soil fumigant; to control nematodes and certain diseases in the soil, potato farmers douse their fields before planting with a chemical toxic enough to kill every trace of microbial life in the soil….. When the potato seedlings are six inches tall, a second herbicide is sprayed on the field to control weeds. (Pollan, 218). The natural pesticide is engineered into the genes of Monsanto’s NewLeaf potatoes to kill potato beetles. All these modified organisms, although providing solution to hunger, hold many negative effects on farmer’s rights, monoculture, and change to people’s lives, as people demand perfection in an imperfect world. This suggests that humans are making these natural plants much more vulnerable and quite possibly are eliminating the whole species. Not only that, humans should not only