You did it again! Good job, Mila -sigh-

I would excuse myself if I could be excused in any possible way. But I can’t. I really just abandoned this place without a second thought, and haven’t even had the decency to check in once in a while for several months.

That’s so me… -facepalm-.

I don’t even know how active I’ll really be from now on, to be honest. I better not make promises, cause I won’t keep them. I just know I’m depressed; like, REALLY depressed. And writing can work as a nice therapeutic exercise for me (specially when talking about stuff I’m passionate about).

Well, let’s take this struck of inspiration and fill you (whoever is still reading this) in on the recent events that have taken place in my life.

Well, I finished high school. Yay. Now my life can commence, or can it? I don’t know. I don’t know what I want to do, I’m not even sure I even want to do anything. I want to draw all day, but I’m not even drawing as much lately. I want to think, but I don’t have the will to just grab a book and start analyzing it. I just want to lay motionless on my bed as time passes by, and I’m pretty sure that’s not a good sign.I’ve been keeping myself busy with roleplays and games. Only recently have I started watching anime and reading manga again, which is something I used to do at all times some months ago.

But, the fact that I don’t know what to do doesn’t mean anyone around me has any idea of what they want for my life. My parents, for example, are pestering me to get up and study. Yeah right. I can’t even think straight lately, and you want me to prepare for trigonometry exams? Keep dreaming.

Apart from that, I spent a few months in some part-time jobs. You know, to spend time, and earn some money.
No, wait. That’s a lie. I started working because I NEED the money. Why, you ask? We’ll get to that in a second.
But yeah, I worked at a restaurant and at an English Institute as a secretary. Had some fun. At least I walked out of my house once a day.

I still spend most of my time in my computer, though. The only thing that interests me and makes me passionate is there, after all.That’s right, ladies and gentlemen! The only thing is a guy!

Oh, of course, god forbid I ever actually like a guy who makes a move on me over here. That could make me happy, and the Universe doesn’t want that, no. The first time I fall in love with someone, he just HAS to be several thousand miles away from me. Because it makes it more fucking interesting.
Before anyone asks, he’s from New Jersey, and, when talking to him, or even thinking about him, I’m the happiest human on Earth. But when he’s away, or I remember how far away he is, my chest feels empty, like a void of darkness sucking up every inch of joy from my mind.
jksdghdjkjkl.

Yes, that’s what the money was for. I’m saving up to go see him, which is the only actual thing I really really want to do. But, of course, plane tickets are EXPENSIVE (US$600~800), and the dollar itself is expensive here (ARG$6 equals US$1). And not only are dollar bills expensive, they’re difficult to obtain because of the many restrictions the government puts on those transactions (measures I’m ironically in favor of). Hey, maybe I could make a post explaining why that is later, who knows.

So yeah, getting there by the end of this year, as we had planned, seems to be impossible now. And please don’t ask “then why doesn’t he go over to where you are, huh??”. He has his own personal problems.

But I think today I crashed against the bottom of my depressive hole.
Talking about the future and such, Seraph (the guy) mentioned that the most viable option is for him to join the army if he doesn’t find some way to earn money by the end of this year.

I don’t want that.

I don’t want that at all.

But I’m not one to impose myself on other peoples’ choices, even if it’s the guy I love and who loves me back. If he wants to join, then he will. But… I’m so scared. I’m so unbelievably scared. The mere thought of the possibility of something happening to him immediately paralyzes me.

So, today, I decided I need to pull my shit together once and for all. The conclusion my naive brain got to is: if I study a lot and find a good job, then he’ll have more time to find something else, and maybe won’t feel forced to join the army.
Yes, I know this is just wishful thinking. Shut up.

So, sulking over the fact that I feel useless, the thought of this place came back to my mind.

Well, I feel a little better now. I really do… I also hadn’t done this in a while. It feels nice.

Anyways, sorry about the personal rant. I just need to clear my head and start moving, and I know that. This helps.

I hope you’re ok and don’t have to worry about money or whatever else, and are in love with someone you can touch, and can have fun while walking down the street surrounded by loving couples, and don’t feel like assaulting an ice-cream shop.

Gosh I need ice-cream.

-Mila.

Day of Death of Diverse Cultures

Today at school, we celebrated yet another anniversary of the beginning to what would lead to one of the bloodiest, cruelest, and senseless genocides known in our history: ‘The discovery of America’.

By Rudy and Paz

‘Who are these people?’. ‘I dont know, but they say we have mass destruction weapons’. ‘Oh no’.

When I was in primary school, this day was known to us as just that, ‘the day America was discovered’. We practised for months to put up a little performance for the whole school, when the moment usually portrayed was the moment when ‘Colon and the indigenes first met’. Sounds like the start of a love-at-first-sight movie, huh?; that is, if we count abuse, rape, mass murder of their children, and constant torture as part of a nice lovely relationship.

When I entered, say, fourth grade, teachers at school were pleased to announce how the commemorative day had been renamed to ‘Day of the Race‘. Now, I know this might sound a little wrong for some of you born-english speakers, but race isn’t such a strong word in our language as it is in yours -which does not by any means disregard the existent and beating racism even the latino community has.
So, now our little performances changed slightly; instead of portraying the ‘conquerors’ and ‘discoverers’ as awesome heroes, we were also starting to see the other side of this history -well, kinda. But it was still kind of an improvement. Indians weren’t just some dumb and ignorant bland characters anymore: we got to see a little of them.

But real change to the way we were used to see this day really happened when it was renamed ‘The Day of Clash of Cultures”. Now, that’s something. Now, instead of just remembering just that sole moment of contact, we got to see this cultures with more depth, and I actually got the chance to study about the people before Colon on this land for the first time -utterly boring at that time, but I really appreciate having had that opportunity now-a-days.

People still kind of thought it was a little unrespectful, or odd, so a few years ago this day got a new identity: ‘Day of Cultural Diversity’.
We now thoroughly study the past of this land, and try to come to terms with the fact that, hey, europeans weren’t the first ones to ever live here, which was kind of jerky from our part.

Although I do think this went through some improvements, I think we will never be able to say we’ve tackled this problem from the right angle until we’ve come to terms with another huge fact: what happened here was a TRAGEDY.
To say it in numbers, when Spain first got here, there were about 80 million aborigines living in all America. By the time of the next count, about a century later, we were left with 3 million. Three fucking million. From eighty. So about 77 million people died during that time, and I think we can all agree it wasn’t because of ‘unfortunate situations’, or ‘many many wars’ -though wars did take their nice number out of it.

Oh no, that’s not even the worst part. What really got these people dying  were things like slavery, forced work in very unhealthy situations, torturous lifes, sicknesses from the europeans, alcohol… All these people had to die and go through all that in order for the Kingdoms of Spain, Portugal, France, Holland, and England to prosper.

From the moment the new people set foot on the new land, they automatically assumed that was just there for them to take as much advantage of it as they could. EVERYTHING there was served for them, and therefore belonged to them. The land, the nature, and yes, even the people in it -men and women they didn’t even consider human at first.

They raped this land and stripped it away from its dignity and beauty for the sake of ‘progress’ and ‘civilization’ -really, if you just stopped to read about this amazing cultures for a second, then you’d even wonder WHO the real civilised person was, which is what I do.

I don’t know about you, people, but I have nothing to celebrate on this day. I do a lot of reflexing, remembering, and reading, to try to honour these past cultures -something which I never truly accomplish. It’s up to everyone to interpretate this date however they want. But, do bear in mind, I’ll feel sick every time I see someone acting as Colon the hero.

Thanks for reading.

-Mila.

Elections and reelections

We all saw it coming, and, quite frankly, I’m relieved such a time of tension and expectation  is over.

That’s right everybody, last week, Hugo Chavez was once more elected, to start his third consecutive presidential stay. This not only means the continuity of Venezuela’s policies regarding economics and politics, both inside the country, as well as with the rest of the Southamerican nations; it also means the people from Venezuela understand what this man means for their country.

For the last decade and a half, Venezuela’s economical standing in the world has been only growing, tackling problems like their many oil reserves, and taking advantage of them to grow even further. Yes, they still have problems; but these people haven’t been better.

There’s also the political half of Chavez’s government. Along the last years, he has been accused not only of totalitarisarism, but also of being a dictator, and a fascist. Quite funny how the people accusing him of such, were the same who agreed with most dictatorships throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in all Latin America -Argentina included.

But, truth be told, it’s quite contradictory that they accuse him of such, in the first page of the most important newspapers of their country- Not enough freedom of speech? What do you want? Chavez’s approval of your declarations for there to be ‘freedom of speech’?
This same situation developes here, as newspapers of the opposition accuse our government of not letting them speak… In the first page of every single edition. One has to wonder, do they not see this utter contradiction?

Last few months, a topic has been quite hot over here: the opposition fears that Fernandez’s government will try to call for a Constitutional Assembly, meant to change our rigid Constitution into making it possible for any president to be consecutively re-elected as many times as he/she wishes to present him/herself. The limit as of now is twice in a row -you guessed it, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has already been elected and reelected. She herself hasn’t confirmed this was going to happen, something understandable, taking next presidential elections will be held in 2015 (when I’ll be able to vote! :D).

This theory isn’t completely unfounded, as that is the same thing that happened in Venezuela in 2009. A referendum was held then, and the voting regarding the approval or dismissal of different Articles took place. It resulted on the end of the restrictions for anyone to apply continuously to any public charge, as many times as wanted.

But, the situation in Argentina is not the same as it was in Venezuela that time. To start with, we had one amazing phenomena starting the 40’s, called Juan Domingo Peron. People who don’t agree with him, now-a-days, and even then, called him a ‘dictator’. So these people regard the elective restrictions as a way not to let something like that happen again -you know, one can take only that many popular governments before having the urge for a dictatorship.

The other fact to take in account, is the lack of an actual, strong, unified opposition to the officialism here. Quite frankly, they’re a joke, no offense. They make alliances and break up again like eight-year-olds playing boyfriends and girlfriends in the breaks from school. Maybe they have a strong media fortress around them -meaning their ‘popularity’ isn’t even because of their political ideals-, but they have no plans for the country. They only know they hate Fernandez, and think that’s all they need to go up against her. Ah, naiveté.

I don’t know how will Argentina change untill 2015, but I’m not so sure a great political challenge will arise for Cristina.

Going back to Venezuela, though, there’s something else I’d like to comment about the last elections: the participation rate of votants grew up until reaching the 80%. That-is-HUGE, and SO important!

Well, my congratulations to Venezuela, for having held their elections, and having defended their democracy, which is always important for all Southamerica. And I once again express my satisfaction regarding Chavez’s victory in them.

Thanks for reading,

-Mila.

We won’t give in

Yes, yes, I know, I didn’t post last Friday. I’m not a responsible person, yet I made a promise. So I apologize. But gee, have things been crazy here!

So, remember my Staying Strong post? That one was more of a ‘keep it up’ post; in this one, though, I plan on expanding on what’s really going on.

Now, please take in mind, this whole thing may have been happening since this year, but, after all, I’m not in the middle of the conflict, and the information I get is a lot, different, and always confusing. So I’ll act as a filter for you guys, and try and pick from what I know not to make you as confused as some of us are.

To start with, most of us students know since last year about a curricular change in the whole country’s education. It’s a national program that will change the way we study and see school, as well as our preparation for when we finish it. It consists of many new things, but the part that concerns us is the ‘specialization’ of graduations, and their ‘equalization’.

Back in the 90’s, at the peak of neo-liberal policies here, education was seen as a ‘extra spent’ for the central state, for which reason the national government of that time decided it wouldn’t spend any more money on national schools, and would make the provinces take care of them. From there on, national schools ceased to exist, to be replaced by provincial schools. This was awful for education, as there wasn’t a unified curriculum anymore, and people from one province would end up knowing totally different things from people from another. It also meant lesser founds for schools.

This ‘equalization’ program plans to bring the ‘national’ idea of a school back, with the additive of different specializations from each school, that would bring up graduates prepared for specialized jobs.

There are many things right and wrong with this project; but it’s not my job to analyze the national bit of it any further.

You see, every province is meant to apply this to its schools as it sees fits. The Autonomic City of Buenos Aires counts as such too, so it is expected to oblige.

The thing is, the way they’re doing stuff here, isn’t precisely ‘the right way’.

The city’s government has already presented its action plan to apply this measures at the beginning of the year. Without any kind of consultation with the educational community in the least. This isn’t how things are supposed to/have been working all this time. Not only were we not consulted over how we thought they should proceed, but also, their plan of action makes the schools that were ALREADY specialized to lose part of their special education, leaving their graduates with a title that doesn’t let them work when they get out of school.

And yes, some types of specialized schools survived the 9o’s. Technic schools here are of much prestige, and VERY hard to finish. People who graduate from a technical school are ‘Technicians’, men and women prepared to lead a construction efficiently, and halfway-through becoming an engineer. They are pretty hardcore, yes.
There are also commercial schools here, with its students being prepared for basic tasks a public accountant can perform.

Now then, why would someone go through that kind of education? Isn’t it enough to just go to a basic secondary school and THEN go to university? They’d end up with a higher title anyways, right?

Well, yes, but there are many kids here who either come from a humble family, or have to start taking care of themselves, or simply don’t want to attend university, which is fine. These schools make sure that, if that’s their thing, they can at least get a well-remunered job doing specialized stuff. Also, in a country which is developing its industry and construction further, having good technical schools is important.

Well, Buenos Aires city’s government’s plan of action makes sure that kids that graduate from these schools no longer have the possibility to access such job positions, making it almost obligatory for them to go to university to get them again. Not cool, is it?

Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the government just listened to our complaints once and said ‘oh, my bad, come here and I’ll explain what this is about’.
Their attitude, though, was more of a ‘lol, you wanna know? Well too bad! I’ll tell this to you, and this to you, and make you fight over the confusing information I’ve given you. Also, about the participation on the measures? Keep on dreaming, lololol’.

Yeah… Kinda like that.

Since the beginning of the year, technical schools’ students have been protesting in front of the city’s legislative building, and in front of its Ministry of Education, aside from the usual manifestations the students always do. They haven’t been answered- scratch that, they haven’t even been heard yet.

After many months of failed attempts to have a word with the government, of  manifestations and protests, they were pushed to take the most extreme measures: take the schools.

I’m sure I’ve already said so before, but taking a school isn’t pretty, nor fun. It’s exhausting, and very difficult to do properly. The mass media attacks you constantly, not to mention your health goes from bad to worse every passing day, between having to sleep on the cold and hard floors, the crappy food, the staying up arguing in assemblies, etc. Not a nice experience. But sometimes, it’s the only way to make these people listen.

This week, the taken schools counting reached 56. Fifty-six taken schools in all of Buenos Aires. That’s a lot, believe me.

And, as I saw coming, the option to take MY school came up too. These last three days there have been assemblies, discussions, and voting; at the end of the day, the ‘not-taking’ option won, but now, the whole school is movilized by the situation. Yesterday’s students’ centre reunion was quite exciting, honestly.

So yes, that’s pretty much what’s been happening. These last few days, full with fun and interesting debates -of which I clearly took part- and many ideas floating around, only made my decision on life clearer. I really love all this. Call me crazy, I know.

Yesterday, we cut a big avenue and made a music festival there to let people know about what’s going on. Right now, I’m about to leave for a massive march with people from every taken school, and many more, as well as people from universities. Wish us luck!

1- Bellas Artes (Rogelio Yrurtia)
2- Bellas Artes (Lola Mora)
3- Bellas Artes (Manuel Belgrano)
4- Cerámica 1 (Bulnes)

5- Cerámica (Fernando Arranz)
6- Danzas 1 (Nelly Ramicone)
7- Danzas 2 (jorge Donn)
8- Teatro 1
9- Música (Juan Pedro Esnaola)
10- Comercial 8 “Patricias Argentinas”
11- Comercial 11 (Peralta)
12- Comercial 16 (Gabriela Mistral)
13- Comercial 23 (Doctor Luis Agote)
14- Comercial 30 (Doctor Esteban Agustín Gascón)
15- Escuela de Comercio Nº 33 D.E. 18 “Maipú”
16- Liceo 4 (Remedios de Escalada)
17- Jardinería (Cristóbal María Hicken)
18- Lenguitas
19- Lenguas vivas
20- Larroque
21- Juan B Justo
22- Media 1 (Cortázar) D.E. 12 – Bogotá 2759
23- Media 2 (Che Guevara) D.E. 13 – Lacarra 1151
24- Media 2 (Rumania) D.E. 17 – Manuel Porcel de Peralta 1437
25- Media 3 (La Padilla) D.E. 7 – Padilla 1051 :)
26- Media 3 (Antonio Devoto)
27- Media 4 (Nicolás Avellaneda)
28- Media 7 (Falcone) D.E. 9 – Yerbal 25
29- Nacional 3 (Mariano Moreno)
30- Nacional 17 (Primera Junta)
31- Nacional 19 (Luis Pasteur – El Nacho)
32- Normal Superior 6 (Vicente López y Planes)
33- Normal Superior N° 7 “José María Torres
34- Normal Superior 8 (Julio Argentino Roca)
35- Normal Superior 10 (Juan Bautista Alberdi)
36- Normal 11
37- Normal Superior en Lenguas Vivas 2 (Mariano Acosta)
38- Normal Superior en Lenguas Vivas (Sofía Esther Broquen de Spangenberg)
39- Técnica 1 (Otto Krause)
40- Técnica 2 (Magnasco)
41- Técnica 6 (Fernando Fader)
42- Técnica 8 (Paula Albarracín de Sarmiento)
43- Técnica 9 (Ingeniero Luis Augusto Huergo)
44- Técnica 11 (Manuel Belgrano)
45- Técnica 13 (Ingeniero José Luis Delpini)
46- Técnica 17 (Brigadier General Cornelio Saavedra)
47- Técnica 27 (Yrigoyen)
48- Técnica 30 (Norberto Piñero)
49- Técnica 32 (San Martín)
50- Técnica 35 (Ingeniero Eduardo Latzina)
51- Técnica 37 (Hogar Naval Stella Maris)
These are 51 out of the 56 schools taken right now. Keep it up guys! Almost every student in the city supports your cause, and is fighting right beside you!
Thanks for reading.
-Mila.

Staying strong

Ok, I have an hour and twenty seconds left to post something while it’s still Friday. I gotta hurry.

(It’s Sunday now. I’m disappointed at myself)

Usually, I do this while at school, because my philosophy teacher always misses her 80 mins long class on Fridays, thus leaving us with a free hour with nothing to do. So, as my inspiration usually rises at school, I take the chance to go to the library, and ask for a computer to write something quickly.

But, today this friday, I didn’t have any school. Today This Friday was a free day for secondary and university students, as it is was ‘Students’ Day’ -yes, the same day when Spring starts over here.
It’s a pretty big deal for us students of Argentina.

We usually meet up and go to a park, as it’s generally a beautiful day, and spend the day there. We have a little picnic, and then spend the afternoon eating sweets, drinking mate, chatting about whatever, and playing voleyball, or football (what some of you, northamerican readers, sometimes call ‘soccer’. I’m not calling it like that, though, cause it’s football here. Well, actually, it’s futbol, but let’s leave it at that). Almost every group of students in Buenos Aires, and I think in the rest of Argentina happens the same, takes the opportunity to have a nice day out.

This Friday, though, some students couldn’t spend the day outside, in a park. Some students had to spend their students’ day indoors, at school; because, since the beginning of the week, around 20 schools in Buenos Aires have been ‘taken’ by their students, as a protest against this city’s government’s decitions in education.

‘Taking’ one’s school isn’t something pretty, nor funny. It’s a forcefull action full with sacrifice and times of true sorrow. Sleeping on the cold floor, eating crappy food bought with some money from every student there, making sure trouble or disturbs don’t rise up between the students, or the outsiders, taking on the attacks from the media… That’s not something a teen should be going through.
And yet, these students are brave enough to step up, after months of indiference from the city’s government, to take responsability for their own public, free, and dignifying education.

This isn’t a post to talk about what the problem is, but to honour these guys. I’ve been through all that, and I know how much it can hurt. Stay strong. Last time, this was the only way to make people actually listen to us. It’s sad that we had to come to this again, but worry not, as now the city will know.

Fuerza, y no abandonen, que la cosa sigue.

Thanks for reading.

-Mila.

 

Conclusions on my career choice

It’s funny. I’ve been struggling with that tedious decision of ‘what to study after high school’ for two years now, complaining that it was inhuman to make a teen choose what he or she wanted to do for the rest of her/his life at such a young age, telling myself I didn’t need to worry about that, and worrying still, and going from Meteorology to History, going through Psicology and even Enology in the middle.

And now that I’ve taken a ‘final decision’, if that even exists, everything seems so normal, so natural. It almost feels as if every minute, every second, I’ve spent thinking about this subject, was there for a reason from the very beginning.

Now, when people ask me, I can proudly say ‘yes, I’m studying Politics next year’, and feel completely used to that choice.

Deciding an' stuff

I still feel I was forced to face some stuff I wasn’t supposed to at my age, and that I went deeper in analysing myself than I was intended to all along. But I’m still happy about all this.

But, if you ask me how I got to the conclusion that Politics was the best option for me, I wont say anything about having good job opportunities, or it being interesting to study. All my options were like that.

No. For me, the question that made me get to this decision was the following:

In what field of study and work can I rest assured I will NEVER get bored?

As naturally as breathing, the answer came to me: Politics.

And thus, in a few weeks, I’m gonna go sign up for Buenos Aires’ University, to start next year.

And, even though this took me long to reflect over, I still know this isn’t my final decision. I can still change my mind as many times as I want to, and study something else.

There’s no need to worry so much.

I’m writing this, partly because I’m bored at school cause the teacher is absent, and partly because I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there still struggling with this tremendous decision.

Relax. Take e-ea-sy.

You can do it. Just let it flow.

Thanks for reading,

-Mila.

Transgenics and all that jazz II

This is an answer to Nurulthecook’s reply on my previous post about transgenics. I decided to make it into a post, mostly because it was too long, and also because this gives me the chance to clarify some stuff I couldn’t talk about in the previous one. Her opinion was this:

I’m currently against! So many reasons. I love my food natural. Preferably without chemicals fertilizer or pesticides. I don’t swear by organic. Because organic may start off meaning well, but in the end it has to go through a long chain of companies meaning people. And unfortunately for some people money means more than ethics. So sticking an organic label on normal non organic produce is very easy-and possible to do by the distributor (to name just one). This was the personal experience of a late friend of mine.

Now when it comes to genetically altered food-(I can see you taking apart all my arguments already;-)) I doubt that the companies that supply the seeds will ever tell you about any problems health or environment related. I don’t trust corporations. Most only want to suck the people dry of every last ounce of blood they have-only to come back and sell you your blood back at five times the price.

The genetic alteration can, I think pass onto people. Maybe it would have adverse affects in the future. But then most of the fruit in the west has been modified or altered genetically already (and many taste crap!). But we still eat it. There are a lot of sick people in the western hemisphere of the world. And food is just one cause of this.

There is enough food in the world to feed everyone. It’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And now with the speculation on food in the financial markets and the drive to make biofuel from food we eat……the prices will go up again. And the poorest in the world will suffer.

Maybe I’m wrong. I just have this idea of ALL of the worlds seeds eventually becoming corporately owned. And the diversity of certain edible plants has already dwindled to just a few. So when nature makes it’s call on the plants-the fittest and strongest will survive. If there are only a few varieties-then the odds are against that plant surviving.

This is becoming a post…..

In the modern world, currently globalized, and with vestiges of the post-fordism ways for producing, there is no ‘natural food’. Every veggie, fruit, or cereal you’ve had in the last, say, 20 years, has been modified from it’s original self by humans in one way or another. This isn’t something necessarily bad, though.

Take corn, for example: an oleaginous plant original from the American continent. When Europeans got here for the first time, this cultive was one of the most important for the originary people from here (Mexican food now-a-days is a living culinary example to this). But the plant was different then: it had many fewer seeds when it reached maturity. And I’m talking about having between 8 to 16! Think of the present corn plant, and you see that’s just crazy.
When Europeans discovered how useful this plant was, they started cultivating it too. But, what they did was something different as well. They started crossing for reproduction only those plants with more than 10 seeds, for example. After a few years, they had only plants with more than 10 seeds, so they started crossing between plants with more than 15. This went on until, at some point, every corn plant cultivated everywhere was like the one we use today.
That, Nuru, was the way the ‘genetic modification’ from that time worked.

Apart from this, no one cultivates anything for mass-production without using either lots of chemicals, or either transgenic seeds. That, unless you cultivate ‘organics’.

Now, let’s analyze every one of these options, shall we?

Chemicals, such as plaguicides, fertilizers, an the likes.
When you are an agropecuary investor, or producer, your cultives are bound to face a lot of dangers -but you can’t allow any of those to affect your production, or else, you lose money, and producing becomes unprofitable. In order to make sure none of the many variants of nature leave producers without their money, they’ve developed many helpers.

Fertilizers replenish the soil’s natural nutrients and minerals, the ones it looses when cultivating the same plant various times. If a producer performs mono-cultives (meaning, he produces one ONE kind of plant), then the soil could become unuseful and spoiled, and cultivating there wouldn’t be profitable. Do you imagine what would happen if, in every piece of land we cultivate in, the soil would become like that after a few years? We couldn’t reach the global production we have now-a-days, making hunger a MUCH bigger problem. Fertilizers are there, in part, because of this. Of course, they also give plant a bust, but what’s really important about them is their enviromental role.

Pesticides, on the other side, are there to fight one big problem nature throws at us, and that has caused many loses during the centuries. Im talking about plagues. There’s not much depth into them other than they kill bugs and plants that ruin a cultive.
The problem there seems to be with this, is that they can be quite toxic. That is, if not used properly. Every land owner that buys a pesticide to use, is aware of the instructions, because they come with the package: it has to be diluted in a certain quantity of water, for it to harm the pests, but not the humans.
And I mean it, people! Hard and meticulous studies have been performed on every pesticide there is, and they have been proven not to be toxic when used properly. The problem is, there isn’t really a normative or regulation on it’s use. Labs just trust their clients to do the right thing, for all I know, which might not be very efficient, as we all know.

All in all, chemicals have been a big part of what we call ‘the green revolution’, which proved that a piece of land’s productivity isn’t decided merely on it’s extension, but on the technical advances that we can use in it.

Transgenics. I’ve already explained quite a lot about them, but I guess I could keep on writing for a while longer.
Transgenics are usually made by taking one particular gen from a certain plant, which gives this plant a certain characteristic that makes it good against extreme temperatures, or a certain plague, or makes it use less nutrients from the soil, or something else, and to insert it in the genetic code of the plant we want to cultivate in mass.
That’s all there is to it.

Soy field

Soy field. A normal view in Argentina’s countryside.

Now, the process takes a long, long time. First, scientists need to find that specific plant with that specific characteristic they’re looking for. After that, they have to decode their DNA. Now comes the first experimental stage, which is adding or subtracting to that DNA chain until they find that particular gen that gives this plant that particular characteristic. This could take YEARS.
Now, let’s say they find it, and now they’re ready to insert it in, for example, a soy bean! Or are they?
The second experimental part of this process is trying to add this gen to this soy’s DNA sequence. This could work or not, they don’t really know before trying. After adding it to every possible position in the chain, let’s say they find the position that actually works with the soy bean. Ok, so now, they need to actually make the seed containing that modified DNA chain.
This, after many tries, leaves you with some growing soy, that you have to immediately start cloning. Why? Well, because you need many exactly identical samples of this plant, because if it breeds with another one, then you lost years of work!
So the soy plants start growing, and they make sure they breed between each other. After many years of hard work, you have the first actually cultivable seeds of the modified soy bean! Now, you can sell it to…! No, actually you can’t, because you need to go through many testes and applications, that, here, usually take between 3 and 8 years, for it to be approved to be commercialized.

And that’s, pretty much, how transgenic seeds are accomplished! Though it’s actually much harder and complicated than that!

What many people say about transgenics, is that they’re afraid that, as they are genetically modified, they will mutate their DNA as well.
Now let me ask you a question: when you eat meat, do you suddenly start becoming a cow? Or, when eating an ‘organic’ lettuce, do you feel like your skin becomes green, and you suddenly feel like doing photosynthesis?
The answer to those is ‘no’. And the answer is ‘no’, because we can’t actually ‘absorb’ the DNA of what we eat, much less to ‘add’ that non-absorbed DNA into our own. That just doesn’t make sense. So no, eating a transgenic plant wont make you into a monster or a plant. Not more than eating meat makes you into a cow.

Organics. When I hear someone bragging about how they ‘only eat organic food’, I can’t help but shamelessly laugh. What do you define as ‘organic’, really? A plant that wasn’t modified by men? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but as I explained in my introduction, we already modified most of what we cultivate from it’s original self already.
A plant that wasn’t cultivated with any chemicals? I would never eat something like that, because, if pesticides weren’t used on it, then that means that plant was exposed without any defense to any kind of bug or possibly toxic plant. Not very appealing, is it?
And not having consumed any fertilizer, means that the plant may or may not have had a disease during it’s growth, as it’s defenses weren’t reinforced. It also means that it may not have acquired every nutrient it needed, making it’s growth insufficient, and it’s nutritive value decrease.

An ‘organic’ plant isn’t healthier, greener, or better than the average one. It’s actually probably less safe than the average. Pay a lot of attention the next time someone talks about how they only eat organic, and try to guess if they have any idea of what they’re talking about.

Well, I don’t want to make this into a rant, so I think I’ll stop right here. My thanks to Nurulthecook for her answer in the previous post about transgenics, which gave me the drive this write this sequel. I always appreciate any opinion or doubt you have about the posts!
(Do check out Nurul’s blog, it’s pretty cool. Even for someone with the cooking skills of a rock, such as me).

Oh, by the way, I think I’ll start posting on Fridays periodically, and maybe add random posts around the week. But Fridays will be obligatory for me!
Well, thanks for reading, and see you next week.

-Mila.