by Max Goldberg
The more time that you spend in the organic industry, the more you learn about what is truly going on and what you find is pretty scary.
While I try to remain as optimistic as possible, the reality is that the organic industry is under a constant existential threat from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).
Even though organic food has never been more popular, nearly 80% of the food on supermarket shelves contains GMOs and organic farmland is shrinking, a very worrisome trend. While 64 nations around the world require GMOs to be labeled, the U.S. does not. Why?
Because the ag-biotech industry has “purchased” agricultural policy in our country, by spending $572 million on campaign contributions and lobbying from 1999-2010.
Furthermore, we have a President who is fully on board the GMO-train, despite having made a campaign promise in 2007 to label GMOs.
Since taking office, not only has President Obama NOT labeled GMOs, but his administration has approved every single GMO-application that has been submitted to the USDA.
Among many others, one of the real problems with GMOs is that they contaminate everything around them. So, nature as we know it is disappearing, and our children’s food supply is going to be one big science experiment fraught with huge unknown risks.
Yet, if you think the ag-biotech industry is solely concerned with controlling the world’s food supply, think again. As I wrote about a while ago, there is now genetically-engineered grass.
But what should really frighten all of us, because of the huge ecological risks, is the emergence of genetically-engineered trees. Yes, genetically-engineered trees.
Genetically-engineered trees are very different than GM-crops, such as soybeans or corn, because they can last for decades or centuries in the wild. Furthermore, they have the potential to spoil native forests, destroy organic ecosystems, are very flammable, and will further deplete our already small and precious water supply. (The U.S. Forest Service has released findings that certain GE-trees would use twice the water of native forests.)
Humanity relies on these native forests to serve as the “lungs of the Earth,” by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. If this were somehow jeopardized, how would we survive?
ArborGen, the leading company in this space who has has a request pending with the USDA to commercialize genetically-engineered, freeze-tolerant eucalyptus seedlings and is run by ex-Monsanto executives, doesn’t seem concerned at all about any potential side effects or risks. They see GE-trees as a way to produce paper in a more cost-effective manner, regardless of the dire environmental consequences.
To learn more about what is going on with genetically-engineered trees and the recent protests that took place in North Carolina, I STRONGLY URGE you to read this eye-opening article in Z Magazine by clicking HERE.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
There are a few immediate things that you can do to help stop the ag-biotech industry from destroying our forests and ultimately our food supply.
1) Sign the petition to stop GE-trees on the Global Justice Ecology Project’s website and donate to this organization.
2) Buy fewer paper products.
3) Donate to Washington State’s GMO-labeling intiative called I-522. This is a MUST-WIN state for us, and I will be writing about this more over the next few months.
It is imperative that we not rack up two critical losses, with last year’s Proposition 37 in California and now this Washington state ballot initiative. The future of GMO-labeling in the U.S. is truly at stake here.