Posts Tagged ‘GMOs’

Humans today have trouble with the notion of ‘one thing’. We are constantly taking, and trying to control nature. For the case of food we try to “make the deserts bloom and put an end to world poverty” (Otero, 27).  When bringing up this act of world greed we can not help wonder if it is bought on by society. How did we become so focused on money as some people suffer? I think it is time we stop focusing on the monetary profit of farming and focus on how to profit the people.

If we continue living as we do today, raping the worlds resources from oceans to mountains and jungles to forests,  problems will arise.  We all know that with the rise of population and global warming, food crisis and famine go hand in hand. It must be noted that in this discussion I will focus on the exploitation of the global South by the global North. As everyone is trying to make a buck.  It is evident that, “[humans will] carry this revolution forward even if it destroys the entire world” (Qinn, 217). In other words the world will be consumed by our greed and want for “more”.
The film Darwin’s Nightmare, directed by Hubert Sauper, is a perfect example of the greed and domination of the global North and how it directly effects the global south. In the poverty struck town of Mwanza, Tanzania, located on the southeastern shores of Lake Victoria the fishing industry is the main economy of the town. Hundreds of tons of fish are exported every year. The fish factories process thousands of fish a day to be loaded on to daily flights headed to the global North later to feed a family in Europe or Russia. As cargo planes arrive empty and leave full of fish, beggars outside fight for rice and fish scraps from the factory.  This short description of the film proves that “[t]he idea…that we can solve the food crisis by simply increasing yields is problematic in a world where most people go hungry, not because there isn’t plentiful food, but because they can not afford what food exists” (Otero, 30).  If we added more fish to Lake Victoria and focused on the town of Mwanza, the only thing that will change is the number of fish processing plants in the town, and some more zeros and comas on the total number of tons exported. There would still be children begging outside, and there will still be people who cannot afford to buy food. A more local example of this is that, “[i]mporting cheaply produced transgenics did nothing to shield Mexican from the onslaught of high corn prices: when prices increased by 15% […] consumption dipped by 30%” (Otero, 30). When the United States gave Mexico genetically mortified seeds more crops were produced.  All that meant was the more crops were exported. The people still went hungry.
If you take a look around nature and include humans, “[… you’ll see some creatures who act as though the world belongs to them and some creatures who act as though they belong to the world…” (Quinn 245). I believe that if we can belong more to the world, for example let the city of Mwzana eat their fresh fish, and let the People of Europe catch their own fish to eat. If we support the small-scale producers we can help feed millions of peasant families, keep the farmers on the land. Also small-scale local farming have positive effects on the environment and local farming is known to help preserve plant diversity. Findings, “…support the view that, while agricultural production and productivity are increasing, the benefits of capitalizes farming are not necessarily accruing to small farmers or the hungry” (Otero, 30). We must stop the production of genetically modified seeds in order to have bigger fruits and vegetables.

The change has to start somewhere, and I think that change should begin on a local level. If everyone who reads this blog becomes more conscious about what they buy, and focuses on locally grown food we can make a difference.  However we can only start the change. I believe that there will continue to be “more than enough food” but as long as farming stays focused on making a buck people will always be hungry

Otero, Gerardo, and Gabriela Penchlaner. “Is Biotechnology the Answer? The Evidence
From NAFTA.” NACLA Report on the Americans 42.3 (2009): 27-31. Print.

Quinn, Daniel. Ishmael. New York: Bantam/Turner, 1992. Print

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For several years now, the controversy of genetically modified organisms (GMO) has been a great ally of writers and bloggers around the media world.  Many bloggers write about their opinions regarding GMO’s; some of the writers defend them but a vast majority attack and disbelieve that GMO’s are good for one’s health.  First and foremost, it is necessary to note that GMO’s are something new to our generation and for this reason many people consider them harmful and unethical.  However, one must ask if they are really malign because they are something that is new to us or because they really affect our health.
In my opinion, I believe that GMO’s are simply not healthy because they are genetically corrupted foods and the properties of the modified goods are changed and lost when they are altered. However, I must argue that ignorance and lack of knowledge on the matter in our society helps fuel the controversy of whether GMO’s are right or wrong.  Some people believe that GMO’s, if not controlled, will change the course of our generation. Whether it is for good or for bad that is yet to be seen, but what is certain is that they will play a major roll in future generations.
Some media bloggers argue that GMO’s can be beneficial in underdeveloped nations where not everyone has proper access to food. They believe that modified food can allow people to consume balanced diets, because modified goods can certainly permit them to eat all kinds of vital organisms.  An example of such benefit is adding vitamins to oranges in order to fight seasonal flues.
However, GMO’s can also be used to make people addicted to food, and this way allow food companies to take advantage of them.  Some fast food chains use GMO’s to make their products more profitable at the expense of the consumers.  In some cases, some companies have tried to pass a law that would allow them to serve and produce food without having to state where their food came from.  In my opinion this would be a major negative effect on all consumers. This would allow companies not only to decide how consumers will be treated, but also make them even more addicted to their products.
As stated before, behind all this controversy sits the media which takes advantage of such debate to make up stories and help their writing profit.  As seen in the reading, “All news are local” one can see how media reporters and writers customize their stories to appeal to a certain public.  One can see how news reporters draw off in certain events to make their news more popular in certain areas.  In regards to GMO’s, one does not see many underdeveloped citizen bloggers arguing against GMO’s simply because they do not understand the matter or because it is simply not relevant to their societies.  However, one can see how, in developed countries, several people talk and write about genetically modified organisms, simply because they affect, in one way or another, their lives.
Most writers base their articles on juicy stories in which they deal with local citizens.  All news are local, means that they are only relevant to the people that are directly affected.  For an American citizen to read that a child is dying of starvation in Africa does not make any difference, but for the very same American to read that the next time he goes to a fast food stand and the food that he will consume there will affect his health, this may make a difference and hence, he or she will be more interested in reading such a news.
Lastly, it is proper to note that news regarding GMO’s are mainly focused for developed countries, and for the very same reason that they are believed to be harmful to people is that they are such a good story for reporters. They deal directly with the average citizen therefore the media can take advantage of such a controversial matter.  GMO’s not only help food chains to be more profitable but also local news writers to get their stories across to more people. In conclusion, GMO’s need to be controlled in order to protect everyone’s health.

-Santiago Dominguez

Work cited:
R Stanton. All News is Local. Chapter 9& 10: Citizens and Participation & Conclusion. 170-200. Copyright 2007 Richard Stanton.
Nestle, Marion. Food Politics.  UC Press: Berkeley, 2003.  Selected

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