When looking around the world today at our global civilization there are many problems that leap to our attention and everyone has a vested interest, one such example is food. Science has been tinkering with nature for the past one-hundred years trying to come up with solutions to help fight famine, and as a result, man made products have created ever more problems. The easiest way in which an individual or individuals can create change is to effect change in their local communities, so others can see an image of what the world could be. In my local area of Peoria County the topic of food is major problem and all of the issues that correspond, like genetically modified organisms (GM), pesticides, herbicides, cost of food, health of people, and the health of our environment. A practical solution to all these enormous problems we face when we walk through a grocery store and around our community can be fixed through the practice of local organic farming and community participation. With the help of volunteers in Peoria County we could begin growing organic produce that will help create, sustain, connect, and educate our community to help the less fortunate and build a healthier, stronger community.
Experts say that nearly sixty to seventy percent of processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients (Biotech). GM foods are created using biotechnology to change their genetic material. A variety of techniques are used to introduce the desired genes or ‘inactivate’ unwanted ones. Techniques include benign bacterial or viral infection (bacterial carriers), gene splicing, gene ‘silencing’, biolistics, calcium phosphate precipitation and electroporation (Biotech). This means scientists are able to put genes from two separate species of plant or animal to create a desired trait that our bodies and earth have never seen. The most common GM foods are corn, soybeans, cotton, and rapeseed oil (Biotech). This means that many foods made in the U.S. containing field corn or high-fructose corn syrup, such as many breakfast cereals, snack foods, and drink products; foods made with soybeans (including some baby foods); and foods made with cottonseed and canola oils could likely have genetically modified ingredients. These ingredients appear frequently in animal feed as well. This is a huge problem because many people don’t know what they are ingesting in their food and since the technology is so new we don’t know the long term effects. However, some effect has begun to show in the allergens people have experienced and research suggests GM foods are linked to cancer (Biotech). Another stunning fact is that the Obama family themselves only eat organic produce, while President Obama has former biotech presidents running the Food and Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture, who regulate what’s allowed for consumption (Wright). Even Monsanto one of the largest manufactures of GM products employees refused to eat GM foods in their cafeteria and yet GM foods aren’t required labeling for public knowledge (Wright). Also, it’s pretty arrogant for humans to think they can redesign three billion years of evolution on science that’s only been used since the 1990’s, as if Mother Nature is the problem.
Another devastating issue with the way our food is being produced is the use of pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides are designed to kill and because their mode of action is not specific to one species, they often kill or harm organisms other than pests, including humans. The World Health Organization estimates that there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,000 deaths, primarily in developing countries (Lah). The application of pesticides is often not very precise, and unintended exposures occur to other organisms in the general area where pesticides are applied. Children, and any young and developing organisms, are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides. Even very...
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