Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seeds of Change

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.
--Alice Walker

This morning, silhouetted against a hazy gold and indigo dawn sky, two doves are seated on a wire outside my kitchen window, cooing. It’s a blessing to awaken to their tranquil call. I never take the peace of this mountain for granted. I always know that somewhere in the world the killing machine is in operation, making war for profit and disrupting the lives of countless innocent and terrified people.

So much has happened in our society recently that disempowers and frightens us. Who ever imagined, for example, that we would see among our elected officials the kinds of blatant corruption that now plague Washington DC? Or imagined that our Supreme Court would declare corporations to be people, even though the corporate structure was invented to shelter individuals from legal problems incurred by their businesses? Or imagined the kind of power that multi-national corporations wield, making them more powerful than the national laws they brutalize in their quest for resources?

So it is a genuine relief and joy to hear of everyday citizens rising up to claim their rights, as is happening with organic farmers, 300,000 strong, taking mega-monster Monsanto to court. In case you haven’t heard about this, here’s the basic story: more than 300,000 organic farmers, led by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), are seeking legal protection from Monsanto, the mad emperor of genetic manipulation. Crops like canola and corn are wind-pollinated and organic farmers are finding that they are unwittingly harboring Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) plants in their fields. Many organic farmers whose fields have been contaminated then find themselves accused of patent infringement. In the last 10 years, Monsanto has filed 144 patent infringement lawsuits against American farmers. Another 700 have been settled out of court for undisclosed amounts. Some farmers have been driven out of business because of this.

There are now many studies that show that Monsanto’s GE foods are not only detrimental to the environment but actually imperil human health. The legal argument used by the farmers hinges on a 170-year old court ruling that declared illegal any patent inventions that are harmful to humans. Thus, Monsanto’s patents should never have been granted, in the first place. Of course, Monsanto has petitioned for dismissal but it’s looking like the case will go to trial.

for a brief summary of scientific reports that will make your hair stand on end – and leave you searching for the organic products at your supermarket. In the past week alone, 750,000 US citizens have taken the time to contact the Food and Drug Administration, demanding that GE foods be labeled, so that we can vote with our dollars at the supermarket about the soundness of GE foods. Much as humankind would like to think they can make improvements, Mother Nature made things to perfection and She doesn’t really like us tinkering with her gifts, I suspect.

Despite all the efforts of humans to upset the balance of Nature, it’s a beautiful, if overcast, morning here. As I sip my certified organic, fair trade, water processed, decaffeinated, French-pressed, Arabica coffee with organic cream and whole raw honey from our own hives, and listen to the cooing of the doves, it’s hard to believe that people are dying at the hands of their own government in Syria at this very moment, or that, before I pour tomorrow morning’s first cup, 35,615 of our brother and sister humans will have starved to death, 85% of them children. Since we have the privilege of living in peace and relative prosperity, let’s at least honor those who have perished by honoring our Earth. Don’t buy GE foods. Don’t buy Monsanto products. Let’s educate ourselves, instead, about what serves Earth. We are her stewards and I am thankful that many, like the organic farmers, are rising up to take back what is rightfully ours from those who would play God with our environment and our health. We are the seeds of change! If they could speak, I’m sure the doves would agree.

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