Controlled Poison: A Brief History of Pesticides
It’s a universal truth that the strong survive. Those who adapt best to their surroundings contribute more to the gene pool by being stronger, more resilient, and having more offspring. This has been a selective force in nature since the beginning of time- and one often influenced by occasionally random events (earthquakes, floods, asteroid strikes).
Human beings took a step beyond these random reactions to their environment when they began agriculture. They chose certain plants to artificially protect and nurture, and then they again chose certain descendants of those plants to continue the process. Choosing to foster a crop that could produce large yields, or withstand cold/heat started to manipulate the environment- and it made sense. Having at least part of your food planned out in advance must have been a great comfort to ancient humankind. Considering that it has been a feature of multiple civilizations for thousands of years, it has definitely paid off.
The only problem is keeping other things from eating our food while it’s growing.