Sunday, June 13, 2010


sneaking a post in here. i just finished
uncertain peril, a book by claire hope cummings about genetic engineering, the privatization of public institutions and the politicization of science. so interesting and important and thorough and, in many instances, shocking. i wanted to dog ear every page, but restrained myself since i had the book from the library.

cummings is a journalist, and she grounds the chapters of her book in specific places, like berkeley, hawai'i, abu ghraib, norway, vietnam, iowa, mexico. she gives the reader scientific, historical and political information, while telling fascinating stories. and, i don't want to tell too much, but storytelling, it turns out, is vital to our being able to deal with and transform the environmental mess we are in. stories and myths shape how we think.

i just read the first page of another book i checked out, diet for a hot planet, and it seems like it's going to be a continuation along similar themes. anna lappé opens the book by quoting environmental philosopher susan griffin:

Like artistic and literary movements, social movements are driven by imagination...Every important social movement reconfigures the world in the imagination. What was obscure comes forward, lies are revealed, memory shaken, new delineations drawn over the old maps: It is from this new way of seeing the present that hope emerges for the future...Let us begin to imagine the worlds we would like to inhabit, the long lives we will share, and the many futures in our hands.

these words about stories, art, social movements and the imagination encourage me.


gracia said...

Summer, I find, is best spent with your nose buried in a book for the main.

I think I will make a little more time to read myself today. The couch calls and the woolly rugs are in place. Time to read... soon.

視訊聊天網站 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

fog said...

I checked out uncertain peril from the library, but feel upset even thinking about the message I expect to read. I'm sure you understand the deep sadness that starts to seep into the bones when we take in too many stories of wounds to our earth.

Recently I read "An Eco-Pragmatist Manifesto" by Stewart Brand. He makes the case for opening our minds to things that have traditionally been opposed by environmentalists, including nuclear energy and genetic engineering of plants and food. I felt swayed by his explanations. I will read Uncertain Peril in order to balance what he said.

Thank you for your posts. I have followed your blog for some time and felt that we share common interests. It is good to integrate an appreciation for art with a concern for agriculture and the environment, I think.

Kerstin Svendsen said...

fog, i hear you. i have to read fiction in between these depressing books for sure. trying to read another one right now, but think it'll have to wait, because it's making me cry. and it's so dense. it's raj patel's stuffed and starved. thank you for leaving comments! i always check in on your blog after you've left comments. otherwise i'm pretty bad at keeping caught up on blogs. almost as bad as i am about posting these days. cheers, shash

fog said...


my friend linked me to this post, so I got both books you mentioned from the library. i began with the chapter entitled "hope" in Diet for a Hot Planet. it was very encouraging to me.

Have you read One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka (an old classic)? He is mentioned there. It does help to read descriptions of people who are really practicing beautiful solutions.

I will keep an eye on your blog for more book recommendations.

Kerstin Svendsen said...

Hi again. I actually found Uncertain Peril to be more uplifting than Diet for a Hot Planet. Maybe it was just the space I was in when I read the two books. I felt like Diet was filled with fact after fact, whereas Uncertain Peril balanced facts with description/stories/background info.
I tried to read One Straw Revolution, but I couldn't get into it. May try again later. Thanks for the suggestion!

fog said...

Thanks, Kerstin, that encourages me to read Uncertain Peril. I look forward to it.