GMOS IN THE ENVIRONMENT
Organic Activism in India & USA
My grandparents first connected me to my love of ecology and the land. They bought a farm in the Depression. My grandfather finally gave up farming in his eighties when he suffered a mild stroke and had to live in assisted living. I will never forget the rooster crowing every morning, the beauty of the honeysuckle flowers and the lake he owned and fished in until he had to move from this beautiful organic farm.
He used natural manure to farm. The soil was dark and rich in nutrients. The idea of using nothing but Mother Earth's bounty, rain and natural weeding methods was how he farmed with my grandmother. She took care of the chickens; canning jellies, jams, pickles and beets and cooking its bounty. They sold eggs, fruits, vegetables and Christimas trees to grocery stores. The idea of GMOs would definitely have upset my grandfather.
There is a movement in the USA to label GMOs first in the state of California. If they are labeled in California, the rest of the nation will follow. The citizen's ballot initiative is called Proposition 37. There is a strong consensus that people want foods with GMOs labeled. A recent national poll showed 91% of all Americans of all political philosophies want them labeled. The Organic Consumers Association and other grass-roots groups are supporting this issue.
It is estimated that 75%-80% of non-organic processed foods contain GMOs. Wheat, rice, soy, corn and canola are the most common GMO-laced foods. One million people signed a petition to the FDA demanding GMO labeling and yet that was rejected. This is why this citizen's proposition in California on November 6th is so important. Many foods are grown and processed in California. If they have to be labeled there, it is more cost effective to be labeled everywhere. Fifty countries already have GMO labeling laws. Monsanto, Dow, Dupont and Bayer have raised millions to oppose Proposition 37. As many of you know, they are some of the worse polluters and Junk Food Kings on the planet. By citizens getting together, we can change their labeling. When they are labeled, most people won't buy them.
There is also a petition to Michelle Obama urging Barak, her husband, to support labeling GMOs. It has been going around the facebook page. Saul Alinsky, a Chicago activist in the 60's, often would use this kind of tactic because many times the spouse could influence the person more than anyone. So the spouse was the most powerful person in bringing about social change. He successfully used this tactic many times to bring about change in Chicago.
A recent scientific paper was published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal on September 19, 2012. Scientists conducted a "2 year feeding study" where rats were fed normal corn or Monsanto's GMO corn. I feel sorry for those rats consuming the GMOs because 50% of the males and 70% of the females died prematurely compared to 20-30% of the control group. They had liver and kidney damage and their DNA was also altered in their gut baceteria. Rats are similar to humans biologically. This is why they are often used in medical research.
Unfortunately, Okangan, a Canadian company, has developed a GMOs apple, which does not brown when sliced. This could eventually be used in American produce. It shows you how crazy people can get when wanting so-called perfection in their foods.
On September 5, 2012 the Third World Network Biosafety Information Service posted an article on line entitled, "India Parliament Recommends A Ban on Genetically Engineered Crops." Right now, the only approved GMO crop in India is Bt cotton. The article had a lot of details about the costs per acre of conventional cotton vs. GMO. The GMO Indian farmer was expending a lot of money; anywhere between 15,000 Rs to 45,000 Rs per acre vs.10,000 for conventional cotton. The yield increases did not hold up after the first year and farmer indebetness and suicide is higher in Bt cotton regions.
Many varities of rice, brinjal and mustard originated in India. The Himalayas and Western Ghats have rich biodiversity which are also ecologically fragile and sensitive. GMOs would destroy this biodiversity, which is one India's strengths in farming.
The Parlimentary Committee on Agriculture asked the Indian government to stop field trials and recommennd a ban on GMO foods. The GMO crops only benefit industry, but not the farms nor the general public was their conclusion. Their safety is in question. Mahyco's license for Bt cotton seed was cancelled by the state of Maharastra's government because of its misinforming officials on the availability of Bt seeds. Ayurvedic practioners also complained about the effects of GMOs on the herbal and medicinal plants grown near the area. The committee recommended an independent regulator. The ministry of consumer affairs ruled that all GMOs in food must be labeled. They recommended not introducting GMO food.
Mother Earth feeds us with her bounty. Taking care of her is very much a part of the Vedic/Ayurvedic tradition. India is wise to ban these substances. Some people think there is a connection between the disappearance of butterflies and GMOs. What you do to one part of the web you do to all. Pure foods from the goddess herself is what we should be consuming. She knows the best way to bring great, pure foods for plants, animals and humans. We, as citizens of the USA, India and the world, must say no to GMOs. The goddess has always been good to us, so we need to be equally good to her.
JAI SHRI BHUMI! JAI SHRI MOTHER EARTH!