What I Wish My Grandmother Knew

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my grandmother Gwen.  When I wear her pink fuzzy nightgown, when I pass the photos of her in my house.  She was a glamorous woman who happened to spend much of her life farming (organically) with my granddad on Goldstream Berry Paradise.  She loved the feel of the Earth in her hands.  Here she is on the farm:

GWEN-20hay-20field-20copy

Here she is after she retired in California.

Gwen with cigarette holder 1960

I’m going to leave that image of My Grandmother up.  Because that is the way I’d like to remember her.  I don’t want to envision her with breathing tubes, oxygen wheeled to her bed.  Suffering agony with each and every breath.

Granny was a smoker.  At the time it was perfectly normal to smoke.  Doctors even encouraged it in pregnant patients as a form of stress release.  Scientists and doctors were in consensus that it was perfectly safe.  Granny smoked for all her life thinking that it was good for her.  Black Cat Court tipped cigarettes. When she quit in the 70s, she got emphysema which was brought on due to a genetic pre-condition called Alpha-1-Anti- Trypsinase.  She died when I was 13.

Later when I went to The University of Chicago, I met Pascal, my French husband.  He was a social smoker (everyone in France and their dog smoked at the time!) and I remember our raging scientific debates when we first met.

“You’re studying science Gurdeep, you know better.  You just can’t equate correlation wiz causation,” he would say in his delightful French accent.  (It was so fun to argue with him, given how he would mispronounce common words.)

“I don’t need scientific proof that cigarettes cause damage.  You’re putting smoke and tar in your lungs when you breathe it in.  On that basis alone you should agree with me.”

He didn’t, suggesting that the scientists couldn’t attribute smoking with cancer because correlation doesn’t equal causation.  He was proved wrong when the tobacco industry whistle-blowers came out.  Big tobacco spent years and years covering up and discrediting reports science and data that smoking was perfectly safe.  Common sense dictates.

There is a parallel between Big Tobacco and with what’s going on in Big Biotech/Big Agriculture.  In this case the public is being told that there’s no harm in using the Pesticides and Herbicides, that there is no link between cancer and GMOs, despite peer-reviewed mounting evidence to the contrary.  GMOs have never been tested in humans.  Every peer-reviewed, long-term study of GMOs gives off red flag warnings.  We should be banning this stuff, not growing more of it.  There is no consensus among the scientific community for safety of GMOs yet Big Biotech and Big Agriculture continues to pour toxins into the soil, water and air.

I shocked a bright engineer friend yesterday when I told him that GMO Yields don’t increase and pesticide use has gone up 10 fold.  “Why are we growing them then?” he asked, “If what you say is true that GMOs don’t increase Yields and don’t decrease Pesticide use?”

Why indeed?

Why do you think that the grass root are ablaze?

Don’t just take why word for it. Here is a link to Just the Science of GMOs.  GM-Crops-just-the-science (1)

Tomorrow Washington States votes on whether to GMOs should be labelled.  Vote Yes on 522.  Although this measure won’t ban GMOs or stop their production, it will allow consumers to make informed decisions about the hidden GMOs in their food.  It follows international standards for GMO labelling.  Knowledge is power.  It could save your life over the long-run, the health of your nearest and dearest.

I wish my grandmother knew the perils of smoking, that they weren’t covered up by the tobacco industry.  Today is Granny’s birthday.  I wish she had lived to hear me record my grandfather’s songs, meet her grandchildren who share her love of music and her dramatic flair for life…..  I wish I could just hug her.  Usually I say a word to her silently on her Birthday.  If I remember I call my dad.

This year I dedicate this post to her.

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