This week´s blog is written by Raquel Ezequiel. Raquel is from Portugal and at the moment she is working in Development Perspectives. Her background is a degree in Psychology and she works with youth programmes more recently.
Do you know if you ate GMOs today? For sure, most of you will say: “I don’t know?”
And yes, this is the first reason, why this article is written.
Why if GMOs are defended as something that has so many advantages is the food is not labelled informing you that you are eating GMOs?
Many people say GMOs can be an answer for the problem of hunger around the world, but if they began being produced in the 70´s, why are so many people still starving, and a growing body of evidence show us that GMOs are connected with health problems, like cancers, infertility and birth defects.
If we understand the basic principle of GMOs and we pay attention to nature, it is easy to conclude that GMO´s are not nice for us as consumers, for environment or for farmers.
Let´s go by points:
- Our body is required to eat, it is one of our basic needs, and when we eat, we digest our food. The absorption of the most part of the nutrients occur in our intestines. In this process when the nutrients enter in our blood, our immune system appears to recognize what is good and what is not. The normal nutrients are usually not a problem, because our body is prepared since long time to identify them, it is a result of natural evolution.
- GMOs involve genetic engineering , so exists a manipulation of a food organism, altering genetics and cellular functioning;
With these two facts it is easy to understand that if a food organism is manipulated, then when we eat it, our body will not recognize some substances, and the possibility of our immune system identifying these substances as “threats” is higher. So, this kind of recognition will activate the immune system more, and that activation can develop a tumour.
It is not strange that fertility or birth defects appear too as a result of consuming GMOs, different substances in your body, will change your cellular system (the body is not prepared to assimilate substances that it does not recognize, it will defend itself, do not having a natural functioning!).
Now, let´s try and understand why GMOs affect the environment and the farmers:
Many GMOs are hybrids. What does that mean? That for example, if you buy hybrid seeds, they will only produce one time, and the farmers will need to buy more seeds in the following years. (Remember the mule is a hybrid that results of a cross between a horse and a donkey: the mule is infertile).
Farmers since ancestral times exchange natural seeds, for a long time they have been improving the best natural seeds: the tastiest, the ones that grow up more, or the ones that can provide more food. Even in this process, they could select by paying attention to the changes in environment: the seeds that now are perfect for some conditions in 50 years won’t be so good, because the climate conditions are changing (and now much more!), and as Darwin taught us: The species that can adapt better to the environment survives, and we know now they are the ones that pass the genetic material for the next generations.
So with GMOs they are conditioning the natural evolution of the different species of plants, trees, and that has big implications for the entire ecosystem.
We should pay attention to the studies with bees, they were developed because the bees are dying in North America, and the researchers relate this with the fact that the bees cannot digest substances that they have eaten from plants genetically manipulated.
But what is the problem if the bees die?
The bees are the responsible for pollination, this process is what provokes reproduction of plants, and this process cannot be replaced with all the technology that we have now.
Therefore, if bees disappear, we will not have any more food, or trees, and that implies climate changes that will affect fauna and flora.
In this way, we can see our entire ecosystem is being threatened.
Many of you are wondering: “Right, but we still have so many natural plants, that GMOs are just a drop of water in the ocean”.
Yes, it makes sense, the scary thing is companies that produce GMOs are pressing the governments, and the idea is that all countries will use GMOs, even the laws are being done to take away the freedom of the consumers and the farmers.
They decided to create the “seed and plant law” in EU (http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedlaw2.html), which obliges the farmers to register the seeds (How it can be possible? if the bees do their job, the seeds will be different year by year, which obliges a new registration (maybe you are thinking “if the bees die, they will not have that problem!”) Right! And you will eat just genetically modified organisms, without choice, because the companies that genetically modify the food are registering their seeds, and if their seeds are registered, you can just plant that seeds (with an implicit care and warning!), that should also be treated with pesticides produced by the same companies!!! What a business, isn´t it?
(After I wrote this article I received the news that European Parliament refused that proposal. It has not ended the battle, even because that proposal can be reviewed again and be voted again). So, we will see! Anyway keep your eyes in the brands that use GMOs… If you do not inform yourself, they will not do it for sure!)
You can check the list of brands that use GMO`s here: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/06/comprehensive-list-of-gmo-products-and-companies.html