All respect to Russell Brand and to those who do not vote out of principle. To others, make sure to get your ballot in. I’m big on voting—even if it’s not as much fun as my first vote in the mysterious old curtained mechanical voting booths in Buffalo, or as classic as putting my paper ballot in a wooden box in the town hall during my time in New England.

Vote as you will. I would just say think twice about some of the ballot measures. (It would be easy to just do a “yea” sweep on your ballot before your drop at the library.) Again, vote as you will. But, I say think twice, for example about initiatives like Measure 92.

Businesses spend millions to share details about their products with you. So, I’m always curious when businesses spend millions to make sure they don’t have to share details about their products with you. Genetically modified or genetically engineered food? Organisms with genetic materials changed? I see a role for these right now and in a populous, climate-changed future–with oversight. But, keep in mind that we are talking about taking things –like living beings and seeds– that have been evolving in the global commons for all of human history, and before in most cases, and allowing for modification and privatization of their genetic basis, for profit, by private individuals, with decades–or much less–of any experience or controlled study of the effects. Perhaps better to know what’s going on (or in our food)? So, think twice. Are you comfortable with what you may find out ten, twenty or a hundred years in the future about this? Labeling? They say knowledge is power.

I would also think twice about the snarky and surprisingly classist positions taken on the measure in the Portland progressive weeklies. As noted, I am curious about long-term evidence. I’m really curious about the science The Portland Mercury seems to possess. And the alternative suggestion by the Willamette Week to wait-and-see until evidence of health effects would require outright bans? That seems like very little precaution. And, for me, one purpose of laws in society is to protect those with least wealth or power. The consolation that you’re supposedly safe from any potential GMO issues if you have the education and the privilege to shop for and chose to buy items labeled “Organic” – or “Non-GMO Project Modified”!? Ouch. I am embarrassed.

Vote on! — Thomas


Published by Thomas Doherty

Psychologist Thomas Doherty's work on environmental sustainability and health has been featured in publications like the New York Times and in talks worldwide. Thomas consults with individuals and organizations through his business Sustainable Self. He was the founding Director of the Ecopsychology Certificate Program at Lewis & Clark Graduate School and Founding Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed academic journal Ecopsychology. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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