An Idiot’s Quest For the Truth About GMO
Please don’t unfollow me, or spam me with hate mail. I am an innocent, intelligent person with good intentions. But I am also a skeptic. Saying that, some might think I would approach the subject of GMO foods on the side against. But I don’t know how I feel about that. I don’t generally respond to fear-mongering media because its entire purpose is to frighten us into tuning in or buying papers. It’s sensationalism and 99% of the time, it’s not entirely true, decorated with myths, full of holes, or generally an outright lie that is packaged and dropped on your doorstep topped with a big headline meant to scare the bejesus out of you. “IF YOU EAT THAT GMO TOMATO YOU’LL GET CELIAC DISEASE AND CANCER AND DIE!” No. I’m sorry. I’ve been consuming GMO food for two decades and all I have is this relatively perfect bill of health (except for that type 1 diabetes, which came before the GMO foods).
There was recently a huge city-to-city protest against Monsanto and GMO foods. While I think we all need to think critically of Monsanto (and Dole and DuPont- just sayin’ some of those guys are actually guilty of foreign terrorism), is GMO food itself all that bad? Should we demand a ban on the supplier or the product? Should be ask for labeling or a complete ban and WHY?
Between you and me, these questions are also personally motivated. I am a person of the working class, who makes (even married with a combined income) less than poverty level income working full time. My Husband works three jobs to pay our bills and at the end of his cheques, he’s lucky if he can afford to buy a flat of Mr. Noodles, let alone a healthy diet. I, on the other hand, am working so hard to save emergency money for us, and put away for retirement, and pay our medical and dental and our Son’s RESP that I don’t have much money to spend on organic food that is 2-3x more expensive than generic food. Furthermore, my family won’t eat it and it rots. Most of the time I’m lucky if I have time to cook. We are both shift workers home at different times of the day with schedules that change week to week and day to day, and we don’t eat at home a significant amount of time simply out of LACK OF TIME. My Son, who has special needs, often eats up 2-3 days a week with appointments, and when he doesn’t, I do. Many times it has come to the choice of having a meal or having gas to get home, or having food or paying our hydro bill. We, like many underfed poor people, rely on our community’s food bank to eat.
Starvation is real. And compared to the people on this planet who need the food the most, I’ve never starved a day in my life. So are we afraid for legitimate reasons? Or are we afraid just because we don’t know for sure? Is that a good reason to destroy a science that could also save the world if it IS safe? Is it all black and white? Are some modifications acceptable and others not? Is it possible we could stand back and vote on what genetic modifications should be allowed? One thing is clear, I think we do need labeling, political transparency and very tight regulation.
As for those claiming that the human population is being experimented on, GMOs have been on a wide scale first world food market for almost twenty years. Most pharmaceuticals require less than half that time to be allowed for human consumption. Why are we still so afraid?
I honestly think sometimes that we’re a nation of self-indulgent pricks, finding first world problems to bitch about. “There’s fish DNA in my tomato!” Oh no. By chance have you ever eaten a tomato? Have you eaten fish? Have you eaten fish and tomatoes together? Then what the bloody fuck is the difference? I honestly do want to know. I don’t want to be in the dark. But I also don’t want to be one of those people who hears that GMOs are evil from a friend and then start waving my pitchfork like I’ve got a fucking clue. I don’t want to be one of those people who goes to a health food website, or guru website, or vegan website that peddles naturopathic remedies to the ill of intelligence and automatically jump on board the anti-GMO bus because some neurotic asshole who wipes his ass with mint leaves says I should be scared. Have you seen these people? No really, GMO = Cancer? Really? Is that why rawfoodists and vegans get cancer too? Were they cheating on their diets or cheaping out? I eat GMO, and I’ve never had cancer (at least not yet). Cancer also existed in epidemic numbers far before the widespread consumption of GMO foods. GMO = Celiac disease! No. I also am not celiac, and Celiac disease has been proven to be a fad diagnosis and fad diet among people who need to have something wrong with them in order to feel important. As if being celiac makes you unique. It’s a disease, not a fucking purse dog or a bow tie. Diseases aren’t suddenly breaking out in epidemic proportions! Science has caught up to being able to diagnose people who previously would have gone their whole lives without diagnosis at all, or misdiagnosis at the least.
I love nature. I love the idea of being natural. But I hate when a single idea inspires nations to be afraid for no good reason. Why should everyone live in fear because of an idea? Because of an unproven idea? Should we be cautious? YES! Should we be inquisitive? ABSOLUTELY! Should we be concerned? MOST DEFINITELY! But scared? Angry? Out with pitchforks, torches and protest signs? I don’t know.
I think about those poor people in Zambia, whose children are starving or stillborn, whose parents are widowed or dying, who cannot fashion together clothes or shoes most of the time, who are reusing needles provided to them by our asshole first world charities in such small numbers that their AIDS epidemic didn’t stop spreading when we sent them medicine, it exploded. I think about the people in this world who die of starvation every 3.6 seconds who would have murdered a person to get their hands on even one genetically modified fish tomato to live even five more minutes. I think about biochemistry and how it is also used to cultivate treatments for chronic, life threatening diseases, like mine, and how attacking GMO won’t stop there. It will be the science next. And then the scientists. And then people will start dying from preventable disease.
I can’t help but have a crisis of conscience when I think about the people so afraid of what hasn’t been proven or unproven, and what they’re willing to take from the world, fact and sight unseen. We’re okay with biochemistry as long as they can prevent or end pregnancy, or make penises larger. But fuck if they try to feed people.
But here’s the hard truth on both sides of the coin. People die. People fucking die all day long. In 60 years the Earth’s population will be topping 10 billion. That’s 2.4 billion more than today, and 4 billion more than 10 years ago. A century ago the population of earth was 1.65 billion. PEOPLE are the epidemic. Don’t tell me that we don’t have a serious crisis with food and water supply coming.
So tell me, should I be afraid? Is there hard proof that this is dangerous? Has a death ever actually been caused by the consumption of GMO food? And would it have caused that person’s death if they consumed that same food untampered? Am I against Monsanto? For numerous reasons, absolutely yes. Am I against GMO? No. I don’t think so. Not yet. At this point in time, I think this cause is being led by a bunch of first world whining sheeple.
And I’d love someone to change my mind. WITH FACTS. Not opinions, not theories. Things that I can hold in my hand and know without doubt, beyond brain damage or blatant ignorance, they are real. Because okay. If someone eats a genetically modified tomato, their kid might be born with six eyes. He wasn’t, firstly. But I could also walk outside and get hit by a car and die. 1.24 million people die because of cars every year, on average. I don’t see anti-car, pro-pedestrian protests going on. So why the sensationalism? Why the thinly laid theories that use scare to try to convince you when cold, hard facts would be enough?
Won’t someone tell me? (Keep in mind, if you’re a nutjob, you’ll get the response you deserve. So please approach with an impersonal and clinical explanation of fact that can be cited to reputable sources, thanks).