I did something today. Something that I have never ever done before. Something that I have never even desired or considered doing.
I emailed a legislator.
Yes, I have submitted a couple form letter messages to them. In fact that is exactly where this letter stemmed from.
You see, I have never really been too interested in politics. I have just gone about my life and didn’t really follow many issues (thus my ignorance about the whole GMO controversies until recently). I simply thought, I’m just one person, we’re just one family. What difference can we make? My husband just goes to work, I take care of our home, we do the best we can, we take care of our family, we give our kids the best that we have to offer. All these politics are just a big mess all around, why even worry myself with them. It’s out of my hands, let’s just enjoy and be thankful for what we have and let everyone else fight about all these issues.
But you see, until now, I don’t believe there has ever been an issue on my radar that resonates so deeply within me as does the issue of Genetically Modified foods. When you can see something happening within your own child as a result of eating something that has been genetically modified, life changes. Watch out for momma bear!
So when I received this report emailed to me from Organic Consumers Association: We Know Who You Are: 71 Senators Reject State’s Right to Label GMOs, I became angry and disheartened to find that both of our state’s senators voted against the Sander’s Amendment that would preserve state’s right to pass labeling laws. Not only did both of our state’s senators vote against it, one of them was quoted as specifically arguing against the amendment.
Arguing against the Sanders Amendment, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the chair of the Agriculture Committee, said that the amendment “ . . . would interfere with the FDA’s science-based process to determine what food labeling is necessary for consumers.” Stabenow’s statement shows either her ignorance of, or dismissal of, the existing scientific evidence that GE food has been linked to everything from allergies to kidney failure to cancer.
But Stabenow’s real argument was one of efficiency.“It’s also important to note that around the world now we are seeing genetically modified crops that have the ability to resist crop diseases and improve nutritional content and survive drought conditions in many developing countries. . . We see wonderful work being done by foundations like the Gates Foundation and others, that are using new techniques to be able to feed hungry people.”
Let’s forget for a moment that Stabenow took in $739,926 in campaign contributions from Big Ag in 2012. Or that Bill Gates is a Monsanto shareholder. Or that there’s plenty of evidence refuting the claim that GMO crops can solve world hunger, improve nutrition or survive drought. The focus on efficiency over health and safety, when we’re talking about our food, should be enough to set off alarm bells. Claiming efficiency, whether it’s a valid claim or not, as a reason to trample states’ rights to make their own decisions regarding food and agriculture, should have us thinking “slippery slope.”
Grrrrr!! Momma bear doesn’t like this. So, I pushed myself one tiny step out of my comfort zone and hit the submit button for the form letter email provided on the OCA site.
The next day I received a form letter reply to my form letter submission:
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding genetically modified (GM) food. I understand your concerns about the need for a robust, secure supply of a range of foods, including organics.
Agriculture is Michigan’s second largest industry, employing one out of four people in our state, and that is due in large part to the strength of family farms. Our farms have the most crop diversity in the country, beside California, and provide healthy, affordable food to our communities. As the Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am mindful that we have almost seven billion mouths to feed around the globe and that we need American leadership, innovation, and increased efficiency to feed the world. To foster that innovation, we need a regulatory system that is science-based and efficient. I support increased research on the safety and effectiveness of GM crops, and I will continue to monitor this issue and will make sure that the regulation of GM foods is based on sound science.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.
United States Senator
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
This is where I ran right through the wall of my comfort zone. I typed off a short and sweet emotionally driven, personal message. I didn’t over think it, I simply wrote what I felt, in the moment:
I appreciate your reply however I am greatly disheartened by your response. It does not directly address GMO labeling. We do not need GMOs to feed the world.I come from a strongly democratic family made up of public school teachers and Teamsters. We have supported you throughout your political career on both the state on national levels. This is not the wishy washy answer that I want to hear from our representatives. I want to hear that you will fight for GMO labeling.As a mother who has seen my child react directly to GMO foods with ADHD type symptoms, this is a VERY important issue. Labels are a must! In the mean time I have simply stopped purchasing anything for my home that is not labeled nonGMO or organic.I expect you to fight for the best interest of your people, not those of large corporations.