I've put in my 2 bits today, via Facebook's Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds blog (1), against the pending threat of unlabeled Genetically Modified foods. BCHS is a radical group in the Ozarks of Missouri, which protects heirloom seeds and speaks out about food issues in the States. They posted this article about unlabeled GM food, which I found frightening enough to share with as many people as I can (2).
It's easy to attract angry people on FB blogs, by posting an opinion. I've researched this. Sometimes I think I shouldn't express an opinion on a public forum. But public opinion tends to be expressed most vocally by radical minorities; a lot of moderates just don't speak up, perhaps knowing that eventually all issues fade into the background as new ones arise. I'm sure I've said a lot of stupider stuff when I was younger, myself, so I have a certain amount of sympathy for protestors and younger, inexperienced stupid people. But I also feel that, like Mom, I have to set things straight. Its my responsibility as an older, and formerly more stupid, person to perpetuate the species by helping them see things straight. I am old enough to remember the thalidomide horror from the 50's (3), Agent Orange defoliant from Vietnam (supposed to be safe for people, huh?), and the recent (like today) FDA renewed, upgraded, warning that Ibuprofen and it's ilk can be fatal (4).It makes good sense, if the Powers That Be screw up even once in a while on chemical malfunctions, to be skeptical of anything they say. Lifting advice from an article which I read and then lost, Nature is a slow-moving force. Give it a good 50 years of testing before messing with any tweaks of it. In addition to the uncertainty of the source, type, and reliability of testing on GM foods (or any chemicals marketed to the public; like um Roundup, recently after MANY YEARS declared the murderer of Monarch Butterflies) a great many sources have also suggested that palms are being greased to deny and forbid GM labeling. Being an American citizen, I believe these sources have a point. Some companies are probably paying big bucks to get their GM food products sold. Marketing did the incredibly unthinkable practice of fracking no good, because of all the places in Oklahoma and Texas where the ground is caving in and stuff. A great many people eyewitness that it is, in fact, a bad practice. So GM companies say, " skip trying to convert the public, just vote against labeling foods GM or OR GM-free. Let them eat it all, and don't tell them which it is." I can only hope that there are some lawmakers who also have Mom's ability to be Always Right, and invoke it, soon.
What I have come to realize about Being Right and Saving the World is that it requires more than just eye-opening counter-information. It requires the leadership abilities of Franklin Roosevelt, who talked the country into WW2 by using a fire hose metaphor. It requires the otherworldly scientific ability of a Carl Sagan, with turtlenecks and galactic-sized facts.
Most of all, it requires Herculean Cultural Re-Programming. The ability to divert a couple rivers and clean out the Augean stables, in a manner of speaking (5). We, the People of the U.S., tend to believe what our doctors tell us, what TV advertisements claim, what the FDA advises, and other things that do not come directly from Always Right sources who care for our physical well-being. Its a joke that in the U.S. we have so many choices, so much available to us, that we can afford to make choices. And we can make stupid choices and get away with them. For a while, til they catch up. As I argued with one FB blogger, giving GM food to starving people in other countries is a moot argument for not labeling GM food--starving people in other countries will take anything to not starve, even our crap. Monsanto, or some other chemical company, should consider offering free birth control along with GM products, if they really want to help people. Which they don't, they really want to make a profit. Am I right?
So I have a lot more sympathy for Mom these days. Being Always Right means swaying opinions, sorting out all kinds of screwed-up thinking, taking flak from dissenters. Mom didn't worry about backing up Right with facts, however. Her kids had to do what she told them, period. I on the other hand acquired a degree which compels me to at least make a passing effort to get some facts and line them up. I am not keen on giving space to opposing opinions, however; that training fell on barren soil. But here's where Dad genes come in: I talk to myself a lot, chew things over as he put it, until the smoke clears and things come together. Which I hope, with practice, will give me an FDR edge.
There are a lot of issues besides GM to re-program The World on. The whole plastic, illusory lifestyle of the U.S. needs some shakedown. What with growing conviction by even nay-sayers that the Earth is undergoing a 6th Mass Extinction, precipitated by humans (our era gets to be called the Anthropecene in honor of us fucking things up, almost exclusively), the Augean Stables of cultural programming needs to be cleaned up, fast. I left my day job to save the planet, so I'll keep plugging away. I'd appreciate suggestions, especially for useful public-swaying metaphors. I'm just no poet.
Here's a helpful assignment in the meantime: Boycott individual Bottled Water Bottles.
Next assignment: Composting is fun and easy.
1. Baker's Heirloom Seed Company. Radical stuff on this blog, they get really aggressive about GMOs in particular. It is fitting that they are headquartered in the Ozarks, which is as good a place as any to headquarter a Green Revolution and call down government stupidity on Food and Drugs. I follow them on Facebook, had some extended violent disagreements from people posting on their blog who( undoubtedly) work for Monsanto or it's subsidiaries, and feel that GMOs shouldn't be labeled. So I had to block several of them from my FB, hopefully preventing future Monsanto-sponsored reprisals on GM-labeled supporters. http://www.rareseeds.com/news/
2. http://www.gmwatch.org/ July 20, 2015, The top story, on glyphosphates, is scary enough, but if you're game read them all, and never never eat GM foods. Knowingly. Which might be tough if legislation is passed to forbid labeling in the U.S. This makes me think of Aspartame, which is also really harmful to health and which other countries like Japan never took up with. the U.S. embraces aspartame and now is hedging on its safety. Sheesh, like imbibing huge amounts of any chemical is fine with sheep.
3. Thalidomide, and heroine Frances Oldham Kelsey https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide#United_States
4. AARP is good info. Who knew Ibuprofen was bad for seniors? I didn't. http://blog.aarp.org/2015/07/20/new-painkiller-warning-what-does-it-mean-for-you/
5. Hercules and the 5th Labor http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/stables.html