16 November 2007

Chain stores are like invasive species

I went to the library yesterday which reminded me that I wanted to talk about the book Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk (my favorite author).

Mixed into the story along the way are these great ramblings on the topic of invasive species from the character Oyster.

Such as:

"When you think about it from a native plant perspective," Oyster says, "Johnny Appleseed was a f***ing biological terrorist"
But the part that really got me thinking was comparing chain stores to invasive species:
"Everywhere there's a McDonald's hamburger, this is the ecological equivalent of franchised life-forms. Every place is the same place. Kudzu. Zebra mussels. Water hyacinths. Starlings. Burger Kings. The local natives, anything unique gets squeezed out. The only biodiversity we're going to have left is Coke versus Pepsi."
Chuck is exactly right. Too bad we can't release biological control agents on chain stores - a weevil that feeds only on Starbucks buildings would be pretty awesome. I also think communicating science through fiction is a great way to reach out to people who wouldn't normally seek out science topics. I mean, look at Jurassic Park, sure it's fictional and improbable, but it got people talking about DNA and cloning.

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