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A colleague friend of mine is considering a move to a new locale. He has a background in city planning and currently works as a planning consultant so we were discussing what his options might be. He told me of an exciting opportunity to be part of a planning team working on a multi-million dollar research facility. He had recently met with one of the planners already working on this project and seemed excited to be a part of the team. I asked what company was funding this huge megaplex of a research facility. He replied:
What??? Monsanto?!?! I was stunned. I looked at him in disbelief. I remarked that they’re the ones responsible for all the GMO frankenfood out there. He agreed and mentioned the bovine growth hormone as well. I looked at him and said, “If I were in your shoes, I’d feel like I was selling my soul to the devil.” He replied that it was a bit out of character for him.
Make that one huge bit. Here is a man who is considering getting another master’s degree in sustainable energy, who travels around the country taking photos of wind farms, who notices the testing poles on the eastern plains of our state testing for wind speed feasibility, who notices that additional water turbines have been added to the hydro-electric generator in the nearby creek. He takes more pleasure in the enjoyment of the natural beauty of our state… hiking, biking, camping, etc. than anyone I know. He is a thoughtful, extremely considerate, intelligent naturalist of a man. How is it that he could justify working for a monster like Monsanto?
Being that I am a B, of course I asked him straight up that question. He said the purpose of the research facility was for experimenting with hybridization techniques: planting test fields, collecting the seeds, and distributing the seeds to other testing sites around the world with varied climatic conditions to see how the hybridized seeds grew. I said that even hybridization has its problems… I know a few people that suspect our hybridized foodstuffs to be a root problem in many food intolerances and allergies. He said that as long as the research was within the plant kingdom, he was ok with it. There you go… there’s his edge. Ok with the plant tampering.
But it made me think about where my edges are. I used to buy only organic food. Not any more. Some foods, like almonds and almond butter are just too expensive. I have been thinking about adding many more foods to the non-organic consumption list, particularly foods that tested to have low pesticide residues in/on them. The reason? Price. Five years ago it never would have occurred to me to purchase and consume non-organic food. But now is different. We all have our edges.
Today I had lunch with said colleague. I asked him how the prospect of working for Monsanto was coming along. He replied it was becoming a little closer to a reality. I told him I hoped he would be able to at least retain a portion of his soul if he indeed was hired to consult in the planning of this research facility.
Time will tell.
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