My Adventures with the Anti-GMO Club

I remember back last year when the hot topic issue was the labeling of GMOs in the legislature.  I really didn’t care too much about it until I got meme after meme about the dangers of GMOs from a Facebook friend of mine.  I thought, wow, this must be bigger than I expected.

Having worked on the research myself, I knew the safety and testing and had no qualms about it.  I even ate the transgenic stuff myself and the PRSV infected papaya as green papaya salad with no problem.  DNA was nothing I considered terrifying because I knew what is was and what it does.  So when I heard that papayas were now being touted and “poison” and “dangerous,” I thought I’d better learn about this issue more.

One of my first searches on the internet about these so called claims of dangers was on the claims of these movies being watched.  The searches come up chock full of Natural News, Collective Evolution, Green Med Info, Institute for Responsible Technology and so on.  After sorting through all of that stuff, I found this blog talking about the anti-GMO movement.  The more I learned about the issues from Bt genetic engineering, organic farming, and regulation, the more I realized that the information was so easily distorted by the social media.

Ready to start speaking up in the forums, one of the first places I started was with Civil Beat.  Little did I know that it was a haven for anti-GMO commenters.  It was amazing the sheer numbers of commenters I found on there every single article on GMOs.  Everyone was fixated on this evil called Monsanto, corporations, and poisons.  The more these repetitive comments repeated itself over and over, I started to realize how these folks just read things right off of a Google search and never even bothered to check the source.  It becomes really evident when the majority of the commenters use the same phrases over and over.

As I read the stuff from Natural News and so on I realized how easily someone with very little scientific knowledge could be beleaguered by the information presented.  I thought if I didn’t get some science background, it would be so easily believe the fearful and terrifying things being posted on these sites over and over again.  I’m too much of a skeptic to believe it and searched and read more about the so called claims and sure enough, debunked by noted scientists with ease.

Then of course, the big gem of the anti-GMO movement came the Seralini rat study.  The media was a ruckus over their final proof of the dangers.  Instead of reading the news interpretations of the study, I went straight to the study itself.  I also did searches on it by putting in “debunk Seralini study.”  And I found out a totally different side all together.  One of the first outlets to debunk his study was the media itself.  Shortly after I stumbled upon a wonderfully insightful site called Biofortified.  It had great articles by highly educated scientists and scholars.  I found it way more trustworthy than any of the other sites popping up.

After doing a lot of research and comparing articles across the internet, I’ve come to realize that the regular folks would not be able to understand half of the stuff being presented.  The Latins recognized this behavior eons ago when they coined the phrase, “Damnant quod non intelligunt.” They condemn what they do not know.  The scare mongering is so great on the anti-GMO side that it can really make you start to believe it.  Just like the phenomena when you leave a movie theater after watching a horror flick, you get a little spooked out for sometime.  Emotions are powerful strategies that work.

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The only thing with the anti-GMO messages is that if you’re on FB or Twitter a lot, you get bombarded with hundreds of images every single day from multiple sites that it becomes all you can see.  It is almost like a brain poison that these marketers know how to prey upon.  Then when you walk into the grocery store and see that clean, neat little label that proudly states, “GMO-Free,” you feel relieved.  Some things marked GMO-Free are indeed that to begin with like coconut milk and almond milk.  There’s no such thing as GM coconuts or almonds!  It’s a scam to me and I despise the fact that it makes people feel bad about their food for no reason.  And especially here in Hawaii where food is even more expensive, making the people most prone to this kind of messages only takes advantage of their lack of knowledge.

The more I talk to people who repeat the myths, the more I’m able to see where their hang ups are about this “new science.”  It really isn’t new, it is just more precise and better controlled despite the anti-GMO club claim.  We have to do more on our part to educate people about this issue.  We don’t eat like we did 100 years ago and why would we want to go back to those ways.  Research, education and scientific evidence moves us forward.  That’s the direction our society should be moving towards a better future.

Small Kid Time: Lessons Learned on the Farm

Today, I am inspired to actually sit down and write this blog.  Why? Because the Hawaii that I was born and raised in is changing.  Some for the good and some for the bad.  Changes are occurring rapidly with how we live and do things in our islands.  Local people have to wake up and be part of what’s happening, which is the reason for why this blog is born.

I grew up in a time where life was pretty simple.  Our family lived on the North Shore behind the Mormon Temple.  We were raised in the country where there were no paved roads and mud puddles were our pools.  The grassy fields and prawn farms were our playground to wander in all day long without a care in the world.  Scoop net fishing, catching catfish, digging up worms, rafting down a stream on an inner tube, and playing mud were some of the activities we did when were done practicing piano or homework.  I really had the best childhood a kid could ever have.

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Here’s a great pic that brings back many of my childhood memories of growing up on the farm.  My grandpa would walk us down to the convenience store and buy us candy, then we’d cross the street and play at the beach.  Finally, it would  be back to the farm for more adventures.  As my siblings and I got older, little did we know that we’d become the laborers.

The farm life was not an easy one but it really taught me a lot of life lessons that are still instilled in me to this day.  My dad would always be on us to always do our best, quality job number one.  Never sit to work because that is being lazy.  Keep yourself busy, always.  Take initiative to do something or find something to do.  These were the life lessons learned on the farm that were pounded into our heads.  Don’t do things to make the family shame, make us proud of you in everything that you do.  Growing up, we’d get sick of hearing it every time it was farm day.  Now that I have my own kids, I’ve learned to realize how so many valuable life lessons were acquired on the farm.  It’s those things that you can never learn anywhere else.

My adventures and insights here are reflective of the lessons learned on the farm that are important lessons for all to learn about.