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Written by Patricia Dines

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This Month's Column:
Vote Yes on Proposition 37 for GMO Labeling

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Vote Yes on Proposition 37 for GMO Labeling

By Patricia Dines
Published in the Sonoma County Gazette
October 2012
(c) Patricia Dines, 2012. All rights reserved.

Last month, I talked about the rare and vital opportunity we have to vote Yes on California Proposition 37 -- and encourage others to do the same. If we can pass this citizen-generated GMO labeling initiative, we'll finally be able to know what foods contain risky GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), and thus choose whether we and our families want to consume them. It's a big deal!

Right now, people in nearly 50 countries around the world enjoy this basic right to know, so we're really the laggards on this. And surveys show that 90% of Americans don't want to eat GMOs. However, because there's no labeling, we're all likely eating GMOs every day, without our consent (unless we have 100% organic diets). Lack of labeling also makes it impossible to identify and track any health harm being caused by these pseudo-foods.

To me, labeling is really the least we should do, given the significant evidence that GMOs harm our health, farmers, communities, and environment. I'd personally prefer to have GMOs banned until they've had serious testing and regulations, and I encourage us to keep working for that too. But, for now, labeling helps us make key personal choices. (See my prior column at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6c.html.)

A David and Goliath Battle

This month, I want to help folks keep their bearings amidst all the assertions now swirling around this topic.

The first thing we all need to know is that Prop. 37 was put on the ballot by the people; nearly one million signed the official petitions. The opposition to it is largely funded by the GMO manufacturers, who have a history of aggressively seeking to suppress any GMO regulations or transparency.

Already $32 million has flowed into the opposition campaign, including $20 million from the "Big Six" agrochemical firms. Clearly they're worried that we might succeed!

We're also seeing increasing propaganda against Prop. 37, including indirect "news" stories and opinions. Of course, the GMO makers claim to have only our best interests at heart, and can persuade some people with their nonfactual arguments. So it's important that we all remember their true bottom line motive: protecting their profits.

Most of the GMO maker funding against Prop. 37 ($7 million) is coming from Monsanto -- the folks who brought us DDT, Agent Orange, PCBs, rBGH, aspartame, and more. Not only have their toxic products spread drastic harm widely -- to people, animals and ecosystems -- but they've also often used lies and force, manipulated science, and cloaked media to suppress both evidence and citizen action. (For more on Monsanto, see www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto and www.tinyurl.com/3q9spvw.) Now Monsanto and their brethren are using these same techniques to seek to own, modify, and control the seeds of life -- these sacred treasures that communities of farmers have saved, selected, and fed us with for countless generations.

Essential Facts to Know

1) GMO foods have largely not been tested and regulated. Instead, they're basically treated like traditional foods. This directly contradicts corporate patenting of GMOs as unique and "novel" organisms. Well, which one is it? If they're going to be patented, let's at least test them as that!

2) GMOs are not the same as hybrids. Instead, they're a laboratory combination of DNA from species that would never mate naturally, using materials such as viruses to force the marriage, and with a shocking lack of precision.

3) Even prominent scientists are against GMOs. They see how little we know about DNA mechanisms, how crude GM techniques are, and how this likely will lead to a variety of frightening failure scenarios. A truly responsible scientific approach would instead make sure the products were safe before release. (See www.safe-food.org/-issue/scientists.html.)

4) The costs of GMO labeling would be less than trivial. (See www.anh-usa.org/pro-gmo-propaganda-in-california-dismantled-by-new-cost-study.)

5) Prop. 37 only relates to the intentional use of GMOs, and specifically exempts accidents. (See www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-simon/university-of-california-_1_b_1900699.html)

I'm sure we'll hear more distracting misinformation as the election nears, including from seemingly neutral sources. Don't be fooled! Check information with the Prop. 37 campaign.

To get links to groups, and learn more, see www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6d.html (that's this page!). I also post info on GMOs on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.

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Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter. Email your questions about going green to <EcoGirl [at] AskEcoGirl.info> for possible inclusion in future columns. View past columns at <www.AskEcoGirl.info>.

You can also become a Facebook fan of "Ask EcoGirl", to show your support and stay in touch! Join at www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.

"EcoGirl: Encouraging the eco-hero in everyone."

© Copyright Patricia Dines, 2012. All rights reserved.


In the current anti-Prop. 37 ads (largely funded by the GMO manufacturers especially Monsanto), they claim that Prop. 37 is harmful to farmers. This is ridiculous and not supported by the facts!

* Many farmers support Prop. 37, and see it in their best interest. Thus the opposition is falsely claiming to speak for all farmers.

* Monsanto is NOT a friend to farmers, though they prop them up front for their causes when they think it will serve their aims. But Monsanto is just as ruthless in its self-serving aims with farmers as they are with consumers.

* GMOs are NOT good for farmers. They prevent traditional seed saving, as policed by force and big wallets. When Monsanto's "novel" GMO crops fail, Monsanto blames it on the weather, regardless of the proof, so the farmers have to go to court. Where they have won! And, just as the activists predicted, GMOs have net increased pesticide use, not prevented it, and are requiring increasingly toxic pesticides.

If you want to protect farmers, SUPPORT PROP. 37. That is the pro-farmer vote. Monsanto has been bullying ALL of us long enough.

Read this article and share it with others, so they can see how Monsanto really treats farmers.


• • • 

Here's a very well-stated case for Prop. 37 from the LA Times op ed page. It discusses several ways that farmers are HARMED by GMOs, once again proving the laughability of Monsanto's claims to be on their side. It also address other false claims about Prop. 37, and explores other specific issues, such as the way our governments have failed to protect us because of undue influence from the industry.


• • • 

You can also find more of my Ask EcoGirl columns on this theme at:
Enjoying Ecological Food & Agriculture (including Organics & GMOs)


I'm delighted to offer you my Ask EcoGirl booklets, "Healthier Housecleaning" and "Detoxing Your Life." These unique, handy, and cheerful resources bring together key information you need to create a healthier home for your family and the planet. They make a great gift, and quantity discounts and wholesale prices are available. Plus all sales support my eco-healing community work. Tell a friend! Find out more at www.askecogirl.info/booklets.html.


For more information on this and related eco-topics, see my other Ask EcoGirl columns.


Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates readers about toxics and alternatives. For more information about my work for the planet, see www.patriciadines.info

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Page last updated 10/22/2012