The launching of the Vashon Time Bank was attended by about 30 people, a significant number of which filled out applications to join. There will be potluck/orientation sessions once a month from now on, and I encourage you to check it out. This is about getting things done that you can’t or don’t like to do and getting to reciprocate by doing something that you know or may really enjoy doing. What’s not to like about that? The more people that join, the more choices we have, the less money we need and the better off we will all be. I’ll let you know when the next orientation is scheduled.
This November, on election day, we have the opportunity to establish a beachhead in our fight to know what is in the foods that we must continue to buy from corporations. We will be voting on I-522, which will require that foods containing genetically modified ingredients be labeled as such. This is similar to Proposition 37 which was narrowly defeated in California two years ago by a massive ad campaign launched by the major corporate food suppliers. Already, an influx of 6 million dollars from out of state is producing media ads to scare and mislead you into thinking that this is not in your interest.
The first thing you need to know is that this is not a referendum on GMO foods. Regardless of the outcome, GMO foods will be available if you want them. It only requires that products containing them indicate that on their labels. You may or may not check the ingredients of the products you buy but I doubt that many of you would argue that it is not our right to know what those ingredients are. That is all this initiative is demanding.
It is true that we wouldn’t be going to the trouble of doing this if a significant number of us were not worried about the possible dangers GMO’s might present to our personal health or to the life system as a whole.
The industry has told us that GMO products have been tested and have been shown to have no adverse effects. Even the USDA has parroted that claim. The problem is that those tests were allowed to be done by the industries themselves and the USDA authorities that have sanctioned those results are all former industry employees. That is not to say that GMO products have been proven to be unhealthful either. Long term studies need to be done before we can even begin to make that judgement. It does mean that GMO’s should be barred from production until they have been proven safe, just like any other product. If your government is not wise enough to take that precaution, then we, as consumers should at least be allowed to make the choice of avoiding products made from them.
So, we do want to get GMO products off the shelves, but we want to do that by educating consumers about the possible hazards of GMO’s, not by banning them. The real problem is that GMO’s are alive and can reproduce themselves and even pass their traits on to other organisms. We are creating new life in a very crude fashion and we really don’t know all the genetic changes we are actually making nor what the impacts of those changes might be in the life system as a whole. Once the genie is out of the bottle, we may not be able to control the consequences. Because of the huge risks involved, we are only saying that we need to take plenty of time to understand what we are doing before we commit to a course that can rapidly get out of control.
As you watch and listen to the ads on I-522, understand that they are created by very sophisticated social engineers to provide you with a very credible message delivered by someone that you are likely to trust. The ads against will be far more numerous than those for because they have three times as much money. The ads against will tell you that the law is badly written, confusing, and your food will cost more as a consequence. Actually the law is guided by existing successful laws in Europe and Vermont, Maine, and Colorado. Don’t take them or me strictly on our word; find out for yourself and make an informed decision.
To understand the possible dangers of GMO’s, there will be a free showing of Genetic Roulette at the Island Theater on Oct 8 and 7pm. There will be tabling and other meetings going on until the election to provide you with as much information as you may need. Don’t take this lightly; your decision could set a precedent for the entire world. Vote YES on I-522!