The Smaller-Hammer Approach

Don’t get me wrong: the bigger-hammer folks still prevail in the arena of strip-mining the soil for maximizing profit from monoculture-derived soy, corn, cotton and the like.

And granted, the insects and weeds still either have or are evolving the upper hand. Again.

But Monsanto-Bayer, Bosch and John Deere are seeing in this another opportunity to make a buck while seeming-GREEN. Yet again, the upper hand against an uncooperative NATURE is (wait for it): more technological fixes.

See Robots fight weeds in challenge to agrochemical giants

Meanwhile, in another sad statement of the state of affairs, natural predators are being replaced by yet another robot–a smaller hammer: a tiny mechanical spider is being developed, soon perhaps to be released in large numbers, to provide the environmental services that biological spiders and other predators could have effectively performed once upon a time.

Not to worry. We Know Better. We’ll fix whatever is broken–meaning whatever buggers with efficiency or profit. Nature is just too sloppy and slow for Modern Man in the Anthropocene. Move over, let our engineers show you how it’s done.

And I don’t think I like where this story is headed, but then I’ll only get to the middle of the book before the lights go out.

Should we, in the last chapter, do ourselves in, it wouldn’t be the first time that a major extinction was caused by the “environmental tinkering” of Earth’s creatures, though such a feat has never before been brought on by a single species. We really are something special.

See: Evidence that Earth’s first mass extinction was caused by critters not catastrophe

Author: fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

2 thoughts on “The Smaller-Hammer Approach”

  1. Let me just counter this gloom and doom picture of the way things are with a more hopeful look at the way things can be in our relationship with nature–and particularly with the food we eat and ag’s impact on the soil and water that could sustain us.

    Read about “Lean Farming: A Method for Growing a Lot of Food on Little Land”. This of course runs counter to the bigger hammer treatment of people and places. https://civileats.com/2018/02/12/a-method-for-growing-a-lot-of-food-on-little-land/

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