The massive chemical and genetically modified food (GMO, or genetically modified organisms) company Monsanto has been the subject of many protests worldwide, and one of the biggest is set to occur on May 25, 2013 at locations across the United States and the world.
Monsanto of course has been voted “The Most Evil Company in the World” several times for their current work with GMOs and of course their long, dubious history which includes the countless deaths, birth defects and more linked to Agent Orange, which was put to horrific use during the Vietnam War. They’re now the biggest player in the agriculture industry in America despite the continually growing grassroots movement against them.
While I personally am more of a subscriber to the “Pro Peace” than “Anti-War” style of protest, the need for such an event has never been more clear in this instance.
I recently had a fairly intense but respectful debate with a good friend of mine about whether or not an “anti-Monsanto” or “anti-GMO” rally and/or campaign is truly the best way to go.
On one hand, there is the school of thought that focusing on the problem creates more of that problem in the long run. It’s something I’ve begun to agree with recently and have tried to live by. That being said, Monsanto and GMOs require a different approach, for many reasons, which is why the March Against Monsanto makes a lot of sense at this time.
Why We Should March Against GMOs and Monsanto
For those of us who’ve been paying attention, it’s no secret that GMOs are a disaster for our health and the environment. A recent USDA study showed that all but one variety of GMO seed crops actually produced lower yields than non-GMO. Several studies by independent researchers have raised health concerns including organ damage, infertility and even cancer in lab animals.
And GM toxins have been found in the placentas of a large majority of pregnant women according to a Canadian study. One study by Norwegian scientists even found that GMOs cause weight gain in lab animals.
Even their go-to argument of “feeding the world” has been proven false: A recent UN study concluded that small scale and organic farming is the way to do that, and it rings more true each day with more news of super-pests and super-weeds destroying GMO crops and their yields.
While GMO companies constantly parrot the line that they are “science” based, they seem to selectively ignore and go out of their way to discredit the many studies that show how harmful and ineffective their crops really are.
Going “Pro-Organic” isn’t enough to stop or contain GMOs…Yet, Anyway
Let’s jump back to the debate I had with my friend for a second now. While his point of “we need to promote organic instead of bashing GMO” was one well taken, and I certainly agree with the first part, GMOs are different for several reasons.
First of all, GMOs are capable of cross contaminating virtually all other crops. According to Jim Gerritsen, head of the OSGATA organization in an interview with this website, GMO companies have 70 or more varieties just waiting to be approved, and unleashing them could have dire long-term consequences considering their propensity to cross contaminate similar crops.
The organic movement is growing, but it’s not to the point where we can replace enough of the GMO crops to stop them from doing damage once released into the environment. GMO growth must be contained as soon as possible so the land can begin to heal. It’s something we can build over time, but now the focus should be on stopping the bleeding.
Secondly, the power and influence of GMOs in the government must be exposed for the movement to make any progress. The current administration has appointed several former Monsanto employees to key government positions such as Michael Taylor, Tom Vilsack and others. This practice of corporate cronyism must be exposed and the March Against Monsanto rally is a great place to do it at.
Finally, the overall awareness level is still not where it needs to be in the United States to shift into the “grow organic” movement just yet. Yes, more and more people are into organic now and want to become farmers, but the general population at-large still doesn’t quite get it.
They don’t get how these dangerous, untested foods were slipped into our food supply under the cover of night. They don’t get how they lead to more chemical use and dependence and harm our health in so many untold ways. They don’t get how farmers have been sued and ran out of business time and time again by Monsanto despite a hollow non-legally binding “promise” on their website that they have broken several times. And they don’t have the faintest clue how to avoid them even if they wanted to.
Until we address the basic issues of why GMOs are one of the world’s biggest scams and gravest threats, we will never have the strength in numbers we need to make truly organic food the norm again. And unless we act soon, GMOs just might firmly entrench themselves into our lands- and bodies, for good and begin to do irreparable harm.
One of the arguments of my friend was that the general populace already knows about GMOs and already is taking steps to avoid them. But I’ve seen only scant evidence in both cases. Things are looking up, but it’s an uphill climb that will require a monumental movement because of how ubiquitous they’ve become in our food supply as part of upwards of 70% of our packaged foods.
Another friend of mine is quite aware of the GMO issue and yet at a recent party he served nothing but GMO tortilla chips when organic chips could have easily been bought.
And about a week ago, the friend with whom I had the debate joined another companion for a trip to the local market. He questioned the cashier as to whether or not an item contained GMOs because he wanted to avoid them, and the cashier responded that he was surprised because “GMOs are what makes it good.”
Until we can put a stop to incidents like this, we have no choice but to march. The goal should be to create awareness and bust as many GMO myths for all those who are willing to listen. Hopefully, the media will be among those who do listen, and we can influence them by writing letters to the editor, making calls, commenting on articles and inviting them to our events.
This fight can only be won through a massive awareness campaign, and while the GMO giants have the money (for now), we have people power on our side. It will be on full display at the March Against Monsanto rallies on May 25. Please join us.
You can find more about March Against Monsanto and their upcoming events here. You can also check out their Facebook page at this link. Check out the Non-GMO Shopping Guide here if you’d like to make better choices: http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/.