The Gardener in the Machine: Biotechnological Adaptation for Life Indoors

  • Christian Warren


Environmental historians, especially those working at the intersection of environment and health, talk about ‘human interactions with the built environment’; this is, strictly speaking, redundant, since, by and large, what has defined the species homo sapiens since its appearance 30,000 years ago is our steadfast manipulation of the environment, cleverly exploiting resources and altering surroundings to counteract deficiencies in brawn, speed or other innate physical abilities.1 Every technology we have adopted, from fire to stone tools, to agriculture and medicine, has enhanced our odds against the lions, tigers and bears. But we grew more dependent upon those technologies and came to rely less and less upon our bodies, our instincts and our knowledge of the natural world. The pace of this transformation has accelerated in the last two centuries, so that by the mid-twentieth century, careful observers worried that technological innovation was outstripping biological evolution in determining the nature of human existence, risking physical, social and psychic alienation from the natural order.2


Social Capital Hermit Crab Climate Control Childhood Lead Poisoning Outdoor Exercise 
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© Christian Warren 2012

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  • Christian Warren

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