I noticed that the discussion of how environmentalism is inseperable from economics in the end of the first half carried through into all of the next chapters. The chapters on tuna, french fries, and bottled water all talk about the economic impliations of these industries, and I found this interesting beause people tend to focus only on the environmental damage these things cause. I found the risk assessment of bottled vs. tap water very telling, because it shows a lot of people’s paranoia about tap water is unfounded. I noticed the book didn’t talk about the other reasons people are worried about tap water, though, because a lot of people believe that there are discarded pharmaceuticals in the water or in extreme cases that the government is putting mind control chemicals in the water. I don’t agree with this, and I think this viewpoint is absurd, but it explains why people who seem like they would care about the planet still buy bottled water. It would have been interesting if these viewpoints had been disussed in the book. I also found the history of potatoes very fascinating. Potatoes have traveled all around the world, and been held under all sorts of different beliefs. I wonder about the first Andean people to try eating potatoes, since they were originally poisonous. How did they get the idea to eat them, and then to breed different varieties? I also would love to visit the potato garden. All in all, I found the second half of the book to be more coherent than the first half. The chapter transitions were less jarring, and i think it was this idea of the political economy that tied everything together.
Amazonian rainforests are not the untouched, pristine places we think of them as, but they were shaped by the indigenous people living there thousands of years ago. There are plants such as cacao, acaii, and brazil nut that are likely to be domesticated plants planted in pre-colonial times. I really like this because we tend to think of altering the environment as a modern human thing, but people really have been shaping the land around them since the start of civilization. It reminds me of the part in the reading where they talked about how native americans had actually altered huge amounts of land, and how national parks had to be restored to a human-less state even though people had been affecting it for thousands of years. It also shows that it is possible to shape nature without damaging it, and I think we could learn a thing or two from indigenous cultures.