Two days ago people from all over the world marched in protest against Monsanto. The goal of the march was to protect the world’s food supply and environment as well as bring accountability to companies which exploit food for profit, with particular attention brought to the main offender, Monsanto. Throughout the company’s existence, Monsanto has been a danger to the environment and people in many different ways. People, and in some cases governments, all over the world have united to demand safer food, a healthier future and a thriving environment. They feel those things cannot be attained while food supplies are tightly clenched by Monsanto. With continuing protest and action, Monsanto may be overturned someday, quite possibly in the near future.
Protests have been scheduled in 333 cities on the Occupy Monsanto website, with many more non-listed cities expected to participate. Passionate people everywhere from Seattle, Washington to Cape Town in South Africa joined together with signs and hazmat suits to fight for the world’s food supply.
The main issue consumers have with Monsanto is its dispersal of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops. The giant corporation alters the genetic material of crops through genetic engineering for many reasons, including the attempt to make the crop resistant to environmental attacks from insects. There are also many crops created by Monsanto which are resistant to pesticide use, allowing bug repellent to be used which would not inhibit the crops’ success. The DNA of Monsanto plants is genetically altered, creating plants not found in nature which are crossed with genes from bacteria, plants, animals and in some cases viruses. Monsanto even goes so far as to monitor its creations and hold patents on them, suing neighboring non-GMO crops which show traces of its creations. Often time these crops have been unintentionally exposed to Monsanto’s GMO crops by wind
Many areas around the world have successfully banned genetically modified (GM) crops, overturning Monsanto in the process. The California counties of Marin, Mendocino and Trinity have banned the growth of modified crops and Vermont is the first state to require labeling of GMO foods throughout the entire state. The Vermont legislature, however, had a difficult time making the decision to label due to threats of lawsuits from Monsanto. The states of California and Washington both attempted to require labeling of GMO foods by law but have failed. Many believe it was due to companies like Monsanto pouring money into anti-labeling campaigns.
The fact that one state in the United States has finally passed the initiative to label GMOs is a huge accomplishment. Other states within the U.S. are not attempting to ban GMOs just yet. Transparency is desired so consumers can decide whether or not they want to feed themselves and their families GM foods. While some countries have banned the growth and sale of GMOs altogether–New Zealand and Switzerland–others have successfully banned certain GM foods such as maize.
One of the main fears in the consumption of GM food is the unknown. The effects that modified foods have on humans are yet to be determined, and many people are worried that consumers are being treated as experiments by Monsanto. Many counties, states and countries have either banned GMOs, require labeling of GMOs or are keeping the modified organisms on their radar. Awareness of the possible dangers of GMOs is a huge step in the right direction and the future of the world’s food is slowly falling back into the hands of consumers, which could cause Monsanto and its colleagues to one day be overturned for good.
Opinion by Courtney Heitter