SEEDS OF CHANGE by Kenny Ausubel


The Living Treasure
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 The critically important--and interesting--story of the threat to earth's biodiversity and how this endangers us all, told by the founder of Seeds of Change, the country's leading organic seed producer. Ausubel details how we--to our infinite peril--are poised to triumph over biological diversity, nature's fail-safe mechanism against extinction. Of the 30,000 to 8,000 edible plants on earth, we now rely on 150--and rice, corn, and wheat alone account for half the human diet. A blight or infestation striking one of these might well cause famine on an unimaginable scale. And yet, as Ausubel shows, we are extinguishing biological diversity though our relentless destruction of native cultures and natural environment (especially tropical forests), and through the determined attempts of agribusiness to supply the world with hybrid seeds that, in contrast to heirloom or open-pollinated seeds, cannot adequately reproduce themselves and require ecologically ruinous amounts of chemicals--often, conveniently, supplied by the same corporations that develop the seeds. These agribusinesses, Ausubel says, are busily engaged in genetic engineering that not only further endangers biodiversity but gives us food of inferior taste and nutritional quality, spiced with chemical toxins. Ausubel proposes a revolution in farming, going against conventional methods and favoring the organic cultivation of as wide a variety of plants as possible--perhaps including varieties with as-yet-unknown medicinal or nutritional value. The writing is overwrought, the tone self-righteous, and much of the content self-serving--yet this offers information too important for readers to let these, and other irritations, stand in their way. (Twelve b&w and 60 color photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-06-250008-2
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993