Tired of presidential politics? Here's a local (Florida) issue that could have interesting national and international impacts:
The main focus of this election has been the presidential race, but so many other things will be on the ballot Nov. 8. In the Florida Keys, local voters will be asked whether they are in favor of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes somewhere on the islands as part of an experiment that ultimately aims to reduce the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and Zika.
Many locals are opposed to the research and have several reasons for not wanting to be exposed to the risk of a new technology: Current methods for mosquito control are working relatively well, and it’s not clear whether the genetically modified mosquitoes will be able to reduce disease, especially in the short term. People in favor of the research point to the large quantity of insecticide currently being used to keep mosquitoes at bay and the growing problem of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes as some of the reasons that new technology is necessary. The vote brings up a lot of big questions about how a society should deal with risk, particularly when it comes to new technology and public health.