Were you fighting for transparency in our food system while fighting off a condescending TV host? Because last week, one badass Canadian teenager showed food-conscious folks everywhere how to win. Explaining to others why we care about the presence of GMOs in our food can be difficult. This hot button issue gets folks riled up, and it can be hard to keep a level head during discussions. Fourteen year old Rachel Parent cogently debated Kevin O’Leary, co-host of the the Lang And O’Leary Exchange “Rachel calmly argues for the basic human right to know what’s in our food, even as the condescending bully…verbally assaults the girl and practically accuses her of murdering children.” Be sure to check out the video for some debating inspiration.
And consider some valuable suggestions for the conversations you have with the Kevin O’Leary’s in your world. If someone scoffs at your concerns about GMOs, point out the specific risks associated with them. In True Activist’s coverage of Rachel’s debate with O’Leary, they list a few that you should bring up:
“Risk #1) Human health side effects. What is the effect of GM crops on humans who eat them? Will they cause organ damage? Infertility? Unforeseen side effects? Wouldn’t it have been wise to answer these questions before rolling out GM crops across the world?
Risk #2) Genetic pollution. Will the artificially engineered genes spread through the crops grown in the wild, altering them in unforeseen ways and possibly creating new genetic vulnerabilities that could lead to sudden crop failures?… (O’Leary could be accused) of “putting the entire human race at risk of starvation” from an unforeseen crop failure caused by GMO pollution.
Risk #3) Ecosystem devastation. How will GMO crops interact with insect pests and pollinators? You can invoke the global collapse of honeybee pollinators and point to GMOs as one of the factors believed to be partially responsible. Will GMOs also alter insects and make them more resistant to natural plant defense mechanisms in non-GMO crops? If so, that could prove devastating to non-agricultural ecosystems such as forests or plains. We’ve already seen how the use of Roundup — the herbicide commonly used on GM crops — has resulted in the rise of “superweed” that require enormous quantities of herbicide chemicals to eradicate. That’s alarming proof that GMOs actually lead to the use of more chemicals, not less.”
Bringing up these risks of GMOs can be very effective when discussing your buying choices, but Rachel’s most persuasive argument was that we all have the right to know what exactly is in our food so we can make our own educated decisions about what we buy and eat.
One point not covered in Rachel’s well-executed defense of her position is that hunger exists in our world in spite of the fact that we’re producing enough food. We just haven’t figured out how to get it to the people who need it. Learn more here.