This last semester I worked myself into quite the tizzy over genetically engineered foods. Biotechnology has enormous potential and it is up to us to decide what direction it takes. Equal are the possibilities that biotechnology will be the savior of the human race, providing the means for a high quality of life for untold numbers of people, or it will alter the biosphere in ways that make it unlikely for recognizable life, especially excessive amounts of human life, to continue.
Food, which is one of the great pleasures in my life, became a uniquely stressful experience. More than one time I got so stressed out in the grocery store I literally shed a few tears. Eating at restaurants is all but out of the question. I went from spending about 30 dollars at the store every 3 days to spending 50. On election day, when Proposition 37 requiring the labeling of genetically modified food so concerned consumers like me could better protect ourselves failed, I literally sat down and cried, and not only for a little while either, all night. Since then there has been one similar emotional breakdown over the dangers GMOs pose to both me and my loved ones, but also my mother earth.
But then I remembered something from my first semester at CMC. Words first spoken by Edward Abby, shared with me by John Saunders, head of the Outdoor department:
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”
You will learn a lot of things here that you were more comfortable not knowing. And they are going to drive you crazy, and make you question the way you live your life, which is an enormously uncomfortable process. Embracing the new mind set offered through the knowledge shared here results in spiritual, emotional, and intellectual growth which I never imagined. Fighting the good fight for our earth is stressful but oh so necessary, however remember to save half of yourself for pleasure, because you will outlive your enemies, and you will enjoy your life all the more. What could be sweeter than that?