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Paper #10 Outline

wwu2's picture

Marjorie Wu

Paper #10

November 14th, 2014


For my essay, I am thinking to write about the connection between Chapter 5 Welcome to the Anthropocene in The Sixth Extinction and the GMOs in All Over Creation.  

GMO application is one small example of anthropocene. However, is it moral for people to put themselves in center all the time?


Paul Crutzen listed some geologic-scale changes people have effected:

 “Most of the world’s rivers have been dammed or diverted.

Fertilizer plants produce more nitrogen than is fixed naturally by all terrestrial ecosystems.” (Kolbert 108)


First I would like to do some research and link these results of human behavior to the GMO plants. Does GMO planting affect the environment and on what ground does it affect?

In All Over Creation, even though these “NuLifes cut back on the chemical application farmers’d be using”, “they also kills the beneficial insects (Ozeki 271).” What will the decreasing number of insects do for the environment?


And then I am thinking about turning the attention to the main idea of this chapter, which is that anthropocene is just a paradigm shift in the geological era. So all the changes are just normal phenomenon. But Is this right? If it is true, how can we explain the increasing frequency of natural disasters? What if these are earth warning us to be careful of other species in the environment we shared with?



Concerns: I can't really find many quotes in the sixth extinction to support my idea… And also, I feel for my essay I need to find outside material to make mine more credible, will that be OK?


Anne Dalke's picture


You still have the bulk of your work to do for this paper. I agree that if your real area of curiosity now is how GMOs affect the environment, then that’s the research you should pursue for this project. You could introduce the paper w/ those evocative quotes (maybe first from All Over Creation, which questions, specifically, the health effects of NuLifes, then from The Sixth Extinction, which generalizes the danger that human agricultural practices pose to the environment). Then you could make the rest of the project a mini-research paper, reporting in on what you’ve found, trying to answer the questions that both these texts have raised.

When Jody and I attended the conference for the Association of Literature and the Environment last year, one of the most powerful speakers we heard was Wes Jackson, who said that agriculture was "the bomb, the big mistake" in human history, that "the plowshare has destroyed more than the sword," and that we must now "bring agriculture into phase with nature's economies." So understanding more fully the consequences of agricultural practices (particulary the sort of industrial agriculture that’s described in All Over Creation) seems to me a very worthwhile project…