A Pledge for Humanity
by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter, January 18, 2020
A few months ago, I received an email from a professor of cultural anthropology from the Netherlands. He had been in Hawaii years ago to study the GMO opposition in Hawaii. He had focused his study on the anti-GMO folks here last time and decided that he wants to hear from the other side. Apparently, my name was frequently mentioned by the anti-folks and he wanted to talk to me.
We had a nice chat one afternoon going through my involvement in the pro-GMO movement. I shared my story about our papaya farm and the journey to save it. He had some knowledge of the issues and was trying to understand the driving forces for the opposition as well as to why I was so passionate about the GMO issue.
Was it money? No. Was it fame and attention? No. What did I get from being outspoken about the issue?
I had to think about what was driving me to fight for GMO tech and I realized that it was a fight for science. Why spend hours blogging and trying to educate when my bank account never had any huge deposits from it? Why take time off of work to meet with politicians and students who were not supporters? Why do all of this if I got nothing out of it?
I do get something from science outreach via my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook platforms. I get to read and learn about stories of hope. Yes, that story on genetically engineered cells curing lupus in mice made me break out in tears.
Why? I have friends and family who are affected by this disease and I hear of their stories of pain and suffering. If this piece of research can materialize into a cure to alleviate their pain, you can bet I get excited about it. I put hope in science finding a cure to help others and sharing those stories to spread the word that science is not something we should fear. We have to embrace it to help others.
I am not a scientist doing the research but I sure can help spread the word that we need their work and innovations to help us live our lives to the fullest. Our lives are short and we want to live without pain or illness with the help of science and technology. You can bet that Whole Foods will not be paying for research to cure for diseases but will be willing to sell you some quack cure like CBD or hemp claiming to cure every disease from A to Z.
Those profiting from science denial are not anyone’s helper as they claim. None were sharing stories to help the Samoan measles crisis by promoting the public to be vaccinated. Many anti-vaxx promoters were still spreading pseudoscience claims while 80 people, majority being young children, died over the last few weeks. I cannot imagine being one of those parents affected by such a loss. Children do not have to die like that in this day and age.
You can bet that I will still be fighting for science long after the anti-everything folks have moved onto something else. They have their bumper stickers and t-shirts proclaiming their cause but it won’t last as we all know. These movements are fickle and not sustainable. Science goes on to solve problems because it is not a fad but directed to solve real issues.
The professor from the Netherlands discovered for himself that the anti-folks don’t stick around in the communities they supposedly cared for. They have all left the area and were nowhere to be found. It leads to the question if they genuinely care about the community or were they just hobby activists stirring it up to divide people then leave once the damage was done?
No matter what the case may be, I will continue to advocate for science because I know that the goal is ultimately to help humanity.