At just 12 years old she completed a school project on GMOs that launched this young woman on a journey to educate the world about our right to know what is in our food, and the impact of GMOs on our planet, our health, our ecosystems and our future. She won an award for this speech and since then has many applaudable achievements including:
- Gave a Ted Talk on GMOs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4sMMWJYUOs
- Is published in the book Global Chorus - 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet http://globalchorus.ca
- Founded Kids Right to Know - A non-profit organization seeking to educate youth about important health and environmental concerns, with a focus on genetically modified food and the need for proper testing and labeling. http://www.kidsrighttoknow.com
- Requested and carried out a meeting with Canada's Health Minister, Rona Ambrose, to discuss the importance of introducing GMO food labeling requirements for food manufacturers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPXHNYc_ya0
- Challenged and won a debate with well known opinionated and strong willed tv host, Kevin O'Leary, on GMOs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX_-Zoom9Uc
Rachel's accomplishments are so much more numerous than this. If this is what she has accomplished by the age of 15, I can not wait to see what she is able to accomplish in the years to come. This girl is going places!
So now lets talk a little about GMOs. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Doesn't sound scary, right? Keep reading and see if you feel the same way. Genetically modifying food is the process by which scientists alter the genes of plants or animals with the DNA from different species of living organisms, bacteria, or viruses. Still sound normal, or safe? Keep reading.
GMOs were introduced to increase crop yields, by creating plants that were more pesticide and herbicide resistant. Yeah!? No, not really so great. Here's some more scary info I got from David Suzuki's site (www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/food/understandin-gmo/) that helped me form this decision: apparently, the companies that develop and patent GMO seeds are the same companies that develop and patent the pesticides and herbicides these seeds have been modified to be more resistant to (i.e. Monsanto is the seed company and is also the parent company of the pesticide company Roundup). So, the seeds are modified to withstand increased levels chemical application on the crops.
In my opinion, you can wash your vegetables all you want, but you will never be able wash off all the chemicals that have been applied to them. You see, the skin of our fruits and vegetables are much like our skin. They are permeable and therefore absorb what is applied to it. Not only that, the roots of the plant absorb the chemicals from the soil that they grow in. Think about how a white carnation placed in coloured water absorbs the colour from the water right to the tips of the petals. Our fruits and vegetables are no different - they absorb what is in the ground they are planted in.
So are there risks to GMOs? Are they safe? Many groups and people feel that they are not. This is not surprising to me. According to Mercola.com, GM foods have been found to result in tumors, organ failure, gastric lesions, liver damage, kidney damage, allergic reactions, and more. Some of the other negatives of GMOs that I located in my research are:
- GMO foods hold less nutritional value
- the pesticides being used in mass amounts on these crops don't readily break down and therefore pollute our earth and water sources.
- as weeds and pests are becoming resistant to pesticide use, more and stronger pesticides are being applied to counter this
- the built in pesticides in GMO seed crops have been linked by some researchers to the the dying off of several insects including monarch butterflies and honey bees, which are important for the pollination of many plants and crops and therefore invaluable in the production of our food
So how do we know if the foods we're consuming are genetically modified? Well, currently food manufacturers are not required to label foods that they produce that are genetically modified. This is why Rachel Parent founded her Non- Profit, Kids Right To Know. Rachel and her organization believe that "we all have a "Right to Know" what is in our food, regardless of age..." . I would love to share more info with you on the dangers/concerns around GMOs and the importance of the introduction of labeling laws, but I am far from an expert in this arena so I'll leave that to Rachel Parent. She does a much better job of imparting this knowledge.
Please take a few minutes to watch one of her very informative and eye opening videos and visit her Non-Profit's website at www.kidsrighttoknow.com...and remember that this very intelligent young woman is only 15. Let's help her change the world we live in. Let's show her our support by Liking the Kids Right to Know Facebook page, or even helping her deliver the message of concern to more people by making a donation to help her with her with the related expenses to do this.
Want to learn more? Rachel's website has several links that can help with that: http://www.kidsrighttoknow.com/education/.