Climate Change, Laundry & A/C


Many people interested in climate change may think this is a new phenomena brought on by global population expansion, increased use of technology, higher agricultural demands ravaging the Earth’s ecosystems and increased usage of fossil fuels. The truth is this has been going on for about two hundred years. Yep, since the beginning of the industrial era.

When factories began firing up their furnaces in the early 1800s, long before fossil fuels had really made their mark, the continents and oceans of the Earth began warming. Scientists can detect changes that far back as they study ice samples from the Arctic. And it’s not only ice cores that reveal this tragic timeline. Australian researchers have pored over 500 years’ worth of data collected from tree rings and coral in addition to the ice core studies.

The gringa thinks it’s safe to say that scientists from 200 years ago were probably laughed at by their peers for doing such silly and useless things as recording climate temperature measurements. I’m sure they never dreamed that today they would be considered pioneering heroes. Without their foresight and dedication we would not know just how long we humans have been spitting in the face of the one and only planet we can call home.

As early as 1830 increased greenhouse emissions were already causing the temperatures of tropical seas to creep upward. The Northern Hemisphere began to experience higher than average climate temperatures around the same time. At first, the scientists of that era thought this was a natural cycle. They believed that after a period of volatility upon Earth where volcanic ash and dust particles had caused global cooling effects that it was only natural for things to bounce back the other direction.

They had no idea that what had happened millennia ago was not the catalyst. They were clueless that they were witnessing the onset of a human induced global catastrophe that would culminate hundreds of years later. No one was sounding any alarm bell. The factories were being erected as fast as manufacturers had the cash to expand. As industry grew, individual wealth grew. It soon became every person’s dream to own a car and zip about willy-nilly just for the sake of being seen. Little has changed since 1830. Even though we know we are killing our planet (and, hence, ourselves), industry still expands and consumers are still obsessed with consuming and being seen with their latest procurement so that everyone knows they have “arrived”.

In such a state of smug self-satisfaction we humans do not like to be reminded that we should, rather, trade in that latest state-of-the-art washing machine for a non-electric hand-crank model. It is beneath an ambitious individual’s self-worth to be expected to toss out an electric dryer and opt for grandma’s tried and true method of wringing out the wet laundry and hanging it out on the line. As for surviving without air conditioning and heating, surely you jest. Oh, yeah, sure, previous generations got by but certainly such a primitive lifestyle should not be expected by an advanced civilization like this current generation of humans. After all, with global warming who can survive such temperatures? Oh, but you see, your air conditioning is also contributing to the problem that you want relief from. We seem to be caught in a catch 22. Whatever shall we do?

So, who wants to join the gringa in the slow, very ungraceful transition to an off the grid lifestyle? Are there enough people in the world for such sacrifices to even matter? The gringa can’t say. I only know that on Tuesday my non-electric hand-crank washing machine arrived and I have committed to not replacing my slowly dying electric dryer with an equivalent. The caveman thinks I’m mad but I kindly remind him that he is, after all, a caveman. Such lifestyle changes should suit him perfectly.

I still don’t know what to do about air conditioning. When I’m home alone I am quite happy with 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I can even manage to handle 85 with the right incentives, no clothes and plenty of ice water and a splash of beer. Despite living in the incredibly warm climate of the Texas Gulf Coast, I, personally, can get by with using the A/C only during the hottest parts of the afternoon in June, July and August. But whenever the caveman or one of our demanding, unruly, but adorable children or grandchildren are here, they scream, “Do you even have the air conditioner ON?!”

I implore them to embrace nudity as an alternative but so far the gringa has gotten no support for a shift toward nude living as another aspect of living off the grid. I mean, after all, it would also create less demand in the laundry area, thus providing further conservation of water and energy.

I mean, doesn’t the dear reader see the strong correlation between climate change, laundry, and air conditioning? Perhaps that is the solution. If people living in warm climates would simply go nude, or at least opt for bikinis or sheer Romanesque body drapes, think of all of the textile and clothing factories that would no longer be necessary, close down and no longer contribute to human induced climate change. Think of all of those dresses and jeans and pajamas no longer contributing to fossil fuel emissions when shipping and trucking of apparel is no longer needed.

I do believe the gringa is on to something. Nudity could very well save the world. Unless, of course, you live in Siberia. But winter wear is a subject for another post.

Source: europe.newsweek.com

Image Credit: tse4.mm.bing.net

 

 

Advertisements

Calling The North Star! Come In North Star! Do You Read?


Have you ever wondered if you got stranded on a desert island and launched a desperate plea for help through ye aulde “message in a bottle” method just how long it might take for someone to receive your communique. And if the hands it eventually fell into would even be able to read your language and decipher the message? That’s kind of the case anytime a messaging project is embarked upon launching human messages into outer space. And the latest one has been undertaken by the European Space Agency (ESA).

A Simple Response to an Elemental Message” is sending a radio message to the North Pole star, also known as Polaris. The ESA believes that mankind is living in what they dub “The Critical Decade”. They posit that, as has been historically proven, ecological decisions today will affect future generations, for bad or good depending on what we choose. Do we set our future grandchildren up for failure or success? For mere survival or a flourishing civilization? The world’s response to the UN Climate Change Conference of last year will decide what the next decade will mean for the human species as an entire collective.

The ESA’s “Simple Response” project invites every single human to participate. Ask yourself the question, “How will our present environmental interactions shape the future?” Form your response and contribute your own perspective to the project. Later this fall, all contributions will be transmitted from the ESA’s station at Cebreros, Spain and sent on a journey at light-speed into outer space. The voices of the human race will forever be encoded into a beam of light. Will it be the last hurrah of a race bent on self-annihilation because of an obsession with comfort and consumerism?

As of the gringa’s composition of this post there were 3,139 contributions. By visiting the project’s website and clicking on the “Contribute” tab, Earthlings can fill in the blanks and contribute their own two cents worth on the subject of climate change. The gringa contributed the following under the name: Gringa of the Barrio, Houston, TX:

“If we don’t act now, this message may be the last gasp of a race bent on self annihilation through the obsessions of creature comforts and consumerism. If more intelligent beings are out there, please come help us save us from ourselves.”

After your contribution you may want to check out the mission statement of the program. The gringa, usually a light-hearted person who is perpetually positive, came away quite sobered. The reality of this project is that it may very well be, in the future, an archaeological relic to be discovered by some alien race of the future. It may be a message that inspires these ETs to travel to our home world and try to reconstruct the history of a civilization of fools who destroyed themselves because they arrogantly believed they were simply too great to fail.

 

Source: www.asimpleresponse.org

Image credit: 2.bp.blogspot.com

 

Can Post Consumerism Solve The Climate Change Problem?


If gross consumerism is feeding the beast of climate change and post-consumerism is the solution, what the heck is post-consumerism exactly? Post-consumerism is a complete paradigm shift of thinking for capitalist consumer cultures. Its approach is to put the well-being of others and the environment before material success. The core value is to be satisfied with what is enough to sustain a life for today rather than mass accumulation of goods that are unnecessary and solely for the purpose of vanity.

Does this mean we would all live in crappy looking homes, wear crappy looking clothes and not bathe regularly? Will we be tilling our backyard gardens and lugging firewood and reading by candlelight with no more Internet? Will we be trading our home-grown tomatoes for a bar of soap from our crafty neighbor? The gringa wants to know the details. It’s all well and good to spout humanitarian “isms” that are noble and high-minded, but, the reality is, if it is too uncomfortable and crappy, spoiled people are just not going to be interested.

Well, first of all post-consumerism is not interested in ridding the world of commercial businesses. It does expect businesses to be held accountable to the highest standards of social, economic, and environmental responsibility. A post-consumer will only engage in trade for goods and services with businesses that operate this way. A post-consumer uses their dollars to hold businesses accountable. The gringa’s on board with that one, however, I would like more options. I would prefer if more businesses operated ethically in the world. Right now it’s kind of expensive for me to live true to a post-consumer standard where shopping is concerned. A $3 Starbucks coffee is a little steep compared to McDonald’s coffee on the 99cent menu.

For post-consumerism to become more affordable, more businesses have to operate ethically creating more competition that will drive down prices. But how can this happen? The same way it always happens in a capitalist system. The market responds to consumer demand.

Consumers underestimate the power of the dollar in bringing about change. We don’t have to miss a few days of work to attend a mass protest demanding corporate accountability. We don’t have to end up losing our jobs after getting arrested and thrown in the slammer for a couple of days at said protest. We simply need to recognize that in a capitalist consumer culture, the dollar is God. It has the Almighty power to make or break a business. And little ol’ you and me wield the power of God in a consumer society. Wield that power wisely and a society can redirect a business culture toward social, economic and environmental responsibility. That is how post-consumerism works. If enough people signal to a market what it is they demand in goods and services, the market will respond because they want your money. A concerted effort of consumers collectively rejecting unethical business goods and services, while at the same time supporting ethical businesses, can change the world.

How to live the powerful life of a post-consumer:

  • Minimize and use less “stuff”
  • Repurpose and re-use as much as possible
  • Shop ethically as much as possible and when you can’t, if possible, shop second hand
  • Embrace and practice any level of self-sufficiency or off-grid lifestyle that you are capable of where you are right now
  • Consider “first-world” luxuries you enjoy and the possibility of living without them or at least opting for energy-efficient models, alternative energy models, etc.
  • Minimize exposure to marketing campaigns
  • Expect to feel uncomfortable and perhaps a bit like a crazy radical when transitioning, embrace it and accept it
  • Reach out and begin to build community around you with your neighbors through projects such as swap meets (surely you have a few neighbors who are crafting away in the seclusion of their homes) or establishing a community garden that can supply everyone’s kitchen and maybe earn the community a bit of change at the local farmer’s market, and don’t forget to bond over some fun with a block party every now and then
  • Begin with the youth by starting up a local children’s book club and help children grow up with a sense of community responsibility fostered by the literature they read

So, how does the gringa measure up? Am I practicing what I preach? I am trying and it is not easy. There are just not as many options available for the goods and services I need. But, I try. A few examples based on the above listed recommendations:

  • Minimizing & Repurposing – We have the furniture that we need for our household (2 beds, 1 sofa, 2 chair dinette, 2 dressers, 2 file cabinets that serve as bedside tables, 2 desks, 1 bookcase). Our luxury furniture is rather minimal (2 TVs with TV tables, decorative entry table, 3 decorative side tables, 1 recliner). We also have furniture that is not necessary but either functional, can be argued to be “emotionally” nurturing, or sentimental (craft table, grandmother’s cedar chest, patio furniture). And then there are the wall decorations which are either family photos, my own art, or things we have picked up on our travels
  • Shop Ethically or Second Hand – We do this faithfully although there are still goods and services that we need and have no viable options, such as getting the oil changed in our car, certain grocery items, etc. I buy almost all of my clothes and furniture second hand.
  • Self-Sufficient/Off-Grid Lifestyle – I have a patio herb and tea garden and a few vegetables. We have no cable TV/Wifi service. We have an antenna to get local news channels on the television and I use a mobile hotspot with my cellphone for Internet on my laptop when I work. I have to budget my online time. We do not use a clothes dryer. I have a laundry line on my back patio. We live where I can walk to my necessities (post office, bank, small grocery) so I only drive one day weekly when I go to the big market and I do all of my other “away” errands on that day. And I make some “stuff” we need like fabric softener. I save all of our vegetable clippings and waste and brew “compost” tea every week for plant fertilizer.
  • “First World” Luxuries – We have an energy efficient washing machine but I really want one that operates when you pedal a stationary bike (one day it shall be mine!). Living in a rental apartment, we have no control over whether or not our refrigerator, stove or dishwasher is energy efficient.
  • Minimize Exposure – This is probably the key to converting to post-consumerism. We simply must accept that marketers and advertisers know their craft and regular folk are no match for their techniques. We quickly become brainwashed into believing we cannot have a happy life unless we have this, that or the other. I do not look at magazines, watch television or go to the mall just to walk around and “look”.
  • Reach Out – I reach out beyond my community in an attempt to build literacy. I participate locally with local reading programs and occasionally stick my big nose into a political demonstration if it’s local and an issue I agree with. I KNOW my neighbors, engage with them regularly and we share over-abundances we have with one another whether it is food, patio plants, or a bulk bag of socks for kids.

Although what the caveman and I do is very little, it is changing our way of thinking. Each time we change a little something, we awaken more. We realize there is much more we can do and are willing to do but transition is slow and gradual. Sometimes something is staring us in the face and it just takes a while to realize because we are so conditioned to accept things the way they are.

For example, I have a netted enclosure on my back patio for my parakeet, finch and dove. Most of the year the gulf coast is the perfect weather for them to enjoy being out of doors in a flight cage. My dove usually lays an egg every now and then. We just realized that we have room for a few more dove and could be enjoying fresh eggs, albeit tiny ones, practically every day. So, change is gradual but in the end, it is still change. And if all people living a gross consumer lifestyle begin the process, the overall impact can be world changing.

The reality is that, although faithful recycling is great, waste is really not the heart of the problem. Accumulation of more and more “stuff” is. Higher demands of certain types of services is another part of the equation. Urban living makes post-consumerism more of a challenge but not impossible.  The gringa is open to radical change and the caveman is resigned to enjoy the ride because his little gringa’s crazy ideas often save him a nickel or two.

Source:  www.postconsumers.com

Image credit: http://www.prrepublika.wordpress.com

Today’s America, Just a Civilization Rerun


If man is really an intelligent animal it would stand to reason that he would learn from his own mistakes. If he is an extremely intelligent animal he would also learn from the mistakes of others and the mistakes demonstrated in the annals of history. So, how smart are we, really? The gringa’s thinkin’, um, maybe not so smart.

As NASA and other space agencies throughout the world use their technologies to create models of what to expect from climate change, they have continued to share their knowledge with the world. Some folks are listening, others are not. Some folks are taking action, others are not. Of those taking action, it just doesn’t seem like their efforts are enough on their own. And considering what the world’s top scientists are warning everyone about, the gringa’s only conclusion is that, as a whole, man’s just not the sharpest pencil in the box.

Climate change scientists are concerned that the world’s current usage level of raw materials and natural resources is unsustainable, period. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. We have just got to stop using up all of this stuff! Just stop it, I tell ya! If we don’t, eventually the industries that depend on these resources will simply collapse because there will not be enough materials to support their production. But what exactly are we talking about? We are talking about the basic raw materials that end up being a necessary component in just about everything we use in everyday life:

  • Trees (lumber, paper, building materials, shipping containers, etc.)
  • Petroleum
  • Fresh water
  • Raw ores and metals (not vital for jewelry but vital for technology)

And that’s just a few, not to mention basic food crops like grains that the entire world is dependent on and requires vast amounts of fresh water for cultivation.

So what happens when vital industries collapse? How can the effect upon society be known? Won’t some very clever entrepreneur simply come up with a suitable alternative to replace what collapsed, using a completely novel material? Well, that’s not what history teaches us.

Throughout history many great nations and empires have collapsed due to some significant event that led to the decline of the population and their economy. The pattern reflects that such collapses of empires is usually preceded by a culture that becomes obsessed with accumulating wealth at the price of oppressing the poorer working classes. Once this becomes the societal norm the culture has become a predator vs. prey culture.

It seems pretty obvious to the gringa that, at least in her own country, the United States, this is the current state of things. So, if my nation has evolved into the cultural stage that precedes a collapse of the state system, is there anything that can be done to prevent the collapse or are we too far gone?

Experts say that the condition is possibly reversible if the culture will do one very important thing:  Reduce consumption to a sustainable level and distribute resources more equitably. This solution sounds pretty simple for a highly complex problem and civilization.

How in the heck do these experts expect Americans to change their consumer culture? Their consumer culture is EXACTLY what defines them. Americans are not proud of a heritage of literature or fine art or musical progenies who produce operas. Americans are proud inventors and innovators and entrepreneurs who sell lots of goods and services in order to make lots of money so they can turn around and buy lots of goods and services to serve as the evidence that they were successful to begin with by their own selling of goods and services. The gringa believes the United States is doomed because the very actions they believe has made the country great is the very behavior that is going to bring it down. Gross consumerism.

So, if America is doomed to collapse, then what will happen? Well, when the Roman Empire bit the dust centuries followed where the population declined. Sick folks couldn’t afford medical treatment so death rates were higher. Young people had uncertain futures so there were fewer pregnancies. What pregnancies there were experienced higher infant mortality because diets were poorer and medical treatment less accessible. The Romans also became dumber because education takes a back seat as a priority when a person is trying to eke out an existence in a collapsed empire. In fact, the population of Rome became widely illiterate.

Amazing how such an advanced civilization spoiled itself to the point that it collapsed and regressed and de-volved. But it happened. And it happened to more empires than just Rome. For example, these are other nations that made it to the pinnacle of existence and then fell to their deaths:

  • Minoa
  • Mycenaea
  • Mesopotamia
  • Sumera
  • Akkadia
  • Babylon
  • Abbasid Empire
  • Umayyad Empire
  • Sassanid Empire
  • Egypt
  • Hittite civilization
  • Mauryan Empire
  • Gupta Empire
  • Zhou Empire
  • Han Empire
  • Tang Empire
  • Song Empire
  • Maya civilization

Let’s stop there and note that the Mayans had reached a point in their society where they were ruled by kings. Their science and astronomy was highly advanced. Metallurgists and craftsmen created magnificent art and jewelry. And then this highly ordered civilization with their kings and calendars and sophisticated political system and complex culture lost well over 90% of their population.

This cycle of rise to power, period of indulgence then collapse into dissolution is worldwide. It has occurred in virtually every major civilization on every continent in the world. No people has been immune. And each civilization was arrogant enough to believe that they would be the exception to the historical rule. Much like my own nation.

So, the gringa watches and waits, considering the checklist of the many events that can trigger the collapse of a civilization:

  • Natural disasters
  • Environmental changes/catastrophes
  • War, civil war or foreign invasion
  • Technology development
  • Weapons development
  • Changes in trade
  • Depletion of natural resources
  • Cultural revolution and unrest

Well, pretty much everything on the list has either happened or seems rather imminent. So now what happens in the predator vs. prey model of America? Well, as the predator becomes more and more enriched, they begin to outgrow the available prey population. The population of the prey will continue to decline. The predator will then have to turn elsewhere to have their needs met. That can be done by creating wars for profit in other countries, assisting in regime changes to place in power a leader who is friendly and will allow exploitation of their people and natural resources, and trade agreements with friendly nations that openly exploit their natural resources and population. Yes, that is America.

But the bad news is that when a predator population begins to rage out of control and threatens the natural order of things, it also begins to decline with disease from growing fat with overfeeding. It then declines even more as it becomes malnourished due to a decline in available prey caused by its gross overfeeding. And then, finally, the predator weakens to the point that it can no longer regain its strength and former glory and a greater and stronger predator swoops in and takes out the competition. And this little rabbit is watching and seeing everything that the wolves are doing.

 

Sources:  www.nasa.gov

www.space.com

 

Image credit:  www.newsgrist.typepad.com

 

 

 

 

GMO’s And The Power Of The Consumer


Over the past several months, I have engaged in discussions regarding GMO crops and food products. I am most definitely not a scientist so I will not write from that perspective. I will put in my two cents worth as a consumer. The first thing I will say is, “Consumers, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR POWER!” As a consumer, if you do not want to purchase and consume GMO products, that is your right as a consumer. If manufacturers of products containing GMOs do not want to label their products, do not be disheartened. If your local grocer does not stock many products that are labeled “certified non-GMO”, you have the power to change this!

I believe every consumer has the right to be an informed consumer and spend their money on exactly the type of product they desire. If a person is endeavoring to purchase food products to support an organic diet or simply wants to exercise their own personal preference not to consume GMO products, that is what living with freedom and liberty is all about.  The gringa is FOR the consumer.

That being said, dear readers, please remember that America is a capitalist society. Big GMO companies have the capital to pay for influence when it comes to legislative response when consumers are crying foul. It’s in the best interest for GMO industry profit to get Americans to buy their products that have been rejected by Europe. America is their only large market. They know labeling will lose sales so they will use whatever influence they have in Washington to avoid having to label their products.

More success may be found if consumers begin a letter writing and petition campaign on a grass roots level with local grocers to supply consumers with products that are certified NON-GMO. Consumers have to think from a capitalist perspective rather than a civil rights perspective on this one. The local grocer, if inundated with requests for Certified NON-GMO products, is more likely to respond than Congress, who very well may be in the back pocket of powerful GMO companies that have the means to fund special interest groups that can lobby Congress and also make sizable contributions to the campaign funds of politicians.

In a capitalist system, certain methods are more effective than others, especially if a person, or group, lacks the wealth that greases the wheels in a capitalist system. Take back your power. Write a letter and meet with your local grocer. Take all your friends with you. Then, drop the gringa a note and let me know how it went! I’m dying to know!

Please feel free to copy the following form letter. Mail or, better yet, hand deliver it to your local grocery manager. I assure you they will be willing to stock what they know the customer wants. They are in business to make money. Make many, many, many copies of this letter and share with your other non-GMO friends.

Be respectful in your efforts. Try not to “evangelize”. There are many American consumers who don’t give a hoot what they ingest. This is not about interfering with such a consumer’s right to ingest GMO food products. This is about the non-GMO consumer having the right to express to their food supplier the products they want. Just as you don’t want your food consumption rights interfered with, please don’t interfere in the rights of others. That being said, please share this letter with as many friends and grocers as you please. Happy Consumer Activism!

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a loyal grocery customer. As a customer, I would like to let you know that I appreciate the fact that you have a responsive customer service department. At this time, I would like to share some of my personal grocery needs in the hopes that you will stock these types of products that I would most earnestly purchase.

I am a conscientious consumer and have become aware of the controversy surrounding GMO food products. Considering that the GMO food industry has not responded favorably to consumers expressing their desire to know what they are consuming and label products that contain GMO ingredients, I look to another solution. I wholeheartedly support products that are labeled “certified non-GMO”. I understand that you, as a grocer, are in a retail business whose aim is to make money. I also understand these new “certified non-GMO” labels may increase the price of these foods as they have the new expense of registering these products and creating new labels. These higher prices may discourage you from stocking them in favor of a lower priced food that may possibly be a GMO food. I assure you that I most definitely will choose a certified “non-GMO” food over the same food product that is unlabeled. I will reject the unlabeled product due to the suspicion that it may be a GMO food.

I am aware that more than 20 European and Asian nations have banned or restricted GMO crop cultivation and/or imports. The scientists of these communities have concluded that their agricultural industries are unable to maintain crop purity and risk contamination by GMO crops. Upon their recommendations, their respective governments enacted legislation to ban or restrict GMOs. Because of this, United States companies that have invested heavily in GMO products now have only the American grocery market as their largest market place in which to generate a return for their investors. As a conscientious consumer, my loyalty lies with what is better for the environment, rather than what is better for the scientists and investors of the GMO industry. That is why I would be a loyal customer who would purchase the “certified non-GMO” products you would stock.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

 

You may wonder if this will really work. I assure you it will. I have personal experience in just such a thing. When my oldest son was a toddler he had some serious dietary allergies. There was a specific milk substitute that tasted great but was not on the shelves of our local Kroger. I asked the manager if he could get this product. Not only did he assure me that he would, but he asked me if there were any other products I was interested in. I then named off a few snacks and treats that I was trying to duplicate in my own kitchen because they did not stock them. He began to stock not just the items I requested, but many more products made by these same companies. He did all of that simply by the request of one, single customer.

The gringa believes that non-GMO consumers may very well be the next up and coming niche market that the food industry producers of non-GMO foods will eventually pounce upon. Non-GMO food producers are realizing consumers are willing to absorb the added cost of qualifying for the “certified non-GMO” label. I believe it will be found that, just as “organic”  and “gluten-free” became popular, profitable foodie trends, “certified non-GMO” will be the next foodie trend. There are plenty of consumers out there who don’t care one way or another what they eat, but there are niche markets that are very particular, very loyal, and willing to pay a premium to get exactly what they want. If GMO producers refuse to label their products, the gringa says, “Who cares!” I’ll just support another solution. The gringa will support non-GMO producers that proudly label their products. By supporting these products with your purchase, eventually, more companies will follow suit, jump on the bandwagon, and label their products “certified non-GMO” because they want your money, too.

In discussing the GMO issue, remember, it really is a consumer issue. When GMO supporters or scientists get hostile, remember, your criticism of their product threatens profits that are being demanded by investors. It also threatens funding of research that scientists may have invested a lifetime in. This threat creates a level of frustration that blinds them to the fact that the product they have developed was never guaranteed to be wanted by a consumer. This can sometimes result in a reaction that seems very arrogant and condescending because they do not understand that consumers are not obligated to want their product no matter how much science may prove it is superior. Such people need to be reminded that if consumers don’t want your product, the fault is not with the consumer.

Another thing GMO supporters forget, especially the scientists of this industry, is that there are plenty of people who do not trust the credibility of scientists in a country that operates as a capitalist model. Many people understand about corporate greed and corporate corruption and are suspicious. Especially when GMO’s have been rejected in Europe in countries that are non-capitalist models. That is the biggest elephant in the room when arguing with GMO supporters, the fact of GMO rejection by a large bloc of European and Asian countries. European and Asian scientists have done their own research and many have recommended rejection of GMOs to their respective governments who respected the wisdom of their scientists and acted accordingly.

When the European subject comes up, the GMO supporter may try to change the subject and make some claim that GMO product rejection is just silly because we’ve all been consuming them for decades anyway, we just didn’t know. The gringa is then reminded of many harmful drugs that were used for years and finally banned when cancers and the like showed up twenty or thirty years later. Also, the fact that consumers may have been consuming these products for years is irrelevant to putting the consumer’s mind at ease. In fact, a consumer who is already skeptical will probably only have their suspicions reinforced if they believe they have been eating corn on the cob for twenty years, erroneously believing it was the same, old corn on the cob grandma used to make and the scientific community never informed the public what they were doing. The reason suspicion becomes heightened is because the average person will think, “If it’s so great, why, then, hide your light under a bushel? What have you got to hide.”

The GMO supporter may also argue that the European ban is because of a few loud-mouth interest groups who have loads of money to gain by people joining their cause or logging on to their website. South Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, France, Madeira, and Switzerland have all banned or restricted GMO crops and/or imports. It is not anti-GMO rhetoric from a few individuals and companies that has this issue in the headlines. This issue is in the headlines because educated consumers are speaking out about legitimate concerns based on the rejection of GMO’s by many European countries whose testimony, reports and research contradict what America’s GMO industry claims.

These are technologically advanced, well educated nations with well respected scientific communities whose research resulted in the governments of these nations adopting legislation that effectively banned or restricted GMO crop cultivation and/or import. These scientific communities evidently do not agree with the science of American companies. As far as many informed consumers are concerned, the American scientific community is in the minority in their published opinions supporting and promoting GMOs when compared to the combined scientific communities of these twelve scientifically advanced European nations. And these twelve nations do not stand alone in their position on GMOs. The gringa has decided for reasons of space and word count to stop the list at these twelve.

Some GMO supporters will disrespect the scientists of these European and Asian nations by blaming environmental interest groups like Greenpeace for influencing the outlaw of GMO’s in these countries. They are not being honest at all. Below are just three examples illustrating what really motivated GMO bans:

  • GMOs were outlawed in Tasmania over a decade ago after genetically altered canola escaped from trial crops at secret sites around the state.
  • In 2006, a large part of the U.S. long-grain rice crop was contaminated by an experimental strain from Bayer CropScience , prompting import bans in Europe and Japan and sharply lowering market prices. The company agreed in court in 2011 to pay $750 million to growers as compensation.
  •  Preventing contamination by GMO crops motivated New Zealand to reject GMO’s. A government public statement regarding the premise for banning GMO’s is recorded as, “The  New Zealand economy relies on its agricultural purity…”
  • In 2008, in Germany, a “Council of Environmental Scholars weighed in on this debate, holding that a total avoidance of pollution from GM planting is technically not feasible. The Council sees the risks of GMOs as a threat not so much to human health as to the environment, citing the risks of contaminating natural areas and non-GM crops, dissemination through vertical and horizontal gene transfers, toxic effects on non-targeted organisms, and effects possibly resulting from changes in agricultural practices.” This quote is available in the United States Library of Congress. Germany does not want crop contamination and also does not want GMOs spreading like invasive weeds and taking over natural green areas, therefore, no GMO’s. This was the result of reports from their respected scientific community, not small interest group influence.

The gringa would never insult the scientific communities of these nations and diminish the contribution of their hard work by attributing to any environmental group as being the influential factor that motivated the decisions of their respective governments. These governments were responding to the will of the people, whose desire was to protect their own agricultural industry from GMO contamination. Their decisions were based on many hours of pain-staking research and were made in the best interest of their populations.

GMO companies, investors and scientists seem to be banging their fists on boardroom conference tables demanding a return on their investment. Now they are mad because their market is no longer global and the only market left to them, the American consumer, is rejecting their product. They are mad because rather than make the bank, they may only be left with dusty, unwanted products in dusty warehouses. If GMO supporters ever want to make the bank, they really need to rethink their marketing strategy because, so far, they have only pissed off their potential consumer market with bully tactics and arrogant, patronizing attitudes.

 

Sources:

http://naturalrevolution.org/list-countries-banned-genetically-modified-food/

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-09/tasmania27s-gmo-ban-extended-indefinitely/5192112

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/japan-gmo-wheat-food-concerns_n_3357240.html

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/germany.php

http://www.gefree.org.nz/

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/grocery-trip-change-congress-bans-gmo-labels/story?id=32665438

Photo credit: http://www.thinklean.net