GMOs-who decides?Have we missed something? Do you remember any big demand by consumers for tomatoes having the anti-freeze qualities found in the blood of flounders? Surely we would have noticed if Congress passed a law giving the right to alter and patent all life on this planet to some big corporation.
By Jan Edwards
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is created when scientists take the DNA from one species and splice it into the DNA of another life form. This is completely different from the millennia-old cycle of plant breeding where farmers save seed from plants that exhibit desired traits. Altering genetic material violates the scientific and common sense "Precautionary Principle." Shouldn't we be certain something is safe before we turn it loose on the whole world?
Who is making these decisions? "Frankenfoods" are being pushing down the throats of people everywhere by multinational corporations. Global protests from South America to the European Union pit small farmers and the concerned consumer against these giant corporations and their enforcer mechanisms such as the WTO (World Trade Organization), and other "free trade" agreements.
And more importantly, who should be making these decisions? The United States lags behind the rest of the world in taking action against GMO crops, but even here people are starting to organize. Mendocino County voters have begun the process to place an initiative on the ballot, the first of its kind in the nation, that will create a "Prohibition on the Propagation, Cultivation, Raising and Growing of Genetically Modified Organisms in Mendocino County." (See sidebars.)
As citizens of the United States, we can educate ourselves to assert local control over our food, health, economy and environment. We can take inspiration from the people around the world who are standing together to say no to GMOs.
Jan Edwards, a member of the Challenge Corporate Power, Assert the People's Rights Campaign of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, lives in Point Arena.
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