Monday, 3 January 2011

Zeroing in on the import of GMOs

I wrote to my five MEPs by email on 10th December, just before going on my Retreat in response to an email I had received from GM Freeze asking everyone to do so. The issue is that the European Commission is proposing to end the EU’s current zero-tolerance policy to unapproved genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in imported feed. GM Freeze later advised that the vote on the matter had been postponed to 14 January 2011 to discuss including imported GM food in this proposition as well.

Richard Howitt MEP (Labour) kindly replied to my email by letter dated 14th December 2010 to advise that he believes that it is important that the long-term consequences of the use and consumption of GMOs by humans and animals be better understood. He broadly supports the zero-tolerance policy until further studies into their effects are carried out.

I also received a reply from the UK Independence Party by email to thank me for the information and advising that the details which I quoted from GM Freeze will be further investigated.

In keeping with my Retreat, I am envisioning the politicians considering the matter from nature’s perspective rather than a ‘cut the corners’ market one. If you haven’t already done so, I would urge you to write to your MEPs. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter in hopes that they may help.

Firstly, I would like to emphasise that I do not support genetic modification in any shape or form. I believe that scientific manipulation of natural organisms can only lead to confusion and disorder and that’s when all the rules have been followed and only authorised GMOs are used! Allowing even a small percentage of unauthorised GM feed and/or food to be imported is creating a wedge for further infiltration of GMOs into our food supply.

GMOs are not whole foods, they are processed even before they are grown and like foods processed after they have been produced, GMOs are not comparable to natural whole foods which are the best for our health. And GM feed is similar to junk food for animals. GMOs can only add to our problems of hospitals filled with sick people, jails with more sick people of a different sort, and the rising numbers suffering with obesity, arthritis, heart diseases, depression and other such ailments because much of this chaos is caused by poor diets.

Secondly, as for the short-term benefits that are so popularly referred to in support of GMOs, this is an illusion on almost all counts. Consider the facts. First of all, there is no short-term benefit for us as consumers. We do not need GM feed for our farm animals or food and most consumers do not want them. Secondly, farmers using GM feed may find that there is a slight benefit if GM feed is cheaper, and in isolation, this may be considered a short-term financial benefit. However, because of the costs involved in developing GM products, there is no short-term benefit for the developer (such as Monsanto). The only way these companies can achieve a benefit is to mass market the GM product over a long-term. Therefore, developers are pushing their way into our lives with GMOs by taking advantage of farmers and politicians who are willing to sacrifice quality for quantity and a short term cheaper market price.

I have recently written a Retreat Report with six Positive Visions on this blog for the 2011 New Year. A prevailing theme of this series is that the ego has distorted human thinking for millennia. GMOs are just one small symptom of what I refer to as a pandemic of mental illness. If you consider how humans harm themselves and each other in so many ways, I think you will agree with me that many people are mad, mostly not all the time, but all too often. In addition, the American dream for everyone in the world to have a big new TV, 4x4 and posh suburban house is really a nightmare and that is the mentality behind propositions such as GMOs because like the American dream, they are market-based. If the human race is going to survive, we need to stop competing with each other by disconnecting from the market and developing a strong connection to our inner presence, local community and nature.

“Of course, the merchant has a role to play in society, but glorification of merchant activities tends to draw people away from a recognition of the true source of life (Fukuoka, 1978). I hope that politicians will not give into business pressures and shelve the zero tolerance to unauthorised GMOs for the sole ego driven purpose of making money, but instead hold onto the precautionary principle. After all, our spiritual self-interests are just as valid and important as market self-interests.

Both body and soul need good wholesome food. I am not a scientist, but my common sense tells me that nature knows the best way to produce our food.  Unlike other manmade products such as synthetic polyester and plastic, GMOs are designed to be incorporated into our bodies and the natural environment.  If something goes wrong, it won't be possible to just throw it out!

Again, I would urge you to write to your MEPs to ask for the zero-tolerance of unauthorised GMOs to be maintained. GM Freeze has much information on this issue which would help in writing such a letter. Remember, politicians need and want to hear from us because otherwise they only hear from business people with a market perspective. It may be a small step, but at least it is in the right direction.

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