What's Eating America By Michael Pollan Summary

Words: 732
Pages: 3

Synthetic Nitrogen is Eating the Earth
Michael Pollan discusses in his essay “What’s Eating America” the two sides of science in correlation to the American diet. He explores his claims through discussing the career of a chemist named Fritz Haber. The first few paragraphs of his article inform the reader about the copious amounts of corn used in food in America. Corn syrup is used in most of the food we eat here in America. Pollan states that, “there are some 45,000 items in the average American supermarket, and more than a quarter of them contain corn” (1). Moreover, Pollan explains a turning point in both the history of corn and also America. He writes of 1947, “A huge munitions plant at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, switched over from making explosives to making chemical fertilizer” (1). Fritz Haber is credited with inventing the method that is used in the agriculture industry to synthesize ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen gases. He then skillfully reasons that two out of every five people would not be alive today if it were not for Haber’s invention. Fritz Haber’s invention was not only used in the agriculture industry but also in the synthesis of explosives. Fritz Haber’s significance in the world war dealt with his developing chlorine and other gases to be used as weapons. Most
…show more content…
His essay is informative, and offers insight into the many issues with the switch from growing food naturally to a more harmful man-made approach. His points are effective in informing the readers of the significance of this change and the harmful effects it has on the way the world works. Pollan somewhat focuses too much of the essay on the history of corn as well as the advantages and not enough on the solution and disadvantages. Although, his solution is both viable and can be effective, he could have focused more on the direct correlation of his examples and points so the reader is not left