Two Banana Stories

My day, like that of so many people across the world ,starts with the banana. I set out one each for the kids, they moan about how boring it is, I remind them how good it is for them, and then; ritual completed we munch together in the early morning calm. So when I heard about the banana crisis in Uganda, which is the world’s second largest producer of banana and where the banana is a staple food, I was concerned. It turns out that rather than give up and watch the banana plantations be laid to waste by disease, Ugandan scientists are testing a GM strain that would withstand the BXW bacteria. This new story though, has the same ending as many we have heard before: opposition to GM technology means there might be a very long wait before these developments can actually be brought to the fields. In the meantime, livelihoods are lost, and an entire way of living is in danger.

Closer to home, the introduction of individually plastic wrapped bananas by DelMonte brought howls of laughter as well as disbelief. Had no one noticed that the banana came in its own bio-degradable wrapper? Why did people try to interfere with Nature? So obvious, right? Consider this, as theAtlantic did: individual wrapping, intended to preserve freshness, will lower the number of perfectly good bananas thrown out each year. The article also makes the point that we should stop thinking of nature as sacred and man as a despoiler. We are part of the same world. Yes, we should be more thoughtful in the way we impact nature but let us not set some impossible Garden of Eden standard for this interaction.

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