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February 27, 2010

The reading for my food class this week (which I have, highly uncharacteristically, mostly done within 24 hours of the previous class ending, thanks to a peculiar combination of circumstances) is about agriculture and environmental degradation – a really interesting and broad topic I won’t rant about at length now. But there was one particular part that really stood out for me: the disappearance of traditional plant varieties that are specifically adapted to their local environment (landraces) and the increase of monocultures is a Bad Thing for all sorts of reasons, but these varieties are also used to develop the high-yield varieties that replace them! The specific traits that make a variety suitable for a particular climate or resistant to a particular pest or disease can be the source of new hybrids that have this characteristic. So without these rich resources to draw on, there is less potential for developing future varieties.

So not only are the Bad Guys ruining it for the rest of us, they’re also shooting themselves in the foot…

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