Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: The Banning of GM Technology and Research in Hawaii

There is a breaking news story that a possible case of Ebola is at a Honolulu hospital tonight.  It’s not confirmed however, but this shows how it is indeed a real problem worldwide should it spread. Hawaii is an international hub that so many people travel through making it a prime location for the spread of contagious illnesses.  Recall other illnesses that have made it to our shores several years back from H1N1, swine flu, and Dengue fever.  Diseases spread and it can be devastating.

According to the CDC website, genetic testing is used to diagnose this deadly disease.  Yes, the science used in genetic engineering is applied in making that diagnosis of the Ebola virus.  (Any protests to GM technology in medicine?)

Screenshot 2014-10-01 21.39.29

It is also interesting to note that several aid workers who had been infected with it in Africa managed to recover from this viral illness possibly due to GMO tobacco plants that produced an experimental drug.  You can read more about this treatment and outcomes here and watch the video below to hear his story.

So while the people of Hawaii are growing concerned about this contagious and very deadly illness, in Maui County, voters are seeking out a ban of GM technology until it is proven safe.  Hawaii has the perfect growing conditions to possibly be a contributor to solving this very deadly issue and yet the public will get to vote to block it from happening.  Our state could be at the forefront of helping to research and grow medications that can alleviate suffering and death but we’d rather use well read Google scholars to dictate laws that prevent us from being global citizens in helping others.  That’s just sad.

We are fearing a technology that can save lives but prefer to listen to lawyers from Earthjustice, the Center for Food Safety, and politicians like Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum, Elle Cochran, and activists like Nomi Carmona and Walter Ritte to dictate laws.  I can’t help but wonder if political science PhD. Ashley Lukens of the Center for Food Safety is rethinking her stance on blocking this technology when faced with Ebola.  Where’s Vandana Shiva and her life saving offer to the people suffering from this deadly disease?  Where’s the organic activists like Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America and her claims that organic cures autism helping to alleviate the suffering of others?  Where’s Hawaii SEED and their donations to solve this problem? What’s the SHAKA Movement doing to revamp their ordinance should this disease and others spread across the world?  Will we leave ourselves handicapped to do anything to address this problem because we choose the “naturalistic” lifestyle and live in harmony with nature? Ebola is indeed natural and definitely something none of us want.

This is a real issue that we need to address and if we don’t, we won’t be ready for it should it escalate further and we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.  Think its not real? Think this is fear mongering? Listen to Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the survivors of the virus, tell his story of what is happening in West Africa.

I know some people are reading Natural News and alternative health sites that are telling you that Ebola is a made up illness and such.  Please have some skepticism and get off of those sites as they are making you look foolish for not even questioning it.  Questioning genetics and the science behind it only to call it propaganda isn’t considered skepticism.  That’s called being scientifically illiterate and not something you should be professing in the social media.  Those conspiracy theories aren’t helping your intelligence and critical thinking or logic either.  You can post them on the social media and believe them, but quite a few people know you’ve been made the fool but are too nice to not say it.

To pass bad laws like the Maui Moratorium one is irresponsible at best because the touters of it have no idea of the unintended consequences of such an action.  Do we want to block our options for very viable solutions because of what someone read on the internet and believes with no facts behind it?  I say no and you should too!

 

 

Advertisements

GMOs Does Not Mean God Move Over and Here’s Why

Here’s another thing that I hear frequently being stated by many of the anti-GMO activists, “Stop messing with the DNA in our food!”  Mark Fergusson, the CEO of the very much anti-GMO Down to Earth Markets also called it, “God Move Over.”  I just hate the fear mongering that’s being said about a technology that can do so much for growing food and decreasing our impact to do so.

The goal of the anti-GMO supporters really is to take advantage of the fact that most people have little to no clue as to what GMO really is.  When there is a huge number of people who are not literate in biology, chemistry, and basic genetics, you have a nice market of people to target with fear and doubt about this technology.

The activists from the Food Babe, Babes Against Biotech, Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition, Earthjustice, and the Center for Food Safety, will also go on to state that genetic modification of our food stuffs is going to mess up people in some form or fashion.  They love to use emotion evoking phrases like, “it’s being shoved down your throats,” to “it’s killing our keiki and kupuna,”  We also can’t forget those syringes stuck in food and skull in crossbones bit that they want on this GMO label.

Why are these people so afraid of this thing called DNA?  It’s probably because they don’t understand what it is to begin with.

I know that videos are great ways to teach people a thing or two about what DNA really is.

Then when you get a better understanding DNA, let’s talk more about genetics.

I hope you kind of got a general idea of DNA and basic genetics.  Now here’s a great video on the story of biotech papayas and how it all comes together.

Note that even with this modification of the genetics, the composition of the papaya is not significantly different than the conventional type.  Also note that the transgenic papayas have disease resistance built into it.  It is developed to resist the papaya ringspot virus that is spread by an aphid.  Even though Gary Hooser has told so many people that GMO means pesticides, it does not at all.  It is a technology that can be applied in many different ways.

If you’re still feeling afraid of genetic modification in our food, let’s talk about the food we eat today.  Here’s a great example of two different types of tomatoes that have altered genetics done through selective breeding.

tomatoes

These clearly have different genetics to result in these two forms of tomatoes.  We can eat both of them and do you think our body can tell the difference?  No.  The compositions might be slightly different, and the DNA is different but our body can’t tell.

Of course, the next line that a typical anti-GMO activist might say is that these tomatoes don’t have fish genes in it.

The dreaded fish genes!

That’s a funny thought because if you were to eat fish, you are eating fish genes and have you turned into something awful?  Ummm…  No.  So even if a tomato might have genes of a fish, a common blunder quoted by many antis that is not true at all, would your body know this?  Nope.  Genes are not species specific!

If you watched the videos above, you might figure out that you can’t say that the genes is what’s making you allergic to something either.  If you think that there’s a new allergen that’s created by the genetic modification, you’d be wrong too because it is tested and tested for these potential issues.  Allergenic proteins are pretty well known and if detected, the trials are abandoned and destroyed.

The same anti-GMO activists decry biotech testing but then listen to Dr. Oz touting those exotic miracle cures.  He went from touting goji berries and now garcinia cambogia, which has no allergenic tests done ever but assumed safe.  Wouldn’t that worry you more to be consuming these untested things?  Nope.  Where’s the precautionary principle applied here?

The DNA fearing God Move Over crowd continues to cry about the evil of genetic modification and the need for the precautionary principle, but always misses a key point about this technology.  They are worried about what happens when they consume this GMO derived food product because of the unknown genetics.  If that is the case, why aren’t they worried about what happens when they consume banana genes or GMO free noni genes?  If one is afraid of messed up genes, then they should really fear things like heirloom tomatoes that have really altered genetics.

There’s a lot of DNA in many GMO free products that they should be worried about but don’t even realize it.  I’m more afraid of the bacterial genetics of what’s on some organic foods than I am of GMO corn or papaya any day.