I was honored to be invited to speak at the March Against Monsanto in Philadelphia, on May 25, 2013. Here is what I said (and HERE is a video on Youtube.)
March Against Monsanto, Philadelphia, May 25, 2013 by Jon McGoran
My name is Jon McGoran, and GMOs scare the hell out of me. They scare me because they're everywhere, and they haven't been tested, not enough. They scare me because they're alive, and once they're out, they're out. It's not easy to put that genie back in the bottle. And they scare me because the people making billions of dollars off them are using that money to control the levers of power in this country.
I've been writing about food and sustainability for 20 years, first at Weavers Way Co-op, and now as editor of Grid magazine. I've watched as the news about our food has gotten stranger and stranger. But chemicals and irradiation are nothing compared to GMOs.
I wrote a book about GMOs, a thriller called Drift, coming out in July. It's a mixed bag, writing a thriller about GMOs. On the one hand, it practically writes itself, with all the creepy science and evil corporations quashing the truth and trying to crush their opponents. On the other hand, it's not easy coming up with an evil plot these guys haven't already done.
The science of GMOs is crazy enough, and not just the food, but things like glow in the dark cats and goats with human genes. But even more bizarre than the science of GMOs is the politics.
We're grateful that Pennsylvania has enlightened leaders like Senator Leach and the cosponsors of his GMO labeling bill. And there are others like him across the country. But apparently they are in the minority. There seems to be an inverse proportion between the percentage of Americans who want GMO labeling and the percentage of our political leaders who are brave enough, or have enough integrity, to fight for it. Despite 90% of Americans saying they want labeling of GMO's, just last week the US senate voted 71 to 27 to block an amendment that didn't even require GMO labeling, it just said that states should be allowed to do so. That's not democracy.
And just as much as GMO's scare me, the people who defend them get on my nerves. I'm talking about the people who call us anti-science when science is exactly what we're demanding, when the GMO corporations are using patent laws to prevent science from being done.
I'm talking about the people who say GMO's are good for the environment because they reduce the dependence on chemical pesticides, when in reality they have brought skyrocketing pesticide use, superweeds, and an epidemic of suicide among farmers in India who are going broke because they have to use twice as much pesticide as they used to, and instead of saving their seeds, now they have to buy them from Monsanto each year.
And I'm talking about the people who say GMOs are the only way to feed the world's growing population, when GMOs have consistently failed to live up to the hype. I know organizations like The Gates Foundation support GMOs. And I trust that they have the best intentions in doing so. But I've used Windows 8, and I've used Windows Vista, so excuse me if I don't trust Bill Gates' opinion when it comes to tinkering with the genetic code of our food.
So like I said: GMOs scare me. But today, all across the world, millions of peoples are coming together to speak out against them. So to the corporations who are pushing GMOs on a world that doesn't want them, I say this: Maybe its time you got a little bit scared of us.