Adaptation to Human Needs in Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire Essay

Adaptation to Human Needs in Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire Essay

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In “The Botany of Desire” by Michael Pollan, the author argues that instead of humans interacting, controlling, and paving the way for plants, they in fact work in ways for our lives to better themselves, and help us to become the human’s we are. They instill desires in our life: beauty, control, sweetness, and intoxication. Each plant mentioned in the four-part book, apples (Malus Domestica), tulips (Tulipa), marijuana (Cannabis Sativa x Inidica), and potatoes (Solanum Tuberosum) contribute to a desire. Apples help instill the desire for sweetness, with the sugary nutrient Red Delicious or Gala. Tulips help create the desire of beauty, where we want it and where we get it from Marijuana intoxicates people daily, and that is the desire it creates, people have always enjoyed altering their consciousness, from the Chinese dynasties with their opium to the current times that are infatuated with weed culture. Potatoes had the desire of control. Potatoes need control; they instilled control in the different societies
In this book Pollan states excessively that these plants have thrived because they were able to evolve and adapt to understand what humans want. They, in a sense, define themselves and we are defined based off of them. In Pollan’s writing we work for the plant, and not vice versa. We crop, fertilize, raise, and spend millions on apples because we want them. We risk jail time just to grow the best medical marijuana in town. These aren’t plants in the wild, trying to thrive on their own like the grassy plains, or temperate rainforests, which haven’t evolved to meet what we want. The dandelion for example relies on the wind to spread its’ seeds around the lawn. Humans don’t travel the country side planting dandelions b...


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...to understand that we are not the only species that affects the world; we aren’t the only ones that have an impact on what will happen. Plants need to be viewed as a helping species in our world. All of these plants looked at by Michael Pollan are crops; they help us just as much as we help them by industrializing them they continue to thrive while we are able to profit off peoples wants a desires for these plants. They are continuing to adapt to be used by us, to be transported around the world, to feed our families. Plants play a major role in our lives that some people don’t understand and the greatest threat facing all of these plants is the threat of falling out of fashion, once people lose interest the wonder of these plants are lost.



Works Cited

Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World. New York: Random House, 2001. Print.

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