If you’re reading this, you probably have a pair of sunglasses. Maybe several. Let’s think about what sunglasses are for. Because the other day, when I couldn’t find one of my 7 pairs and it was an extra sunny day and I was annoyed because I couldn’t find at least one silly pair, I got thinking about what sunglasses are actually for.
Sunglasses are an item that you wear on your face that covers your eyes so as to shield them from the sun but not prevent you from seeing and going about your day. They shade your eyes so you don’t have to squint or put your hand horizontally to your forehead like a haphazard salute in order to see what’s going on around you while you’re outside or in otherwise really bright light.
Now, imagine explaining sunglasses to someone who lives in a third world country. Someone who likely doesn’t have shoes or a change of clothes or running water in their home or even a home. What do you think they’d say? How do you think they might react upon hearing that I was so annoyed because, Heaven forbid, I might have to go outside without my sunglasses on?
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Tomorrow is May 23rd, the day planned for the March Against Monsanto. It’s also the day planned for the March Against Myths About Modification. I’m not going to go into too much detail about these events and their goals because, to be perfectly frank, it’s exhausting. I’ve been reading article after article and comment after comment in preparation for writing today’s post and at this point, I don’t want to talk about whether one march is right or wrong or whatever. I just can’t go there.
But when I started going through some of these articles and the arguments for and against GMOs and thinking about sunglasses, I kind of started to feel pretty silly. And soon afterwards, pretty guilty. Because guess what?
We are damn lucky to even have the opportunity to debate these kinds of things.
How selfish are we, the first-world society, to be making these hugely impactful decisions that not only affect our (gloriously abundant) food supply but also the (pathetically small) food supply of those living in third world countries? Isn’t it our responsibility as a rich country/rich countries to try and end things like poverty and world hunger, and make decisions with those goals in mind?
Our GMO debate is not helping other, less fortunate nations. By debating the effects of GMOs and whether things like non-browning apples are good or bad, we are hindering the ability of third world countries to feed their own people. For years, there has been science, fact-based material that indicates GMO foods are safe for us to eat, and yet here we are, still beating that dead horse that says they’re not.
Why? I honestly am not sure. If you’ve following my blog for any length of time, you know that I am all about educating the consumer and advocating that people ask questions about where their food comes from, what’s in it, etc. It is okay to ask questions about GMOs. But asking the same questions over and over – are they safe? Are they? ARE THEY???? – defeats the purpose and wastes time. Precious time.
Time that could have been spent doing things like bringing rice that has been engineered to produce and accumulate provitamin A to fight (and very likely solve) vitamin A deficiencies in third world children, something that causes blindness and, within the year of going blind, death.
But because of the great GMO debate, these things aren’t happening. Instead, children are dying.
Now, I get that this is going to happen. Death is a part of life, as is natural selection. But as I read through these articles and comments, and as I think about the marches happening tomorrow, I can’t help but think about the people who don’t have the opportunity to argue over new technologies and whether they’re helpful or not. Especially when there’s the science to back up the claims that say they are.
Maybe give that a thought the next time you grab your sunglasses.