Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds

By Claire Hope Cummings | Go to book overview

TWO

Trespass

My generation, or perhaps the one preceding mine,
has been the first to engage, under the leadership of
the exact sciences, in a destructive colonial warfare
against nature. The future will curse us for it.

ERWIN CHARGAFF, the father
of molecular biology


Waimea, Kaua'i, Hawai'i

The first European to enter the Kingdom of Hawai'i was Captain James Cook. He landed on the west side of the island of Kaua'i in January 1778. Cook was already several years into his third exploratory voyage around the Pacific as commander of two British ships, the Resolution and the Discovery. Of all the Pacific island nations he had visited, Hawai'i, he found, was a place of incomparable beauty and abundance. His journals were not usually effusive, but on his first visit to Hawai'i he wrote that the flowers “sent forth the most fragrant smell I had any where met with,” the taro was “the best I ever tasted,” the sweet potatoes were the largest, the canoes were “shaped and fitted with more judgment than any I had before seen,” and the people were “open, candid, active… and traded on the most favorable terms of any in the Pacific.”

That was probably the last time Hawaiians and Westerners dealt with each other on anything like equal terms. Following

-23-

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Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • A Note on the Terminology ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xv
  • The Rise of the Techno-Elites 1
  • One - Trade Secrets 3
  • Two - Trespass 23
  • Three - Political Science 45
  • Four - The Ownership Society 65
  • The Turning Points 85
  • Five - Who Owns Rice? 87
  • Six - The Botany of Scarcity 106
  • Seven - The Botany of Abundance 128
  • A Green Wealth 145
  • Eight - Ripe for Change 147
  • Nine - A Conversation with Corn 163
  • Ten - The Down-Turned Hand 179
  • A Cabinet of Seeds Displayed 193
  • Epilogue - The Seeded Earth 195
  • Acknowledgments 206
  • Sources and Resources 209
  • Index 219
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