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Articles by Maywa Montenegro

Maywa Montenegro is an editor and writer at Seed magazine, focusing mainly on ecology, bidiversity, agriculture, and sustainable development.

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  • How to fend off biological and cultural extinctions

    The relationship between our planet’s vanishing species, languages, and cultures has long fascinated me, so I was thrilled to write a story on the subject for the current issue of Seed. In the piece, my co-author Terry Glavin and I mention some important legislation being put forth at the annual meeting of the IUCN in […]

  • A presidential pop quiz on energy, water, scientific integrity, oceans, and climate change

    Barack Obama’s answers to the 14 top science questions facing America. (McCain is still working on his answers.)

  • Edible landscapes can outgrow the elite

    Monday's New York Times had a great opinion piece about My Farm's Trevor Paque -- the same guy recently profiled in the Times' Style section. In fact, I had to look twice to make sure it was the same T. Paque because the two articles emphasized such different aspects of the urban CSA mission. Kim Severson, in the style piece, describes it thus:

    Call them the lazy locavores -- city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty. Mr. Paque is typical of a new breed of business owner serving their needs.

    She devotes so much time and script to the eco-chic aspect that I, like Tom Philpott, was initially put off by the idea of armchair gardening. But just like Tom, who later posted that he was "too hard" on it, I softened after reading Allison Arieff's opinion piece. She writes:

  • The link between obesity and the environment

    Slate's Dan Engber has attempted to take down Wall-E in classic Green Room style with a piece slamming the film's connection between obesity and environmental destruction.

    Engber's critique is flawed in so many ways that it's hard to know where to begin ... For instance, he doesn't seem to believe that obesity really has much to do with being too sedentary or eating too much. To support this, he cites research saying that 80 percent of the variation in body weight can be explained by DNA. But what the research actually shows (and what his own colleague, William Saletan, has recently gotten right) is that 80 percent of the variation can be explained by DNA among individuals living in the same environment. If fatness is determined so strongly by genes, as Engber would have us believe, how in the world, then, is it possible to explain skyrocketing obesity rates in the past several decades?

    In sum, Engber thinks the Nalgene-toting eco-liberals are ridiculous (and disingenuous) in their linking of the expanding waistlines and climate change. It's a too-easy analogy, he says.

    Granted, I (most likely, we) are among those people Engber loves to loathe and could scarcely be dissuaded from doing so, but just in case -- in case there's been a fundamental oversight, a gap in education -- I feel like sending him a copy of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food or Paul Robert's The End of Food. It's impossibly hard to argue, after reading either one, that agriculture, ecological degradation, and obesity aren't closely intertwined.