Tag Archives: March Against Monsanto

The March


I was so stoked to see so many marchers in Victoria today!

Unfortunately I was only able to stay for a short time. But in that brief time, we marched as if our lives depended on it.  And they do!  Wanting to spread a positive message, our signs read We Didn’t Grow Up Eating GMOs.  Why Should You? Our Grandmas Didn’t Grow Up Eating GMOs.  Why should We?  Misty and I were dressed like our glamorous grannies in 1950s garb with our signs held up by Wooden Kitchen Spoons.

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With Rachel, fellow fighter for food democracy.  DSC_0305 DSC_0322 DSC_0324 DSC_0326

 

Video of My First Rally Speech

“Courage is about doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”

– Eddie Rickenbacker

Until May 25th 2013, I had never addressed a crowd at a rally.  I was scared and prepared my speech for days.  Speaking at a rally is something I had never seen myself doing.  I like to sing songs in front of people, stir up lyrical and melodic beauty, make people laugh (or cry) – with song.  I have never considered myself an activist.  But I suppose I am becoming an activist if it means that I want to know what’s in and on my food that I then put in my body.   At this time in history, we are activists in N. America if we want to know whether our food has GMOs in them.

64 countries in the world either ban GMOs or require them to be labelled.  There are countless compelling reasons for this.  I realized that if I didn’t do something, how could I rely on others to speak for me, address my concerns?  More selfishly, if I didn’t take some kind of action, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, knowing that our bees are dying, our waters are being poisoned and our soils destroyed by GMO agriculture.  Every independent study shows that toxins from GMOS are in our blood and our urine.  These are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors   These are poisons.   They are toxic.  They are in our foods because the companies making them did 3 month-long rat studies saying that they were safe for humans.  This ‘scientific evidence’ was rubber stamped by the FDA.  Europeans and others did similar studies and came to drastically different conclusions.  GMO have never been tested on humans.  The promise of GMOs reducing pesticide use was quickly deconstructed.  I was speaking with two young French biology students yesterday who told me that GMOs were necessary to reduce pesticide use.  What they were not being told was that even with plants that have a pesticide spliced in the gene, farmers still dump copious amounts of pesticides.  I’m going to send them the data this morning to convince them.  The use of pesticides is ever exponentially increasing.

Like the Moms who are marching across America (Moms across America March to Label GMOs) to demand mandatory labelling of GMOs I see Canadian moms following the common sense of our American sisters.  We must stand up for our poisoned soils and waters.

Someone posted this 12 min clip of my Speech at the March Against Monsanto

There are a couple errors.  For the record, I have an Honours BA in Biology from the University of Chicago.  I have an MA in Biopsychology also from The University of Chicago.  I began Doctoral Studies in Cellular Biology in Neurobiology at the University of Barcelona but left after a year.  I have one co-authored scientific article on Rat Behaviour.  All that said, I dont consider myself a “Biologist” not being an academic and not having completed my doctorate in Neurobiology.  Also the bug study In the GMOs versus organic fields wasn’t an independently reviewed study.

My favourite part of the speech is at the end when my daughter leaped into my arms, wearing her favourite green GMO shirt with three armholes.  She likes to put her leg through the third armhole.  The T-shirts, made by Nature’s Path Foods say, “GMO shirts are easy to spot, GMO foods aren’t.”

Demand labelling, demand your right to know what is in your food.

If it’s scary and you feel like you’re becoming an activist, welcome to the club.  What can be more important than how we treat others, how were treat our Mother Earth?  What we put on our bodies?  What we put in our bodies?

You tell me.

Media

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

– Anne Frank

So many cameras and phones were out filming and clicking in Victoria on Saturday.  I don’t know the numbers but the march spanned blocks!  I say around 1000 people were there.  Maybe more!   So many great moments caught on camera.  I ran into photographer Simon DesRochers for the first time on Wednesday evening.  I told him about the March against GMOs.  And he came!  And he took some of the best photos I’ve seen of the Victoria March Against Monsanto.  Check them out on facebook.  Here is my favourite:

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Everyone who begins to grasp what GMOs are starts asking, “Hang on – do I really want to eat these?”  “Do I want my kids to eat these?”  “Do I want my neighbour to eat these?”  Then you say, “Well…. maybe there are people out there who think they are fine (just maybe)….  Like those people who choose to smoke, for example.  I mean, how telling is it that in at least one Monsanto cafeteria, the food service company removed GMOs from the menu?  But how do you know if the food you eat has them or not?  If they are not labelled, how on Earth can we know besides doing a genetic test or pesticide residue test whether they contain GMOs.

Organic production has never allowed GMOs.  Ever.  Never.  Spreading the word is paramount.  Make a point to tell 2 new people today two things

1) GMOs are in 80% or more of all supermarket food.

2) 64 countries including China and Russia require labelling.

Tomorrow do the same.  Try to tell 14 new people about it by the same time next week.  You might be telling them the most important thing of their lives…  The right to know what’s in our food is going to define this generation.

Marvellous Misty wrote a rap about GMOs this morning.  Check it out on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNlwJJEvOP0

Change is happening.

I am seeing it daily.

Me and the Avatar Dude

“Toruk Macto, I will fly with you”

– Avatar movie by James Cameron

me and avatar

I got to pose with the Avatar Dude (aka Lekshumy McLagan) and Katreena Weileby.  Uncle Godfrey snapped this photo of us.  The amazing Avatar look-alike made me feel about 3 feet tall!  He’s a vegan chef and was handing out cards for http://ingredientshealthfood.com  A lady next to me said, “I want my husband to eat whatever he’s been eating!”  Thank you Toruk Macto  -I mean –  Lekshumy for spreading a message of hope and positivity!

Growing Food on the pavement – Logan and Kirk

“In a world where voting with your money can be an act of protest, buy from your local farms food you trust.  If you want to be totally defiant, plant seeds and grow your own food.”

– Me (today)

Change can be slow or fast.  Major change takes a critical mass of people seeing a new vision.  Today I witnessed some ‘fast’ change.  After today’s March Against Monsanto, I took a detour at the James Bay Farmer’s Market and ate some beautiful oatcakes hand-made up Island by a strapping laddie in a Scottish kilt and accent to match.  Munching on those oat cakes, I was ambling down the road when I espied a beautiful couple wrangling with a strange contraption.  Was it a bed, I wondered?  It had wood and some kind of white material at the bottom.  What was it and why were they dragging it about the paved walk in front of their house?

These people smiled at me as I walked by, putting this contraption on the ground.  “Thank you for your great speech!” they said with warm smiles.

“Glad you liked it!”  I responded slowing my gait.

“You motived us to grow vegetables!” they said still panting a bit with the effort.

“Fantastic!” I smiled, touched and was about to continue on my way.

Then it hit me.

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“Hang on,” I said backing up, “Do you mean right now?  You’re going to grow vegetables right this very minute? Because you heard what I said?  Like today?  Like an hour ago?”

“Yes!” they merrily chimed.

So…that’s what the wooden contraption was – duh!  They had made a bed to grow veggies since there was no soil in front of their house.  This was the best moment of my day.

As of 2010 in the US, 93% of soy, 86% of corn, 90% of canola (the list could go on) are GMOs and essentially mono-crops (recipe for catastrophe as every biologist knows).  Growing your own seeds and preserving biodiversity is paramount.  In the Film “Bitter Seeds” about the staggering number of Indian farmer suicides, farmers in India’s “suicide belt” cannot buy non-GMO seeds any more.  Monsanto’s promise of high GMO yields didn’t pan out.  The farmers are in perpetual debt to buy seeds they would normally save.  In a perfectly sustainable system, Indian farmers used to use cow dung for fertilizer.  They were poor but they would save their seeds and replant year after year the seeds they saved.  Now these poor and mostly illiterate farmers have to buy fossil-based pesticides as fertilizer and an abundant, stable water supply to grow these GMO seeds.  In debt and unable to climb out, these farmers drink the Monsanto pesticides as their final act of desperate misery.  At last count as per Dr. Vandana Shiva in March, there have been 278,000 (two hundred and seventy-eight thousand) of these suicides.  One Indian farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes.  May these GMO companies be brought to justice and tried at the International Court for Crimes Against Humanity. Let’s begin to digest this news of unutterable horror.  Let’s take a moment and think of all those kids without dads, mothers widowed.  Let’s take that despair and double our efforts for food democracy.

When India was fighting for independence, Gandhi suggested Indians spin their own cotton to protest the English law forcing Indians to buy only English cotton.   Like then, these are undemocratic times.  Now the pesticide companies control and patent life (after splicing in a couple toxic genes).  They own the seed companies as well and limit supply to sell seeds that need to be re-purchased every year. One simple but powerful gesture to safeguard life, biodiversity, and ourselves is to grow plants and save and share those seeds.

Logan and Kirk invited me back to see their bed when it’s blossoming.  I can’t wait.  Their positivity made me feel even more positivity and we were cycling higher and higher in this feedback loop.  If we send out the focus to the positive, we can achieve everything.  Here is the handsome couple again:

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“Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to live.” 

― Adele Brookman

My Speech at the March Against Monsanto Victoria

“The Right to Know what’s in our food is going to define our generation”

– Me (Today)

For the first time today, I gave a speech at a Protest Rally.   I spoke to a crowd covering the lawn in front of Victoria’s Parliament Buildings.  The energy was insane and I kept getting interrupted with applause.  Having been so moved since hearing Dr Vandana Shiva talk, it was motivating and inspiring to march with others, demanding our rights to know what’s in our food.  Several people afterwards asked me if I could email my speech to them.  I figured maybe it would be better to post it so anybody can find it.  I’ve also been asked about where to sign  petitions.  I am going to find that out put that information out too.  Meantime, here is my talk.

“I speak to you as a friend and as a mother who is sick to her stomach with this GMO madness. My Grandparents and great- grandparents farmed here on Vancouver Island. Grandpa Rupert said “Always leave the Soil better than you found it”.

I am here today because I met Dr Vandana Shiva, winner of the Alternative Nobel prize and heard her talk here at UVIC. I was so upset that evening, I couldn’t sleep. I was inspired and inflamed. I was so perturbed and disturbed about the current state of affairs, I wanted to get up and shout, tell people about it. We have a right to know what’s in our food. There is not enough evidence that GMOs are healthy for us. The ever-growing evidence is that GMOs are poisoning us and destroying our planet.

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First of all, GMOs stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. These are plants and animals not found in nature, created in laboratories. Once they are released into nature you can’t recall them, like opening the lid of Pandora’s Box, My Dad Arran said in 1990s, “There is no wall high enough to keep out GMOs”. There are two main types of GMOs. One type has insecticide toxin spliced into their genes. The other type is spliced with a pesticide resistance gene. So when you plant it in a field and saturate that field with pesticides and herbicides, Everything in that field dies (in theory). Everything, except for the Genetically modified plant.

We first heard about GMO foods in the 1990s with the Franken tomato with fish genes.  From then until now independent study after independent study has shown serious health and environmental and social consequences.

Animal studies show that GMOs cause : cancers, ulcers, acute signs of early aging, reproductive and growth problems.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg. GMO toxins are in our bodies. They even cross the placenta. In a 2011 study from the Scientific Journal Reproductive Toxicology, 93% of fetal blood tested contained GMO toxins. This is dangerous and as a Mother, I find this terrifying.

What is worse is that more than eighty percent of all food sold in Canadian supermarkets contains these GMOs. Eighty percent! And nobody knows about it because they are not labelled!

64 countries require GMO labeling or outright ban GMOs. 64 countries including such “Progressive Nations like China and Russia – require GMOs to be labelled. Why not US?

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My family has been at the forefront to label GMOs in North America. We are Canadians, living here in Victoria and Vancouver but so far, the fight to label has been in the US. GMOs are a problem affecting everybody, everywhere. You coming out today is a sign that Canada too is waking up.

Let me tell you about a grandmother called Pamm Larry in California. Pamm presented a proposition to label GMOs called prop 37. My family heard about this contributed 660, 000 to help her spread the word. Other companies and individuals joined us and we raised 3-4 million dollars for prop 37, the right to know. Californians wanted GMO labelling and the proposition was going to pass with a landslide. But guess what happened in the last 6 weeks of that grass roots campaign? Monsanto, Dow, Coca cola, Syngenta, Post, DuPont, Bayer, Pespico, Cascadian Farms, Kelloggs, Kashi and others donated almost 50 million dollars to defeat labelling. Those big companies and big companies posing as little companies do not want consumers to know what we are eating. They outspent the grassroots pro-labelling initiative by 10 to 1 after waging a dirty, fearful, and deceitful campaign. But guess what? they didn’t win the vote by tenfold. The final vote came down to 48.5% for labelling GMOs and 51.5% against. It wasn’t a win for Consumer Rights this time BUT it was a victory in that 6,000,000 people voted FOR labelling. That represents a ten-fold increase in awareness of this dangerous and unsustainable technology.

We are awakening and we are the droplets of water in the tides that are turning. Just this past week in Connecticut, the house approved a pro-labelling bill that went to the senate who also voted to approve it 35 to 1: Democrats and Republicans together. Concerned Citizens in Washington State and Vermont have bills on the table as we speak.

Let me tell you something neat. Scientists have come up with a way of measuring life in fields. They take this box contraption which has cameras and sensors in it and lay it in a field. It counts every time a bug or creature crawls or slithers or buzzes through it. In an organic field, there will be hundreds of insects going through there in 24 hours. Now take the same box and put it in a GMO field and guess what happens? In one 24 hour period, in that GMO field, there will only maybe one or possibly 2 insects passing that box. The animals and insects know to stay away from GMOS – or have been killed -but we don’t. ?

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I thought the Canadian government was supposed to protect us citizens.  Don’t we have the right to know what we are eating?  We must teach ourselves where to shop, how to shop, and what to buy. Tell your schools and your work places about GMOs. Make you voice heard, ask your local elected representative for help. In a world where voting with your money can be an act of protest, buy from your local farms food you trust. If you want to be totally and utterly defiant, plant seeds, grow your own food.

It’s confusing out there in the supermarket. We are being misled and confused and deliberately so. What should you eat? What should you trust? What should you avoid? Here are some shopping rules:

Avoid “Natural” if that’s it’s only claim. By itself, “Natural” means nothing nowadays. Natural means it can have pesticides and herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and GMOs.  It probably does.  There are no rules or laws regulating the term ‘Natural”.

Foods bearing the Canada Organic Seal can be trusted.  Organic is a legal definition and a traceable system with the force of law behind it.

There is a new label called Non-GMO project verified. It is third-party certified at a threshold of 9/10 of a percent contamination. If you see it on packaging, that means the food has been tested and has no GMOs. It is a step in the right direction. However, it is not all that great. Harmful and unsustainable pesticides and Herbicides are still allowed, just not the ones in GMO production. This label is being used as Greenwashing by some companies. It certainly is not as good as organic.  Organic certification has never allowed GMOs.  Never.

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When in doubt, if in doubt, buy certified organic. Organic automatically means that it’s GMO FREE PLUS it’s grown sustainably. Organic is quantum leaps better than all the other labels combined. Certified organic is the Gold Standard: No harmful pesticides, no harmful herbicides. Buying organic is safe for you and is the only way we can keep our waters and lands and soil pure.

Think of that GMO field – barren of bees and insects, silent except for farmers in biohazard suits spraying toxic chemicals on the crops. Now see an organic one. See a world where the bees are buzzing and the soil is naturally replenished. See the world where food is democratic, where the seeds are free and grow again and again and again. When you buy Organic, you support this.

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Demand GMOs to be labelled. If China and Russia and 62 other countries have done it, we can do it too. Nestle just recently caved into consumers in South Africa who demanded that its baby food be GMO free. Why did Nestle do this? Because a concerned group of citizens demanded it. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Like in S. Africa, we can do the same thing here in Canada. We must do the same thing! We are the voice! We have the right to know what’s in our food! What do we want: Labelling When do we want it: Yesterday

Dr Vandana Shiva said, “The growing of our food should be an act of love.”

And as Grandpa Rupert said “Always leave the soil better than you found it.”

Thank you.”