Talking Points

Initiative Measure No. 2012-4 concerns the growing of genetically modified organisms in San Juan County. This measure would make it unlawful to propagate, cultivate, raise or grow plants, animals and other organisms which have been genetically modified and provides for penalties and destruction of such organisms.

*This initiative will not affect the products available in the stores. It only bans the raising and propagating of GMOs in the county.
*There is an exemption for scientific research within a confined lab and medical procedures.
*Only people who knowingly and willfully violate this measure will be prosecuted, but all GMOs that are in violation of this measure will be confiscated and destroyed.
*GMOs are created by taking genes from one species and inserting them into the DNA of another. For example there are potatoes with bacteria genes, tomatoes and strawberries with fish genes and even pigs with human genes.
*We now have “plants” that require FDA, USDA, and EPA approval for their production and subsequent use.
*GMOs are banned or their use is severely restricted in most of the rest of the world, including the EU, Australia and Japan.
*This is not another regulatory hurdle to burden farmers in the islands. It is written to protect their rights to grow and maintain pure and natural seed, produce and livestock feed, uncontaminated by a neighbor’s GMO crop. It protects the 99% from the 1%.
* A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment.
*As for environmental impacts, the use of genetic engineering in agriculture will lead to uncontrolled biological pollution, threatening numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction, and the potential contamination of all non-genetically engineered life forms with novel and possibly hazardous genetic material.
*The proponents of GMOs claim that they will increase yields and lower herbicide use. Independent research has proved these claims to be false.
*The use of GMOs in agriculture is a continuation of non- sustainable, chemically dependent and energy intensive farming practices.
*The adoption of GMOs consolidates the control of the food supply as farmers are ever more dependent on the costly inputs of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides and they can no longer legally save seed.
*The adoption of herbicide resistant GMO crops has not only led to an increase in the use of herbicides, but also the use of more toxic herbicides. Dow Chemical is currently requesting an unprecedented USDA approval: a GMO version of corn that is resistant to 2,4-D, a major component of the highly toxic Agent Orange.
*The adoption of GMO crops has not increased yields. A 2002 USDA report states, “GMO crops available for commercial use do not increase the yield potential of a crop. In fact they may even decrease them.”
*There are better solutions. Sustainable, Integrated Pest Management, Organic, and other proven farming practices along with traditional breeding practices based on our evolving understanding of DNA sequencing can meet the challenges of feeding our growing population.
*The issues of hunger and disease are predominately ones of poverty, food distribution and inequality. These are political and social issues. We presently grow enough food to feed the world.
*These are knowledge based solutions as opposed to costly input based ones. These low input solutions and sustainable solutions are already proven and do not rely on patented organisms and allow the control of our food supply to remain with the farmer.
Support of this initiative is important for some of the following reasons:
*We would be showing our commitment to a healthy environment and safe food and in doing so encourage environmentally conscientious people to visit our islands.
* We would be protecting our environment from genetic pollution and the health risks associated with GMOs for ourselves and future generations.
*We would be supporting local farmers as the demand for certified GMO free foods is rising. We would also be creating an opportunity for local farmers to produce certified GMO free seeds. This is a growing concern even within the main stream seed industry as GMO pollution and contamination is spreading.

*For more information I recommend the following sites:
” Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control people.” Henry Kissinger
“We can’t solve the problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein