Seed Money | Letters | Chicago Reader

Seed Money 

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To the editors:

Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute ["Dr. Doom," July 1] has done a great deal to focus attention on human assaults on Mother Earth. However, apparently even he could stand to look a little further into a couple subjects near to his heart.

The money peasants must put toward hybridized seeds (obviously what Brown refers to and which do not "come true to type") is a black hole, since the poor must continue to buy the "improved" seed or develop the resources and technology to do the hybridizing themselves. Either way winds up being much more costly than buying open-pollinated varieties (those pollinated by insects or wind) once, then saving those seeds from the plants grown. Further, the hybrids' fertilizer demands are generally greater, which not only costs more but degrades the soil and water. The Philippine government's ill-thought-out policy, which not only requires peasants in the "high-yield" seed program to buy fertilizer and pesticides, but demands the use of both, too, is a sad example. Some groups concentrate instead on getting people to use energy-efficient stone ovens, and to reduce human populations, both of which help to ensure that animal manure will be burned for fuel less often, and returned to the soil more.

I am also suspicious of and appalled by the groups (Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, Friends of the Earth, Worldwatch Institute, et al) who signed a letter to the Democratic presidential candidates which read, in part ". . . tax policy should attempt to create a level playing field for all energy technologies--nuclear, fossil fuel, renewables, and energy efficiency--so they can all compete in the marketplace on an equal footing . . ." (Eostar '88 Earth First! Journal). This smacks simultaneously of defeatism and laissez-faire--after all, why should anyone have to live a simpler life when nukes can make things "easy"? We've had it very easy (in industrialized nations at least) for a long time, at the expense of the rest of the world, which our egotistical, materialistic selves stand poised to destroy.

So no thanks, Mr. Brown, I'll keep making sacrifices and living gently on on the Earth instead.

Maja Wiesinger

Earth First!

Chicago

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