I found this essay by Michael Pollan very enjoyable to read because it is something I’ve been looking into for quite some time. I challenge someone to have a diet where they are not digesting some by product of cord. Corn syrup is in about everything we eat and sadly it isn’t good for us. This essay digs a little bit in to an American’s diet. His focus is on corn and not only does he just talk about corn being in almost all our food products but he brings up other issues such as fossil fuels and our factories polluting the air. It’s amazing when you stop and think about how many things are made from corn. The part that really grabbed my attention in Pollan’s essay was when he stated…
“It’s not merely the feed that the steers and the chickens and the pigs and the turkeys ate; it’s not just the source of the flour and the oil and the leavenings, the glycerides and coloring in the processed foods; it’s not just sweetening the soft drinks or lending a shine to the magazine cover over by the checkout. The supermarket itself–the wallboard and joint compound, the linoleum and fiberglass and adhesives out of which the building itself has been built–is in no small measure a manifestation of corn.”
It gets you to just really think about it for a second, corn is pretty much used in everything.
Michael Pollan then goes on to talk about how corn use really “sprouted up” in the year 1947 after World War II because of fertilization. After this was developed, Pollan claims that is when our lives really started to change from overly consuming corn to pollution from the fertilizers and factories. Non-organic farmers think they need all these processes to make the most corn and the fastest, although it’s damaging all our health. He discusses how the synthetic fertilizer is mostly wasted when used because the synthetic nitrogen from it isn’t taken in by the plants and instead is released and evaporated in the air and some it also seeps down into the water table. These affect the earth by contributing to global warming and also affects our health, when we consumes theses little bits through our food or water over time.
Pollan's ending paragraph states how organic farmers get a long just fine by using natural ways to maintain and grow their crops. They use the sun and water, and they don’t use synthetic fertilizer. He says we need to reduce our dependency on synthetic nitrogen. I completely agree, although this might be more work, in the long run we will be healthier for it and so will the world. Over time using things like synthetic nitrogen really do affect our lives.