Hawaii is on a mission to label GMOs. More than that, the pure food groups would like to kick Monsanto right off the islands. A big demonstration at the capital on Jan. 15 coinciding with the opening of the legislative session got things going followed up by the Vandana Shiva tour.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is one of the rock stars of the food movement world wide and we were lucky enough to get seats for her talk Wednesday night at the amazing Salvation Army Joan Kroc Community Center in the Kapolei area. This $133 million community center was something to behold and it’s too bad that MacDonald’s Joan wasn’t into healthy food. Then, perhaps, her $1.6 billion gift might have gone to an organization like Hawaii Seed. It’s ironic that a hamburger-funded facility hosted such an event which also featured the very impressive Andrew Kimbrell from the Center for Food Safety and Walter Ritte the guy who got the military to stop practice bombing the island of Kahoolawe.
In many ways, the GMO issue is the most important political issue of our time. Topics like Right to Life and Gun Control get more press but are side shows. Because, everything is about food. And, as it is with so many other things the public has been sold a load of crap by corporate interests to modify our behavior so they can make more money.
Both Dr. Shiva and Mr. Kimbrell made the point that our modern food system of chemical monocroping is a continuation of WWII. The big chemical companies did really well with explosives. Sadly, the same materials used for bombs can be turned into fertilizer. Farmers were convinced to use these modern methods to increase yield. Shiva pointed out that it’s all about control and the strategy of the chemical industry has been to “Occupy the Seed.” If you control the seed you control the farmer and the food and the public will be forced to eat what you present to them. Patenting seeds, plants and animals and genetic engineering are tactics in the stategy of occupying the seed. (The chemical industry has succeeded in morphing the phrase “genetic engineering” to the less inflammatory GMO or “genetically modified organism”).
All of us need to learn a lot more about the hazards of GMO. There are no studies to determine the side effects. Modern agriculture has convinced most of the world that to feed the billions their chemistry will be required. The sad truth is that chemical agriculture makes us sick, destroys the soil and affects the culture and local economy by undermining traditional food systems.
Here’s the exciting thing about the food issue: it’s a political issue that you can do something about immediately. This minute. You can decide to never eat genetically engineered food. You can decide to grow some of your own food. You can decide to boycott any store that sells unlabeled GMO products. You can decide to support local agriculture and local farmers. You can contribute to organizations working to defeat Montsanto and the other four or five giant chemical companies who have worked so diligently to turn their war chemicals into fertilizer and who are determined to control the world’s seed stock.
Makana, one of our favorite Hawaiian performers opened the show. He’s written a number of anti GMO anthems and sung for us last evening. Here are the last few stanzas:
Monsanto and the others all make great claims
Of feeding the world… and pests they overcame
But yields are shrinking and the pests are getting bigger
And no one knows what’s coming cause they pulled an early trigger
Remember the butterflies and bees that all died
And the quarter million farmer suicides
You think you might start asking why?
So many living things would die from a thing that’s meant to save the world
The makers of Agent Orange and Roundup too
Were all excited over a new breakthrough
Just before their patent on herbicide was up
They found a way to keep farmers drinking from their cup
They built their product right into the crop
Turned Mother Nature into their own shop
Now they can patent your food
While family farmers are sued for the crime of saving their seeds
And all the cheerleaders talk of ending world starvation
But it ain’t from lack of food, it’s from economic segregation
They say Genetic Engineering is old as growing food
But we know it ain’t the same in fact it’s way more crude
It ain’t science when you’re aiming a gun
And praying the DNA don’t come undone
They’re playin’ cowboy with our genes
Ignoring all the unforeseen risks, they made a laboratory of the world
50 nations label transgenic food
But out here in the US the consumer’s gettin’ screwed
It didn’t change the price of food to label it elsewhere
Now they’re spending millions just to keep us unaware
This is the story of the GMO
It’s on your plate and you probably don’t know
There never was a dry run
Put on a grocery shelf, not one test to prove the safety of the food