The Rational War on Fat

Is it likely that we'll follow the perfectly rational incentives designed by benevolent governmental guardians to reduce obesity? Fat chance.

GMOs and Mother Nature? Closer Than You Think

When it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), one criticism stands above the others: it's unnatural. The idea that (unlike conventional genetic exchange within a species) genes from one species can be transferred to another fuels this perception of unnaturalness.

Pesticide Politics

Pesticides freak us out - and understandably so. The idea of otherwise healthy fruits and vegetables marred by residual poison unnerves us because, generally speaking, we're clueless. We're totally removed from the process of production. We don't know what was sprayed, we can't see the trace pesticides, we can't measure them on our own, and, let's face it, the vast majority of us don't remotely understand how these agents work. The upshot is that we're left to trust outside interpreters to assess the risk for us.

Unscrambling the Egg Disaster

If there's a winner in the recent recall of 550 million eggs potentially infected with salmonella enteritidis, it's your local egg farmer. Under the assumption that eggs sourced from small, organic, free-range farms are less likely to be contaminated with salmonella, consumers are flocking to farmers' markets and backyard coops in a panicked quest to avoid industrially produced eggs. According to one newspaper account, shoppers are increasingly willing to pay up to $3.50 for a dozen eggs in order to have "a direct link to their food." But I wonder: does this make any sense?

The Biodiversity Card

Until 1985, the word "biodiversity" didn't exist. Today, it's fundamental to the grammar of environmentalism. Lamentations about "declining biodiversity," the "threat to biodiversity," or the "the biodiversity crisis" comprise the lingua franca of ecological discourse. But it's worth asking: what are we really talking about when we talk about biodiversity?

What We Know, and Don't, About Children and Junk Food

Cartoon characters and junk food.

Fair Trade and the Food Movement

Can the Food Movement scale up?

Organic Agriculture: A Solution to Global Warming?

Calculating organic's footprint isn't as simple as it seems.

For Whom the Wind Blows

Is Denmark's energy policy as good as it sounds?

What's Behind the Honeybee Decline? Perhaps Not What You've Heard

Pesticides aren't necessarily to blame.