Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Join the March Against Monsanto

By: 
Sarah Elliott

 

March Against Monsanto - Three Rivers

Saturday, May 23, noon, beginning at Three Rivers Arts Center

There will be a gathering this weekend in Three Rivers to show support for the labeling of foods in the U.S. that have come from a genetically modified organism (GMO).  This grassroots effort is part of a nationwide March Against Monsanto that will occur simultaneously on Saturday, May 23.

On this day, hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals will gather across 38 countries and 428 cities to join in peaceful protest against the Monsanto Company as a part of the March Against Monsanto campaign. This movement seeks to raise awareness to the dangers surrounding Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds and cancer-linked herbicide Roundup.

The campaign comes as the demand for GMO labeling and non-GMO food alternatives continues its exponential climb, with states like Vermont enacting mandatory GM labeling legislation that will require food corporations to let consumers know if their products contain GM ingredients. The majority of corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, and sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered. To avoid purchasing GM products, buy organic (and when purchasing sugar, check the label to make sure it says “cane sugar.”).

Our modern food system is financially profitable for a few, but it is morally bankrupt for all of us. From animals whose lives are the product of unspeakable cruelty, to farm workers who are exposed to so many pesticides and inhumane conditions that their average life expectancy is 49 years, to consumers who are beset by a toxic food system that is driving epidemic rates of disease, the reality is clear: Food is killing us.

Americans are being kept in the dark about their food and the supply chain. We live in a world where junk food is considered normal. It is up to us to be educated about what we put into our mouths on a daily basis because the food corporations only care about profits.

We live in a backward civilization where the vegetables, fruits, grains, and other whole foods available for purchase are required to be labeled if they weren’t sprayed with toxic chemicals or grown with seeds manipulated at their very origin in a laboratory. When it comes to what we feed our children and ourselves, we purchase foods with no warning labels stating what residual non-food substances, including toxic chemicals, were involved in growing process.

Long ago, there was a common perception that eating fat would make us fat. So we quit eating fat and today have an epidemic of obesity. Drinking milk makes strong bones, they said, but the U.S. currently has the highest percentage of osteoporosis in the world.

These are just a couple of the hypocritical marketing ploys that have become so ingrained in our culture that we believe them as fact. And we can’t seem to break free. Toxic food is contributing to epidemic rates of illness.

Why? Because there is a lot of money and political clout behind these campaigns that are designed to do one thing: get us to eat more. 

It’s called the stomach share. And there are thousands of companies and millions of supermarket items all vying for yours. This, in turn, makes money for the corporations and their shareholders.

There is a majority of support for national GMO labeling, but it’s an initiative that has been defeated time and time again at the state level due to the massive amount of spending by Monsanto-backed lobbying groups. Currently, there is legislation before Congress (HR 1599) that, if passed, will deny states the right to pass GMO-labeling laws. Monsanto has assembled a powerful coalition of industry front-groups, led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (of which Monsanto is a member) to push the passage of this bill. 

It’s time for the people to speak, and that’s what the March Against Monsanto is about. Locally, it starts at the Three Rivers Arts Center at noon.

What you eat literally becomes you. When you say no to consuming the products of a toxic food culture, you can reclaim eating as an act of communion with your own conscience and gratitude, and with the sacred gifts of life itself. 

Welcome to the future of food.

 

ABOUT MONSANTO AND ITS PRODUCTS

Monsanto and its allies claim that GM crops increase yields and are a solution to hunger and malnutrition. But after spending billions of dollars and over 30 years of research, the promises that GM crops would feed the world and provide enhanced nutrition have proven to be an abject failure. In fact, a comprehensive study evaluating the performance of GE crops by the Union of Concerned Scientists was titled “Failure To Yield” precisely because this claim was found to be untrue.

Monsanto also claims that GM crops use fewer and safer chemicals. But GM crops have in fact increased overall usage of pesticides by hundreds of millions of pounds. More than 85 percent of the GM crops planted in the world today have been genetically engineered by agri-chemical companies like Monsanto to be able to withstand massive sprayings of the companies’ proprietary herbicides. A recent, peer-reviewed assessment based on pesticide data from the USDA shows that these crops have resulted in an increase of 527 million pounds of herbicides being sprayed in the U.S. compared to what would likely have been the case without GM crops. 

 

Monsanto and the other biotech companies spend billions of dollars in advertising, marketing, lobbying, and opposing ballot initiatives that would require GM foods to be labeled. This massive spending has perpetrated myths that are utterly false. The truth is that many credible scientists have significant concerns about the safety of these crops for human and animal consumption, and the environmental impacts are documented and alarming.

X