Friday, January 11, 2008

January Bookclub

This month we're reading Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. Two chapters in, I really like it. I would so like to see this book get off the NPR talk show circuit and reach out to a broader audience. Kingsolver has a lot to say about the multinationals and the effect they're having on our food supply, and I think it's really worth hearing.

Since there's no plot, hence no worries about being a spoiler, I want to mention something that occurred to me when she was talking about genetically modified soybeans. This way you all won't have to listen to me going on about it when we actually meet, but I'll get it off my chest just the same.

The genetically modified soybean crops in Mexico are starving the monarch butterflies there. Why is this? The soybeans have been modified to resist weedkiller, as Kingsolver points out in her book. This means the soybean farmers can blanket the ground with pesticides, killing all nearby vegetation except their soy crops. Unfortunately the monarch species relies on milkweed at a crucial stage in their reproductive cycle, and the milkweed is killed by the pesticide. No milkweed, no monarchs.

This is why I try my very hardest to look for organic soy products. In an aside, I will say that most soy products I see come in such a highly processed form that I would be unlikely to buy them anyway. I'm starting more and more to like the idea of only buying food that has ten or less ingredients on the label. I don't mean to be all self-righteous and obnoxious, like the non-TV-watching bores (boors) that Zelda wrote about recently, but something that started out as a gut-level instinct seems to be turning out to be a step in what I see as the right direction, both personally and (God help me, I am insufferable) planet-wise.



Blogger Vivian said...

Although I obsorb information much better in writing, I think we'd all benefit from having the live discussion about soybeans and monarchs. There are many good points in the book, and like you, I'd love to see the general public take in some of the information.

-- from a self-righteous non-TV-watching bore :-)

9:39 AM  
Blogger zelda said...

There's nothing wrong with electing not to watch television...its the ones that go on and on about it. Oh, and the ones who wear the homemade "World's Greatest Person Ever" and "So Much Better Than You (and You)" medals. The jangling is very distracting. Especially when I'm at the library looking for DVDs of shows I've missed because I was busy watching other shows.

I'm into the book. I came to it in a very, "Oh great, more AlGorification of America" and there is a lot of that but there's also a lot that makes sense to me and it has definitely inspired me to take an earnest look at my refrigerator. I'm not as invested in the Monarch Butterfly as Sarah and I can't even pretend to be but I'm glad other people are.

11:53 AM  

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