Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds

By Claire Hope Cummings | Go to book overview

TEN

The Down-Turned Hand

Somewhere between the resilience of communities
that have survived through it all, the seeds and the
people recover, and biodiversity returns despite the
monoculture of colonialism.

WINONA LADUKE, Recovering the Sacred


Kaua'i, Hawai'i

Wind and waves gather force over thousands of miles of open ocean, then slam into the north side of the island of Kaua'i. Razor-sharp cliffs slice down the sides of the Na Pali coast, carved from above by water falling down the mountainsides and excavated from below by winds careening up from the sea. Gashes of blood-red soil show through the soft green velour covering the land. The churning air and water form heavy clouds that dump over 440 inches of rain on Mount Wai'ale'ale every year, making it the wettest place on earth. These waters stream down the mountainsides in waterfalls and rivers and, before returning to the sea, pulse through the veins of an unbelievable diversity of plants, birds, animals, insects, and fish that live here. Viewed from above, Kaua'i looks like a large flower floating in an immense turquoise sea.

Kaua'i rose out of the Pacific Ocean 6 million years ago as part of a series of volcanic eruptions that formed the Hawaiian archipelago. When Captain Cook accidentally found these islands in

-179-

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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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