Tag Archives: Right to Know

Breaking Relative Silence

It has been an interesting couple of months for me personally.  I am filled with enormous gratitude for life, my faculties and the love, courage, and greatness I witness every day.  The many wonderful people who have supported me with beautiful words and encouragement I thank you.  There is so much I have wanted to share recently.  From “I Am Steve Marsh” to the Terrible TPP to some inspiring people and events (including my mom Ratana who was recently awarded the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada).  Although I have been posting some Style-Diet Shots, I am otherwise breaking silence.

Through social media (as the mainstream media is still rubbing its eyes, wondering if it should wake up), US state after state and several counties are presenting both labelling bills and GE or GMO Free resolutions.  Clearly, this is one of the biggest issues of our times.   Canada and the US are the only developed countries who do not legislate some kind of labelling of GMOs.  So today I write with a happy heart that we can do something (activism and clicktivism) right here and now today in Canada.  Our collective clicks will become a force for change.  Our voices a sea of myriad droplets rushing in 100 foot waves (Dustin Barca can surf ’em) . So much good has come lately.  Food Babe and Robyn O’Brien and Moms Across America, our Hawaiian siblings and so many others have successfully managed to eke great changes to N. American food recently.  We still have a huge mountain to climb.  But the journey of a thousand miles begins with one single footstep.  Robyn O’Brien talks about the moral compass.  Let’s keep True North.  Let’s hold the corporations to their better angels.

For those who are still confused about whether GMOs are good or bad, I will explain why you should be wary and cautious about GMOs and employ the precautionary principle, apart from the facts that:

1. GMOs have contributed to a massive increase in toxic pesticides and herbicides.

2. GMOs have contributed to the creation of superweeds.

3. GMOs are now being considered by the USDA to be sprayed with 2,4 D also known as Agent Orange.  Since Round-Up (Glyphosate) isn’t working any more, the big chemical companies are resorting to even more toxic applications of the GMO technology.  It appears that the USDA is leaning towards approval despite common sense screaming against it.

4. GMOs have been approved by the government, based on short-term studies done by the same companies selling them.  Every independent, long-term study has shown cause for alarm.

5. Despite the hype about Bio-enhanced foods, most – 90% of GMOs are designed to withstand the herbicide glyphosate also known as Round-Up.

Most North Americans do not know whether they are consuming GMOs since the chemical giants and others like the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association have lobbied against consumer’s right to know, spending millions upon millions to suppress this basic necessity.  Imagine how many hungry people they could have fed instead?  They continue along this tragic path of concealment despite allowing customers elsewhere around the globe this right (about 5 billion see previous post https://thedeepersideblog.com/2013/12/09/gmos-by-nation).  These people in 64+ nations are buying the very same products reformulated without GMOs and or labelled.

There are two things not commonly known about GMOs that I learned from former GMO scientist Dr. Thierry Vrain (youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQkQXyiynYs).  The first is that, when scientists insert foreign genes (usually to resist the antibiotic Round-Up), the process is imprecise and nobody knows where in the DNA of the modified organism this toxic gene ends up.  The second thing is scientists don’t know how many copies are being inserted.  Messing with the DNA of an organism is problematic since biologists continually discover just how intensely, mind-blowingly complicated DNA is.  Even this past December an article in Science turned the original one protein-one gene DNA theory on its head:

http://www.washington.edu/news/2013/12/12/scientists-discover-double-meaning-in-genetic-code/

Nearly every study not conducted by the handful of chemical companies controlling this technology shows serious health and toxic effects on animals and ecosystems.  As famous environmentalist and geneticist (also an alumnus of my alma mater The University of Chicago) David Suzuki has famously said, “Any politician or scientist who tells you these products are safe is either very stupid or lying.”

So what can you do here in Canada?

Today you can effect change with a two pronged approach!

The first is an online petition.  With one click below, you can support the new Federal Labelling Bill M480 “Right to Know” put forth by Murray Rankin, an MP and Lawyer championing people and the environment.  It is wonderful to have an elected official listening to the people, for the people.  Like in the US, we in Canada want GMOs labelled.  And this is no small minority.  Well over 90% of Canadians and Americans consistently polled want GMOs labelled.  We of the over 90% feel it’s a right, given that fat and sugar and even the contents of our mattresses are labelled.  Even those who believe GMOs are good (or can be) still want to know what they are feeding themselves and their families.

Murray Rankin first introduced this bill in Ottawa this past December 2013.  Please take a minute to sign and share and send as widely as you can.

http://petition.ndp.ca/the-food-you-eat

Secondly, if you are convinced like many multitudes, that GMOs have no merit except for fairy tales and real red flag warnings, then you can support a recent campaign to Stop the GM apple.  This apple doesn’t brown when cut.  And remember, the scientists themselves don’t know what processes are being disrupted in the insertion of foreign genes in the process of making this un-necessary apple.  What you can do is speak up against the GM Apple.  Remind your stores where you shop that the apple is using dangerous technology.  Tell them you wont buy it.  Explain how the process of creating GMOs is imprecise and disrupts the DNA of the Apple. Plus once released into our countryside, it will contaminate our other apples.  Quote David Suzuki and Dr Vrain.  Inform them about Dr. Vrain’s Ted Talk and his cross Canada tour to enlighten the public.
GE FREE APPLE INFOGRAPHIC 1 GE FREE APPLE INFOGRAPHIC 2 GE FREE APPLE INFOGRAPHIC 3

I’ve been reading about Abraham Lincoln who led America at the time of the civil war.  He refused to let the slave states secede at a time a weaker man might have let the US just split into two or allow slavery to perpetuate into the new territories.  Whilst reading, I can’t stop marvelling that people used biology, logic and religion to justify slavery. When such injustice is perpetrated, we are morally obligated to speak out and up.  With right comes might and a sense of noble purpose.  Please ask me if you want more petitions to sign and I’ll dig them up.

Well, Gentle Readers (feeling Victorian after immersing in some Romantic music yesterday), please forgive my ramblings, mistakes, and typos.  I hope to be back again as soon as possible.  In the meantime, thank you for reading.  Thank you for your comments.  Thank you for your commitment to the Earth and each other.  A presto…

Shocking Label in Heart-Land of France

We need food labels.

Here is a label that surprised me.  “PRODUIT TRAITE” it says on these yummy looking donut peaches, an heirloom variety commonly found in Europe.  I know what “PRODUIT” means (product).  But what did ‘TRAITE’ mean?

I was in Central France in the Loire Valley and saw this at a regular run of the mill supermarket “Super U” (which is a well know chain, not known for health foods or organic foods.  The organic section was rather disappointing: bananas, potatoes and apples).  I went to ask someone what this label meant.  A manager at the store explained that PRODUIT “TRAITE” pronounced TREH-TAY means that the food is sprayed with harmful pesticides and we should not eat the skin of these fruits and veggies.  And/or wash them very carefully before eating.

Wow.

Talk about a country informing it’s citizens, a store letting customers know that there are toxins in what looked like beautiful fresh ripe fruit.  We can’t see them, taste them or smell them.  If they’re not labelled, how else can we know how they are grown?

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With pesticide use now at record highs, we should have the right to know what toxins we’re ingesting in N. America.  GMOs are sprayed, positively doused with pesticides.  That is how they are grown.  GMO and Conventional farming are heavily sprayed with toxins that pollute the water and the soil and kill the bees.  If around 90 percent of N.American Wheat, Soy, Sugar, Soy and Corn are treated with toxic, harmful pesticides…. Can you imagine what kind of labelling must be in place to protect us and our defenceless children?

I can imagine some upper level decision maker in the Super U store saying, “Traite?  Eet ees treated wiz round up and ozzer pesticides?    Zat is legal.  Oui. But zat ees not right.  Hi dont want my cheeldren to eat zat.  My mozzer should not eat zat eizer. Eef some body wants to eat zat, zey must be told.  Zut alors.”

Let’s take the best practises we can find worldwide and apply them to better ourselves and our planet.

What more can I say but: Vive la France!

Erin Brockovich of Food

“Let love be your rocket fuel”

– Robyn O’Brian

I attended a blogger event yesterday in Seattle in support of Washington State’s I522 GMO Labelling campaign.  It was a breakfast sponsored by Nature’s Path and Stoneyfield Farms.  For me it was a last minute affair; I had only found out about it the day before.  Asked to speak, I went having a hunch that I would be inspired.  I was.

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I met several amazing folks, working tirelessly to make GMO labelling happen.  I met fellow moms and bloggers, such as Emily  from http://emmycooks.com/.  I also met Keith Tucker who is making a film called ‘Hip Hop is Green’.  Keith said, “Think “Forks over Knives”. Think Hip Hop. Think “FoodInc”. I’m bringing it all together.”  What do I think? I think hell yeah! I think change for good. Keith’s project is called “Pursuit of a Green Planet”  http://poagp.com/  Bring it ON Keith.  (A Journalist, Keith also knows the Gangster Gardener that I posted about previously!).  The worlds needs to harness the incredible momentum of youth and music and ideals.   We must foster Shameless Idealists!

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Above I’m standing with author Robyn O’Brian and Delana Jones, campaign manager for YES on I 522

I had the honour and privilege to speak right before Robyn O’Brien.  Robyn is the Erin Brockovich of food.  She is endorsed by none other than Erin Brockovich herself.  A bombshell (Note to self: get Robyn for Style-Diet Shot!), Robyn explained in her mild-mannered but potent way what is wrong with our food supply and how we must take back the right to know what we’re eating.  Her voice trembled with emotion as she spoke about the current generation of American kids called Generation Rx.  Rx is short-hand for prescription drugs (in case you didn’t make this connection immediately).  These Rx’ers are the first generation of American kids to have a shorter expected life span compared to their parents.  Cancer is now the leading cause of death for children under 15.  1 out two men are expected to get cancer and 1 in three women.

But hang on….  Only 10% of cancers are genetic.  That means 90% of cancers are preventable.

Shaking her head, Robyn didn’t want to know what she had learned.  Whereas I have grown up in the Health/Natural Food/Organic world, Robyn comes from a conservative Texas family.  Robyn’s rude awakening was after her daughter suffered an allergic reaction at breakfast one morning.  She soon found herself “under the belly of the beast”, when she tried to determine the causes of allergies.  

Robyn thinks it’s less about people being allergic to food and more about being allergic to what has been done TO foods since the 1990s.  This is the time when GMOs were released into the food supply after industry-provided 3 month-long rat studies.  Her case in convincing and she was compelled to write a book about it, calling herself the most unlikely person ever to be a food crusader.  http://www.robynobrien.com/

Unhealthy Truth

Robyn, a true patriot, has a message of love and compassion.  She moved me over and over again to tears during her speech.  She also made me laugh!  Robyn said to approach and broach the issue with our loved ones.  With love.

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“Let Love be your rocketfuel.  Love is something we all have in spades.”

Washington Wants to know WHAT?

Washington State wants to know! 

What do the vast majority of Washington-ians want to know?

Why – what they are eating, gosh darn it!!  90% people polled want to know what’s in their food.

And who can blame them, this right is so fundamental, nobody can argue with it.   It’s uniting Democrats and Republicans.   It’s about transparency and it’s bringing together all agents of change.  Washington’s Act I 522 will be voted on in November 2013.

For more information: http://www.labelitwa.org/

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GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms are in the vast majority of North America’s Food supply.  They are in over 80% of supermarket foods.  64 countries either ban GMOs and or  require them to be labelled including China and Russia.  The US and Canada have no such labelling requirements.  What?  We are eating GMOs and these are not labelled on the food package?!

What are GMOs?  They are organisms not found in Nature, created in laboratories made by mixing together DNA from unrelated species.  Here is geneticist David Suzuki explaining what GMOs are:

There are two basic types of GMOs.  One has a pesticide gene spliced into its DNA. That plant repels pests.  The other type of GMO has a pesticide- resistance gene.  Both types are drenched in pesticides and herbicides which get into our food and bodies too and poison the soils and the water and kill the bees.  Most North Americans have been consuming GMOs for over 15 years without even knowing it.

Short-term (3 month-long) studies on lab rats were provided as proof to the FDA that GMOs were not harmful to humans.   There were no peer-reviewed long-term studies nor studies on humans.  GMOs were released into our food supply without our knowledge or approval.  This makes us all guinea pigs in an experiment we didn’t agree to be a part of.  Unless there is mandatory labelling of GMOs, we cannot decide whether we want to participate in this mass experiment or not.

Connecticut just became the first US state to pass a GMO labelling law.  Washington is poised to be become the second!  The vote will be in November.  (Canada is awakening but no bills on the table so far).

Organic is the only legal system by which our food is guaranteed GMO-free  It is a traceable system and organic is a legal term.  Organics never have allowed GMOs and never will.

mattresss

Regardless of whether we buy organics or not, we all have a right to know what we are eating.  This is beyond basic.  Especially for parents who want to know what they are feeding their families, mothers who are pregnant, babies who are sucking on bottles or breasts.  If we are what we eat, we need to know what we’re eating so we can get an idea of what we might become.

The right to know what’s in our food is going to define this generation.  Change is happening!  We are on the cusp of an unprecedented civil rights victory.  In the face of billion dollar corporate lobbying by big Agri business, supporting our right to know is a legitimate act for democracy, for citizens’ rights and for people to make informed choices about what they want to eat.  Support the multitude for Washington’s I 522 Act.  Send our friends in Washington State your support.  Ask what you can do personally to bolster the efforts.

natures path

Nature’s Path Foods, my family’s company (full disclosure), in the interests of community and justice and fairness for all has just given $150 000 (one hundred and fifty thousand dollars) to support Washington’s labelling campaign.   Nature’s Path has stepped up to the plate yet again to help fight for labelling and transparency.  Last year Nature’s Path donated $660,000 (six hundred and sixty thousand hard-earned dollars) to Proposition 37 to support Labelling in California.  There are only a handful of independent companies who are able to support GMO labelling in this way.  I’m very proud of Nature’s Path and my father who has spoken out against this technology from the beginning.  Although most people cant give that much, every tiny little bit counts.  Please give as much as you can.  If you don’t have money to spare, please give your time, send letters and emails of support.  ‘Like’ the initiates on facebook, sign petitions, demand labelling, tweet, pin email!  GMO labelling is common sense and the right thing to do.

Tell everyone you know about this – spread the word.  Make Washington’s GMO labelling campaign your water cooler conversation.  Send your positive vibes over to Washington.

We are the droplets of water in the tides that are turning.