Fighting For The Future Of Food: A Review

Submitted By Mperrine52
Words: 2644
Pages: 11

Fighting for the Future of Food: A Review
Monica Perrine, RN
The University of Toledo
Health, Food, & Society
Seamus Metress
Fighting for the Future of Food: A Review I am a biology major in my sophomore year. Recently, the biology lecture class I’m attending reviewed a textbook chapter concerning biotechnology and recombination techniques. The chapter was saturated in scientific vocabulary and molecular detail, complete with well-labeled diagrams, but there was little mention of the ethics involved with such science. In fact, throughout the entire textbook there was little effort given to discuss the ethics of many biological aspects. After reading Fighting for the Future of Food, written by Rachel Schurman and William A. Munro, the idea came to mind that our society has become so used to biotechnology in daily life that second thoughts are not being considered, concerning the potential risks involved with the technology. Also, attempting to discuss the topic with most people outside of an educational institution leaves blank faces and much to be desired. Most people are not aware of the technology behind biotechnology, and certainly not aware of how it links with our food supply. Food is food; in the minds of much of the public it contains fats (these are bad!), carbohydrates (don’t eat too much of these), and proteins, and calories (don’t eat many of these either). But how does biotechnology affect the business of agricultural, the origin of our food supply? I initially thought Fighting for the Future of Food would be argumentative, taking a specific side against biotechnology and supporting it much like Diet for a Hot Planet. I was surprised to find that it was actually an extremely well written analytical discussion of the background of the biotechnology involved in agriculture, and the history of the social movement closely intertwined with it. Through the book, the authors tell a sort of story, describing the mindset of those who were supportive of the technology along with those in opposition to it, and how each mindset developed. There is great care in explaining the ideas of both sides of the conflict. The facts involve the worldviews of the parties described, and not so much the science behind the technology. They do not go into detail about scientific discoveries and research, but offer an analysis of how the technology has been shaped by those in support of it and those in opposition to it. The authors begin the book by exhibiting the apprehension and frustration displayed by many industry officials of large companies during a conference. There is no question that GMOs are a source of controversy, but many questions arise concerning how that controversy came into fruition and identifying the fuel that drives it. The authors not only ask these questions about the history of the social movement, but also how to approach the topic of GMOs in the present. Asking these questions sets the theme of the book: to discover the people and ideas behind each side of the controversy, to analyze the conflict as a social matter rather than strictly a scientific or biological one. The authors allude to the normative elements involved; the proponents and producers of GMOs can be seen as aligning with the status quo of the society they live in, and the opponents can be seen as rebelling against it. They mention that there are vast differences in worldviews or ideologies possessed by each side, and utilize the term of ‘lifeworld’ to propose an understanding of the social or cultural context that each side demonstrates. In other words, the two sides have very different ways on how they view the world. Understanding the lifeworlds of both the industrialists and of the activists is the basis for understanding the conflict between them, and can help explain why the conflict has remained unresolved. The authors also mention that the success of movements does not solely depend on the consequences of the