Do you like bananas?
“Ha, screw you!” Say our sources in the biosphere.
Once upon a time, in the sixties, bananas were a variety called Gros Michel, which was by all the old people’s accounts absolutely delicious despite sounding like a diseased French prostitute. Then there was this fungal disease that made them just as diseased as the name sounds, and well, killed them all. Like all all. Not just oh, enough that the original wasn’t cost effective, I mean full scale fungal banana genocide.
So we adopted the Cavendish variety, which is a banana that no one had bothered eating before because it tastes like shit along every measure compared to old Whory Michel’s banana. In fact it tastes so nasty that the fungus refused to even go there, and thus all bananas in the world today are this tasteless variety that the fruit companies keep insisting is actual edible fruit. The old people always said bananas used to taste better before hippies, but we understandably had chocked that up to a number of different fruit focused dementias.
Now the fungus is back, and mutated to party with the Cavendish. It came to chew bubblegum and kill banana plantations, and it’s all out of bubblegum. Living in the soil, it prevents the banana bush (or shrubbery, if you are the pedantic sort, since technically I assume it’s a species of jungle cactus) from sucking delicious water out of the ground. That tends to be bad for plants. And wells, but it doesn’t seem to affect those yet.
Then the banana dies. And since the fungus is in the soil, simply burning the entire plantation to the ground doesn’t help, because the fungus will be waiting for you to shove some more bananas in it. So grow some mangoes if you like, but bananas are right out.
Also, all bananas in the world today are apparently technically clones of each other, because between that and mercenaries massacring workers, fruit companies are basically the Umbrella Corporation. So the fungus is murdering its way through the banana producing areas of the world with all the brutal efficiency of a military surplus APC through a camp of protesting farm laborers. It’s already in every banana producing area of the world except for Latin America, since it turns out that it’s really hard to keep something that lives in dirt from spreading to different farms, which it turns out basically run on a dirt-based economy.
So if you like bananas, hold them close in this twilight of their existence. But not too tightly, because they bruise like a hemophiliac playing rugby and then they’re good for nothing but banana bread.