I breastfed for what seemed like forever. Based on this, I think my child might be an alien. I don’t think I even knew what glyphosate was before I decided to write this article. All I know is that my Facebook friends hate Monsanto. In a major way. They hate Monsanto and anyone who supports it or uses GMOs. According to their posts, Monsanto is about to take over the world and we are all doomed unless we stop it…them…hmph!?! Stop them from what? Stop them from this…….
It’s all so overwhelming, so I thought I should start with some definitions to help me decide if I should join the war or buy a Starbucks latte and hit Target up for some not so last minute holiday shopping.
G.M.O. – A genetically modified organism (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. Created to improve crop protection and diminish use of pesticides.
Monsanto – A publicly traded American agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation. Leading producer of genetically engineered seed which it markets under the Roundup Ready brand. Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley won the World Food Prize (equivalent to Nobel Peace Prize) in 2013.
Roundup (or glyphosate) – The name for glyphosate systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Enables farmers to kill weeds without damaging their crops.
Roundup Ready Crop – Glyphosate resistant crops.
Okay, not bad. I come from a family of scientists. My father was an award winning physicist and chemist, and my sister has a PhD in molecular biology. My father is no longer with us so I figured I would pick some of his former colleagues brains for some answers. The truth? They looked at me like I was kind of crazy. In their world, GMOs have existed forever. Not only are they necessary in the accommodation of our lifestyles, they are also engrained in every part of our daily lives, like cars for example or hydro and “evil” vaccines. Now these guys are all in their late seventies, I thought for sure my much younger Dr. Sister would have a different opinion. NOPE. The conversation seemed almost irrelevant to each of them. Of course, cars aren’t really that good for us but most of us “need” them in order to maintain our way of life. GMO plants require less water than non GMO plants, are resistant to pesticides, and yield overall healthier and more plentiful crops. They are a huge help in the fight against world hunger, and looking a little better than cars right about now.
That being said, we don’t know what effect GMOs will have on us in the long term. We don’t know if herbicide resistant crops will in turn help create herbicide resistant weeds. The unknown can be scary. Since 1997, Monsanto has filed suit against 145 farmers in the United States for illegal use of seed and patent infringement. Only eleven went to trial. All eleven cases were found in Monsanto’s favour. Apparently, studies in the UK indicate soy allergies doubling since the release of GM soy but from what I have read, the studies have proven to be inaccurate. The Indian farmer suicides also turned out to be myths. I researched Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser. Schmeiser plead guilty. The more I dig, the more “facts” against Monsanto seem to be bogus. Looks like I might be going to Target after all.
I’m all for supporting farmers and buying local but I’m beginning to think this anti-Monsanto social media trend is illogical. Go ahead and label what you want. If all GMOs are not created equal, then be clear about it. There may be other ways of feeding the world’s hungry but no one else is stepping up to the plate. And what about DARPA and its potential in rebuilding veterans lost limbs? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Sometimes I think we jump on social media bandwagons and attack heavily without doing our research. This allows us to seem illogical and unreasonable to law makers and good arguments often get ignored. I’m sure Monsanto has its faults but no one is going to take this seriously.
At least I hope not.