Editors note: Because Savannah lives on its own time, we had our March Against Monsanto last weekend, the 10th, two weeks ahead of the rest of the world. I was invited to speak and I met so many amazing activists, world lovers, and politicians who care and parents on a mission to learn as much as they can about GMOs and Roundup (glyphosate). It was a great opportunity for me to tell our story of life with an environmentally injured child and to share what we know about Roundup from our friends at Moms Across America. MAA is discovering links to damage to the blood brain barrier, liver problems, and most importantly, that despite Monsanto’s promises, that Roundup DOES, in fact, bioaccumlate in the body and that means it is in our BREASTMILK. We have been calling the EPA all week to demand a recall of Roundup this week with much success. What TMR and MAA want you to do next Saturday, the 24th, is to go to your local March Against Monsanto. Read this blog by one of the Washington, DC organizers, our friend Sarah Scholl of Thriving Family Health, and then GET TO A MARCH!
Why I Will March Against Monsanto.
This month, activists from around the globe will gather to March Against Monsanto, a multinational chemical and biotechnology company. Events will occur on 6 continents, in 52 countries, and over 400 cities.
Since learning about the power of the foods that we eat to heal or to harm, I started my own Health Coaching practice. The message that is so effective for my clients on their journey to health is one of common sense.
Old adages like, Less is More and All Things in Moderation ring like rocket science in the ears of our modern society. These simple truths have stood the test of time, and while the issues surrounding Monsanto are complicated, these small bits of wisdom help to explain why I will participate in the DC area’s March Against Monsanto on May 24th.
Fact is Stranger than Fiction. Monsanto is a chemical company responsible for making some of the most disastrous chemicals the world has ever seen, including Agent Orange, DDT, Saccharin, Aspartame, Bovine Growth Hormone, and PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls). Monsanto’s reckless use of chemicals calls into question their testing standards, and regard for human life and the ecosystem.
Who could have guessed that a company like this would eventually take over agriculture in the United States of America?
Monsanto realized that they could expand sales of their product, Roundup, a broad-spectrum plant killing chemical formulation to kill weeds, on American farmlands if they could overcome one pesky problem. Roundup is an indiscriminate killer and would wipe out the farmer’s crops. Experimentation brought about Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Soybeans. These were the first plants that could tolerate being doused with Roundup, a plant killing poison, and remain alive, and soy became the first genetically modified organism (GMO) to hit US grocery store shelves in the mid 1990’s.
With that Monsanto became a force in the new agrochemical, agricultural industry. The list of bizarre truths continues.
The US government patented Monsanto’s seeds, paving the way for the company to sue farmers that inadvertently have GMO crops blown into their fields. These patented seeds are engineered with so-called “terminator technology” so that the plants do not give seed after the harvest. Farmers are bound to purchase new seed from Monsanto year after year.
Eventually, more genetically modified crops were approved including Syngenta’s Bt Corn, a plant that makes it’s own insecticide. This strain of corn is regulated by the EPA rather than the FDA. Farmers can spray less chemicals over it, because the poison is ready- made inside. Other GMO foods include canola, sugar beets, alfalfa, cotton (cottonseed oil), papaya, yellow summer squash, and zucchini, with many more awaiting approval. And even though these foods went on to be pervasive in the American food system, making up an astonishing estimated 70 percent of processed foods, Americans do not have the right to know what products they are in. Monsanto as well as other bio-tech and Big Food corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent GMO labeling laws across this nation.
Look Before You Leap. Despite scientist’s warnings that GMO foods could lead to allergenicity, the FDA approved them, unleashing an experiment on the US citizenry and the world who import American crops. The US took a very American, “innocent until proven guilty approach” to modified seeds and chemical-laden plants, relying on safety studies that were done by the very companies who stood to profit from the seed and chemical proliferation.
The rest of the world however wanted proof of safety.
They know it is Better to Be Safe Than Sorry.
Countries have placed moratoriums on GMO seeds while they conduct long term safety studies.
Over 60 countries have labeled GMO foods, so that consumers can make their own decision if they wish to consume them or not.
While GMO foods were sold on the false advertisements that they would increase yields and feed the world, what we are finding is that the world does not want them. 26 countries have bans on GMO food products. Kosher certification has banned GMO foods. This year China turned away corn from the US because it was tainted with a GMO strain. France recently approved a ban on the growing of GMO corn. Russia’s Prime Minister, Medvedev, recently announced that Russia will no longer import GMO products from the United States, stating that Russia has enough space and resources to grow their own organic food. It is hard to believe that the world will not want to import America’s staple crop… Corn.
While other countries proceeded with caution, the US jumped in feet first… leaping into a national experiment most citizens had no idea they were a part of.
The Leopard Does Not Change His Spots. Monsanto has undergone a massive greenwashing marketing campaign since grassroots movements have been educating the populace of their deeds, proving that marches like the March Against Monsanto have been effective. Their website is completely changed. There are pages dedicated to debunking books and documentaries created about the company. About two years ago I saw a billboard in the DC metro system. Overlaying a nostalgic farm photo were the words, “Who grows a safe food supply? I do.” – Monsanto. Since when have farmers had to advertise that the food they are growing is safe? Oh yeah… Since Monsanto took over.
There is a Place for Everything and Everything in its Place. Monsanto’s Roundup is a killer, a poison,plain and simple. It has no place on our food! Spraying of our nation’s farmlands has created runoff contamination in our waters. Recent studies are confirming fears that unlike Monsanto’s claims that the body is able to eliminate glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, it is actually accumulating in bodily tissues. Studies around the world are finding glyphosate in human breast milk and in urine samples. This is a cause for grave concern as glyphosate has been connected to birth defects, infertility, sterility, and kidney damage. It is a declared antibiotic which can destroy the beneficial gut bacteria of the animals and humans that consume it. It is also a chelator, meaning it strips the plants that it is sprayed on of their micro and macro nutrients leaving the plants with little nutrition to offer the eater.
If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is. The promises of genetically modified seeds including increased yield, drought tolerance, and enhanced nutrition have not come to fruition. And, even if they did… would we choose plants with a higher yield if the people eating them get sick? Would we opt for drought tolerance if the chemicals required to grow these plants kill bees and butterflies, the very pollinators that make our food system a reality?
The process involved in genetic engineering is imprecise and highly mutagenic, leading to unpredictable changes in DNA, proteins, and biochemical composition of the resulting GM plant. Scientists warned that this could lead to unknown allergenic risk. It is impossible to ignore the rise in life threatening food allergies in the 20 years that GMO foods have been on the market. An estimated 1 in 13 American children now lives with a life threatening food allergy. A trip to your local elementary school will prove the change. From signs posted outside of classrooms, “No nuts in this room”, to peanut free tables in the cafeteria, entirely nut free schools, and teachers carrying a large backpack full of prescription epi-pens, inhalers, and steroids on field trips, a drastic change has occurred for our children’s health. A simple explanation of a food allergy is that the body identifies a protein as an invader and attacks it. The resulting inflammation created by the attack can lead to anaphylaxis and death. Are these immune systems dysfunctional or superior? These children’s bodies are signaling, “These food proteins are weird! I need to attack them!”
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned. I will March Against Monsanto for every mother in this country who cares for a chronically ill child. For the countless mothers that I meet in my Health Coaching practice and in my community. Mothers whose children are covered in eczema. Mothers who carry epi-pens lest their child ingest a single crumb of certain food. Mothers who just received a cancer diagnosis for themselves or for their child. Mothers fighting to heal the gut and immune system damage contributing to increases in autoimmunity and autism. My 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at 20-months of age. Something damaged her gut so significantly that she has Leaky Gut Syndrome in which undigested food particles leak from her small intestine into her bloodstream causing pain and inflammation. She is unable to eat gluten, dairy, soy, corn, nightshades, citrus, and strawberries. Years of healing and exhaustive effort have not been able to quell the inflammation or replace the precious, sensitive gut bacteria and tissues.
Better late than never. This can be turned around. For our children, for our lands, for our pollinators, for ourselves. And this is why I will march. To educate, inform, and draw much needed attention to this critical issue.
Actions Speak louder than words. Join me. Worldwide march information is available at www.marchagainstmonsanto.com
~Sarah Scholl, Thriving Family Health