Wednesday, January 12

Get ready for a slew of posts from me. I can't really help myself, these things come in waves. Just now I was reading a dear dear friends blog and she said something that struck me. She said "I believe in some seemingly outdated and quaint ideas saving society."
Last night I was sitting in a class, which excites me from the start, because I LOVE to be in school. I haven't been in school for a long time and having been enrolled in classes for a total of two days has brightened my whole life. One of my classes is entitled 'pest management', specifically in agriculture. I have a very healthy relationship with my unkept yard. I love anything that is green, but more so if it actually grows. So I was sitting in this pest management class. Being the first day it was somewhat introductory. My professor was explaining why we needed to talk about pesticides. A little bit of background info...When I hear the word pesticide, my natural reaction is for my stomach to curl ever so slightly and to vomit it just a little bit in my mouth. I found myself in the portion of my class that really needed the explanation.  In the presentation he shared a list of thirty things ranked by their degree of lethality. On this list were cars, motorcycles, tobacco, alcohol, food coloring, and pesticides to name a few.  Motorcycles were placed lower on the list than cars, not because they are less dangerous but because a random person is less likely to be killed by a motorcyle than by a car simply because there are less motorcycles. Pesticides were ranked 28th out of the 30 things on the list because a person is less likely to be killed by pesticides than the 27 items preceding it in ranking. Food poison was 26th. At the end of this section of the presentation, I don't remember if they were actually written but I remember seeing the words in fat bold type why worry? I sat choked in my chair. I couldn't figure out what needed to be said, but I knew that there was more to it than that. To be fair, it was clearly explained that pesticides are one of the most controlled and potentially hazardous of elements in our modern world. My professor clearly explained that they are not something to be treated without great care. But in my opinion, just because something is not directly lethal when used in the smallest of quantities (2ppm) and we can't currently measure its potential for hazard, doesn't mean that we shouldn't worry about it. I left with the feeling that I need to learn all I can about pesticides so that if I am ever in a position to affect the way people see them or use them, then I can contribute the appropriate amount of respect. I hope that in 10 generations my ancestors will enjoy the same if not greater biodiversity than I do. I am now slightly more enlightened and much more enthustiastic about learning about pesticides.
To the point. I couldn't figure out what it was that bothered me. I left and drove to my next destination and couldn't figure it out, but reading what my friend wrote today helped me to see, not what my professor should have explained to the class about pesticides and the current residual effects of pesticides used over 50 years ago, but how I feel about them and how I feel about being a steward over this planet. It helped me to think about how I want to teach my children. I couldn't logically explain to my professor or my class about why we should be worried about pesticides, but I recognized that being a steward is to me a family value; just like teaching about faith, or selflesness or premarital sex. I too "believe in some seemingly outdated and quaint ideas saving society."  At least the little corner of the planet where I will make my safe haven.

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