Amelia Jordan’s 500 words | The Fear of Exploration
I’ve always been fascinated with science and technology, and my guileless childhood daydreams of space adventures, robots, and aliens still have a place in my life. Thus, I have never been afraid of genetic engineering, because to me, the technology represents a multitude of questions to answer and possibilities to explore. More importantly, my chosen career of Entomology gives me an intimate perspective on the struggles of agriculture: pests, weeds, diseases, seed producers, governments, consumers, and the subsistence farmer. I plan on exploring this world until I cannot go any farther.However, GMOs weren’t personal until I almost died. After one ambulance ride and three days of wearing a heart monitor with tubes coming out of my arms, a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes irrevocably changed my life. Now I need the product of GMOs every single day, because without insulin, I am a dead body walking. Now this issue is real in the way that I can still hear my every heartbeat, and I am grateful to be alive.This is where I get angry. Genetic engineering has the capability to help wipe out diseases, make farming more sustainable and productive, and create novel solutions to harvesting energy, food, and matter, in ways never before possible. Why is a technology so full of life being vilified? Why is this technology that is accepted and used many times over to treat disease denied admittance in the arena of agriculture? Sure, GE technology will not solve all problems, especially ones that stem from deep socioeconomic and cultural issues, but they can do incredible good.Letting the fear of the unknown stifle exploration into new ways to help others would slowly kill the scientific heart and world would suffer for it. Of course we should be responsible, respectful, and ethical with the discoveries we make and how that knowledge is utilized, but if Sir Frederick Banting had not sacrificed hundreds of dogs in the name of scientific discovery, I would not be here today. More importantly, GMOs allow me to live without the need to farm thousands upon thousands of pigs and cattle for the insulin they secrete. It is the ultimate symbol of using GE technology in the most environmentally efficient and life-giving wayTo me, there is no justification for the intensely vocal opposition to GMOs that is rooted in critical, logical, and impartial analysis of the facts and data. We should not let fear of this technology halt those who would use it to feed the starving, save the sick from dying, and preserve the biodiversity of this planet. All of those are possible, and more. Let’s not focus on the failures and setbacks, and instead explore what could be.
If you would like us at GMO SF to share your story, please see our previous post: Callout for Your Stories! In 500 Words, What is Your Stance on GMOs in Society?
Photo Credit: Jeff Fillmore | CC