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Nature: not all it's cracked up to be

The other month we tried some Oreo knockoffs from a brand called Back to Nature. The name spawned many jokes: ah yes, nature, where chocolate sandwich cookies grow on trees. Monkeys flinging them at each other, squirrels carrying them off to their nests. A real bitch when you park your car underneath one, though; the filling smears all over the windshield.

Anyway, that brings up the question of whether "natural" is always better for you. In the case of cookies with some heart-healthy fat instead of Crisco, then yes, I suppose it is.

But when I want to know why we need to clear all the dead leaves away from the garden, justifying my laziness by pointing out that forest floors are covered with dead leaves and are quite fertile and happy, the "nature" argument doesn't quite hold up. Yes, forest floors are covered with dead leaves, and as a consequence they are also crawling with bugs, many of which would love to eat more plants, or hey, move into our house. Since that is not acceptable, I become willing to clear the dead leaves. Thus the difference between a garden and the wilderness.

Similarly, I find myself thinking things like: "It's silly that we shouldn't walk around barefoot for fear of putting too much strain on our feet. We were designed to walk barefoot! Our primitive ancestors must have done it all the time!" To which Anthro brain has to answer: "Yes, and look how long they lived. Why, a good 32, 33 years." Ditto for worrying about how the sun, or tooth decay, or sleeping on uncomfortable surfaces, might hurt us. Since I hope to live a good three times what our hominid ancestors did, I will be trusting in science and technology to help.

Luckily science and technology help bring us cookies. Which, in the case of Back to Nature, are really good. Better than actual Oreos, if you can believe it. You win THIS round, nature...

Comments

mollyringle
Oct. 11th, 2006 05:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Stewards of The Garden...not just another animal...
We would indeed be some helpless naked apes if we didn't have the wits to use the resources nature provided. Imagine a winter without wool or leather. Eek. (Well, or Polar Fleece, but we'd be unlikely to stumble upon that one before wool.)

Sandals--hm, wonder if PETA ever got on Birkenstock's case for using leather? Seems unlikely somehow.