But sometimes your hopes and efforts bump up against the harsh realities of our changing world.
For example, in a previous article we talked about discovering that the majority of the “health food” in our local health store is manufactured by mid-sized corporations that are subsidiaries of a handful of mega-corporations that sell junk food.
We learned that “natural” and “organic” foods we spend a lot of money for at health stores are not pure and healthy as I’d believed.
In some cases, they’re loaded with genetically modified materials, such as GMO soy. I was shocked to see that GMO soy and other genetically modified crops make up a large percentage of our food supply.
And that the federal government and corporations have joined together to fight against parents and organic advocates who want GMO foods properly labeled as such.
Recently, I learned that the increasing reliance on genetically modified crops worldwide is threatening our children, our food supply, the future of farming, and our environment.
The biotech industry claims that genetically-modified (GM) foods are safe, but they’ve also blocked human studies that would evaluate GMO safety.
Most GMO studies have been conducted on animals, and these studies show that GMOs penetrate and harm animals at every level, negatively affecting their immune system, reproductive system, metabolism and basic life functions.
When research hamsters were fed genetically-modified soy, it only took three generations before the hamsters were losing their fertility.
But even if GM food had no direct health effect on humans, the production of GMOs and genetically modified foods does have directly negative effects on people and the environment.
In many countries, farmers are prevented from growing diverse crops to feed their family and villages because vast soy plantations turn millions of acres of native land and community farms into monoculture soy farms.
The United States accounts for nearly two-thirds of all biotechnology crops. GMO crops grown by U.S. farmers include corn, cotton, soybeans, canola, squash, and papaya.
Other major GMO crop growers are Argentina, which primarily plants Monsanto’s GMO soybeans; Canada, whose principal GMO crop is canola; South Africa, which grows GM cotton; Brazil, which is slashing and burning the Amazon rainforest so it can grow GM soybeans, and China, where the acreage of GM cotton is increasing rapidly.
In the U.S., nearly a third if not more of all crops are genetically-modified…we’re talking hundreds of millions of acres, and every year the percentage of farmland devoted to GMO crops gets larger.
GMO soy and other crops are genetically modified to serve the profit motives of chemical agribusiness giant Monsanto—a corporation implicated in and convicted of some of the nastiest environmental and moral crimes on this planet.
GM crops are engineered so farmers have to use toxic agricultural chemicals such as Roundup, and so that some crops (like GM corn) internally produce insecticides that harm bees and other pollinators.
GMO Foods and the Poisons Used to Grow Them.
Enter Our Environment and Bodies
When my other mom friends and I got together to watch the documentary “The World According to Monsanto,” we felt disgusted and kind of depressed about Monsanto’s ability to harm the world our children live in.
One of the biggest risks comes from Monsanto’s genetically-modified Roundup Ready® soy grown on tens of millions of acres across the globe, which means tens of millions of gallons of toxic Roundup herbicides enter the food chain, soil, lakes, rivers and underground water supplies.
Monsanto used to claim that Roundup® was safe for people and the environment, but they can’t say that anymore, because scientists and courts found that Roundup, with its main ingredient glyphosate, is anything but safe.
Glyphosate herbicides are the mostly commonly used herbicides worldwide. In agriculture they are used with genetically-modified glyphosate-tolerant crops, but they are also widely used in yards, gardens, and other non-farming areas.
When you get dosed with glyphosate you experience eye irritation, burning eyes, blurred vision, skin rashes, burning or itchy skin, nausea, asthma, headache, weakness, nose bleeds, and dizziness.
Lab tests show that glyphosate causes genetic damage to human cells and in animals. Farmers and others exposed to glyphosate have increased risks of the cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, miscarriages, and attention deficit disorder.
Studies show that glyphosate reduces or interferes with normal production of sex hormones. Glyphosate easily contaminates water supplies, and is responsible for mutations and extinctions of frogs, fish and other aquatic creatures. In places like Argentina, where Roundup GMO soy farming has taken the place of small-scale farms, native landscapes, and cattle ranching, more and more people eat soy products, and more and more of them are exposed to glyphosate too.
Think Tofu, Soy Milk and Soy Baby Formula are Healthy?
What’s wrong with consuming soy products like tofu, soyburgers and soymilk? My family’s diet used to rely heavily on these kinds of soy products. Unfermented soy is heavily promoted as a healthy substitute for animal protein.
You find soy as a major component of baby formula, “health” food and beverages, workout drinks, and other products. Many vegetarians use soy products such as tofu as a substitute for animal protein.
But I don’t rely on unfermented soy any more, because I learned that soy contains genistein and daidzein, which are classified as “phytoestrogens” because they chemically resemble estrogen, the main hormone responsible for feminine characteristics in humans.
If you’re a man who just read that and experienced a feeling of worry, you’re right to worry...
Phytoestrogens have been anecdotally and scientifically linked to male erectile dysfunction, decreased sperm count, male breasts, decreased sexual desire and other estrogenate disorders.
In women, soy phytoestrogens can disrupt normal hormonal cycles, which is especially worrisome for women who are pregnant or breast feeding children.
The effects of phytoestrogens on fetal development and early childhood development haven’t been fully explored, so we don’t know 100% exactly what’s going on, but tests and a growing weight of evidence indicate that soy estrogens interfere with fetal development, and with a child’s normal growth patterns after birth.
Childhood immune system disorders, especially thymus disorders, are among the most common problems attributed to soy consumption by pregnant mothers, or when too much soy is fed to young children.
How GMO Soy and Monsanto Are Killing Argentina’s Children
In Argentina and other places where millions of gallons of glyphosate are used in the agribusiness of growing soy, there’s a soy double whammy.
Soy is a huge part of the diet in those places, and many Argentine citizens are also dosed with Roundup’s glyphosate.
With phytoestrogens and herbicide toxins coming in from all sides, many Argentineans are suffering severe health effects.
And the same is happening in other countries because of GMO soy.
This problem got so bad in Argentina that one of the country’s leading scientific researchers spoke out. Andrés Carrasco heads the University of Buenos Aires Molecular Embryology Lab and is also considered a lead scientist at the Argentinean national science laboratory.
In April 2009, Andres Carrasco publicized the lethal effects of glyphosate in embryos of amphibians. Carrasco pointed out that damage to amphibian embryos pointed to correlated causes for damage to human embryos created by Roundup and other Big Ag chemicals.
“The findings in the lab are compatible with malformations observed in humans exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy,” Carrasco said.
As often happens when a scientist tells the truth, the guilty industries and their allies in the media set up a furious counterattack.
Government officials, Big Ag corporations, and pro-Monsanto forces in the press tried to get Carrasco fired and discredit his research.
Carrasco’s scientific colleagues came to his defense. And here’s what courageous Carrasco himself publicly said about his study, and those who attacked him:
“I didn’t discover anything new. I just confirmed what other scientists discovered. In spite of the evidence, they still tried to run down my 30-year reputation as a scientist.
They are hypocrites, lackeys of the big corporations, but they are afraid. They know they can’t cover up the sun with one hand. There is scientific proof and, above all, there are hundreds of affected towns that are living proof of this public health emergency.
The origin of my work was in my contacts with communities who were victims of agrochemical abuse. They are the irrefutable proof of what I have researched with an experimental model during the past 30 years. With this system I have confirmed that glyphosate is devastating for amphibian embryos, even at doses far below those used in agriculture.
This chemical causes many and varied types of malformations. Vertebrate animal models now used in embryological research have an early embryonic development and gene regulation, which is common to humans.
Scientific findings should be considered extrapolated when an external shock alters them. The scientific world knows this and government officials also know it. There are very similar investigations in different parts of the world and they are also from very serious and reliable sources.
At the same time, there is a huge hypocrisy, on the part of the mass media companies and their employed journalists. They discredit an investigation very lightly but do not take the time to hear the cascade of health issues clearly present in soybean crop areas.
The provinces are full of victims of agricultural chemicals, but the newspapers do not want to reach out to these communities. Doctors in the different provinces have been denouncing this for years.
In the northern part of Santa Fe, there are medical reports that confirm that the statistics of newborn babies with malformations are well above the world average, but everything is silenced. It is an evidence of reality and it is indisputable. It can’t be legitimately refuted.
The agro-businesses, the media, the scientific world and government officials are basically hypocrites with regards to the harmful side effects of pesticides."
As we see these dire warnings about mutations and other health problems, from places where GMO crops are grown, we wonder if our own children are affected. After all, a lot of GMO soy and other GM crops are grown in North America, using Roundup and other chemicals that are causing so many problems in Argentina.
I asked my family doctor, who is a very conservative man who believes in America, progress and corporations, almost like a religion.
Born and raised in Midwest corn country, he sees nothing wrong with tens of thousands of acres farmed by corporations using chemicals, GM crops, and petroleum-based fertilizers.
But on the subject of soy farming and how our industrialized food supply affects children, he is not optimistic at all.
He told me to breastfeed my children, avoid all unfermented soy products, buy organic local food, and as much as possible…to grow my own food.
His suggestion led my family to enjoy valuable time we spend gardening indoors and outdoors.
Talk about bonding…when your kids get the joy of seeing their corn, cantaloupes, beans and sunflowers growing from small to large, and they can invite their friends over for an organic homegrown brunch, it’s a real treat.
In the cloudy, cold winter, we spend a lot of time near they hydroponics “grow light,” with its pleasant warm color and its ability to generate heat that lowers our heating bills while providing fresh produce at a time when everyone else is buying stuff flown in from who knows where.
But it isn’t all just about me and my kids, and my other “comfortable” set of friends with children. It’s also about solidarity with all the moms of the world.
I saw pictures of the mutations and other health problems caused by Monsanto’s Roundup and GMO crops, and it hurt my heart.
What would it feel like to have your children damaged, perhaps in the womb, because corporate scientists created Frankenstein crops and farming practices?
I’m sure those women in Argentina and elsewhere are filling rivers with tears when they see what GMO crops and multinational and agricultural chemicals have done to their children and their country.
When the beautiful landscapes of Argentina and other countries are transformed into poisoned “green deserts” where GMO soy and other GMO monocrops grow, covered in chemicals, what kind of world will that be for our children, for children everywhere?
What do I do to help my family and community also helps Argentinean women and their communities: I refuse to buy GMO foods, nor do I give my money to corporations like Monsanto, and you can do that too. It's fun, it builds your family, and it protects our world!
And when we grow our own food using clean, safe fertilizers and hydroponics methods, we free ourselves of the cycle of dependency that allows GMO and Big Ag corporations to harm children, countries and our entire planet.
© Copyright RosebudMag.com, 2012
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Thursday, 31 May 2012