A Mouse's Tale

Random scurryings of a writer.

Review: Shades of Green

Shades of Green: The Clash of Agricultural Science and Environmental ScienceShades of Green: The Clash of Agricultural Science and Environmental Science by J.S. Kidd
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Given the title of the book Shades of Green: The Clash of Agricultural Science and Environmental Science, I assumed that this would focus on the heated debate between the companies involved in agriculture and the war with those who are concerned about the environmental effects of spraying, monoculture, and other such issues. This book was nothing of the sort.

For the most part, it was a collection of mini-essays written by the authors that stand to state that the agricultural sciences that have been used, including GMOs, are all based off from previously done practices. Somehow they argue that if people and nature practiced selective breeding for thousands of years than GMOs can be considered the next step in this natural sequence. That thought makes me want to vomit.

Arguments for GMOs aside, other areas of the book really got me fired up. On page 74 and 75 there is this little ditty of a paragraph:

“In the mid 1940s, near the end of World War II, cases of typhus ere reported in Naples, Italy. A powder form of DDT was applied directly to people’s bodies and clothing to kill the lice. DDT was credited with preventing an epidemic of typhus and saving thousands – perhaps millions – of lives. No aftereffects from this intense and extended exposure to pure DDT were ever reported.”

While there have been some studies shown to provide back-up to this comment (and that were conducted by scientists paid for by chemical companies and their lobby partners), Rachel Carson gives plenty of third party evidence in her book Silent Spring to prove other wise. The fact hat the authors of this book claim that there were no aftereffects is ridiculous as many of the aftereffects are not noticeable and tend to effect future generations.

Given that this paragraph came early on in the book, the authors lost credibility with me from that point on. Granted, they would have later anyhow when they began to argue that genetically modified food was going to save the population of the world from starvation when there are hundreds of thousands of food in the United States that goes to waste every year due to monoculture and the overabundance of production caused by these GMOs. The one concession that I will lend this book is that the title was creatively constructed enough to be misleading and gain additional readers.

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