If you haven’t already seen it, there’s an amazing video that’s gone viral of a young activist holding her own on GMO labeling with Kevin O’Leary. Her passion and knowledge of the subject demonstrate that all age groups realize the importance of truth in labeling.
The Initiative 522 in Washington State will be on the ballot this November, letting the voters of that state decide if all GMO foods will be labeled. This initiative has a good chance of winning as recent polls indicate 66% of the public supports the measure. Washington State has a good history of passing groundbreaking policies and if this one passes it could be the tipping point for a national policy. Learn more about the Yes on 522 to get involved or contribute.
Unfortunately the news isn’t always positive and the biotech giants are working to make inroads into our genetic heritage even as the labeling momentum grows.
Citrus growers in Florida and California are fighting a devastating disease called citrus greening. This bacterial disease is thought to have originated in China in the early 1900s and is primarily spread by two species of psyllid insects. Organic growers in both states are working together to find alternatives to conventional control methods.
Matt McLean, of Uncle Matt’s Organic, recently noted, “We believe organic citrus farming practices can live with greening disease and is a better long term alternative than others. We build healthy soils and natural biodiversity within our groves. This leads to a healthier tree that is better able to defend itself against disease and pests.”
Yet the biotech industry is claiming genetic engineering will be required to defeat citrus greening. They want to alter the DNA of citrus trees with a different species.
ArborGen is the leading developer of biotechnology tree-seedling products. They have a pending request with the USDA to commercialize genetically-engineered, freeze-tolerant eucalyptus trees. They see GE-trees as a way to produce paper in a more cost-effective manner.
According to the Sierra Club, “The threat of GMO trees interbreeding with wild trees is extreme. While many agricultural varieties are already quite different from their ancestors of thousands of years ago, this isn’t the case with trees. And genetically engineered trees could easily become invasive.”
When trees are engineered to be herbicide resistant, it could very well produce a silent forest devoid of the natural biodiversity, such as undergrowth, birds, raccoons and deer. If you want to sign the petition to stop GE-trees, visit the Global Justice Ecology Project’s website.
The propensity to allow the biotech industry to dominate our agriculture is disrupting our relations with other countries. Sixty-four nations, including China, South Africa, and all countries in the European Union, currently require GMO foods to be labeled. The Free Trade Agreement negotiations currently underway between the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) have received considerable attention, and GMOs continue to be a sticking point.
The EU and US account for nearly half the world’s gross domestic product (GDP); this agreement would create a massive trading bloc capable of competing with China. One of the largest barriers to this agreement is the sharp disagreement on GMO products. The 28 nation European Union (EU) has for the most part banned GMO foods, while the majority of corn, soybean, sugar beets and cotton cultivated in the United States today are GMOs. Washington wants Europe to ease restrictions on imports of GMOs, but the EU is skeptical they are safe.
For the most part the majority of the news is heartening. The momentum is escalating as GMO labeling campaigns were launched in 47 states by MoveOn.org. Additionally, representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced federal legislation that would require nationwide labeling of GE products.
View the ever growing list of current state initiatives in support of GMO labeling. You can help the Just Label It Campaign reach their goal of 1.4 million signatures to be sent to the FDA. Share this Blog and all the links with your friends and family. Use social media to get the word out.
And don’t forget to tell me how your voice has contributed to the conversation on GMOs.