Here is the lecture that I gave on July 25th at Sustainable Spirit's Day out of Time event. It was such a success, so I thought it would be good to get this up & out there for more to learn from it. A little background: I have a BSc. in Agricultural Biotechnology from the University of Lethbridge and know the dangers of GMO's intimately (when you clone DNA and randomly shoot it into various living things, you can just feel there's something not so "secure" about it!) I have been a vegetarian since the age of 16 and a vegan for just under 1 year, I try to eat raw as much as I can and I eat 100% organic foods or as best as I can (sometimes buying local offsets buying organic from Costa Rica). If you have any comments or questions, please post below!
Here's to Health and Happiness!
Our food, our water and our health are basic rights as living beings that should never be placed in the hands of corporations or structures more focused on bottom lines than for the greatest good of all. This is the role of WE the people. But unfortunately it has already happened. And now we have to fight to get back what is rightfully ours.
So what do we want?
We want clean, unpolluted water for all living things.
We want food that is created without destroying the soil, the air, the forests and the ground water.
We want food that avoids murder and suffering of animals.
We want to be strong and healthy and not afraid of illness.
We want cancer rates and other disease rates to be as low as they were merely a century ago.
We want a say in what is happening to our planet.
So even though, as most will agree, this is what the majority of the population wishes for, the hands of the few are taking away from the mouths of the many.
The only way to turn this trend around is to educate, to share this information with others, to speak up when you see something being done that you KNOW is wrong. We are ALL responsible for positive action.
Action that we can do NOW is very, very simple. It involves where you shop, what you buy, and what you say to others. If you become the change you wish to see in the world, then YOU lead by example. This is the strongest form of activism in the world, in my humble opinion.
So let’s talk about genetically modified foods and why we need to fight against their continual creation and propagation.
Certainly there are many concerns about health and wellness for ourselves and the planet when it comes to GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). It is well documented that GM foods tend to have less nutrients and more chemical toxins and residues. Many are aware that mono-culture is not sustainable. (And I will touch on this more when we talk about organic food.) GM crops, by their very nature, must be farmed alone. The chemicals that are sprayed onto the food kill almost everything around it except the crop that is designed to fight those same chemicals. If that’s not the case, the crops themselves are designed to ooze the toxins that will kill the specific pest. There are reports of GM seed finding their way into nature, and onto other farmer’s fields.
As far as nature is concerned: these strong seed are able to return to the wild (i.e. become feral) and out-compete in the tough world of nature against their natural wild cousins. As for the farmers: In the latest case of Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser, the giant chemical corporation Monsanto, now in charge of large portions of our food seed, found their Round Up Ready Canola growing in his field, sued him, and won the case, and now a small time farmer has to pay a multi-billion dollar corporation over 100,000 dollars in “damages”. This is merely one case of many.
These things I’ve mentioned are quite hairy and corrupt; they send a chill up my spine. Unfortunately what I have mentioned merely skims the surface. Deeper dangers surround the issue of seed ownership, patenting and controlling life forms, including animal life, and ultimately giving up our basic right to eat pure and nutrient rich foods to greedy, psychotic corporations.
On the side of the good guys, we do have organic food. So maybe right now you are asking. How can we stop this? How can I, one person do anything to change things for the better?
Now “organic” may sound fancy or new, but really this is just the way we’ve been creating food since humans began to settle: respecting nature, using the knowledge of earth cycles, almanacs and the basic understanding of the importance of diversity to agriculture, are involved in the organic way. These ways have tremendous positive action by supporting practices that are not destroying our planet for a mere concept: money.
I want to touch on the true cost of organics for one moment. The next time you look at the cost of organic food and the thought jumps into your mind “It’s too expensive” remind yourself of what I am about to tell you. Let’s talk about the “hidden costs”. Firstly, the cost we pay from our tax dollars to sustain farmers who are struggling to make a living, must be included. How about shipping costs? Those oranges from
Now what about the cost of life? I want to touch on the larger human relationship with animals. We are the guardians of this planet and in order to be sustainable with so many billions of people on the earth, we need to maximize our land usage and minimize our pollution problems. In order to do this, we must grant animals their right to life and end the mass production of 650 million food animals per year. We must end the barbaric practices of the fur industry and prevent the suffering and torture of animals: as of right now there are millions of animals suffering at the hand of humans (for an eye opening video take a look at The Witness. Ask me later for more details http://www.tribeofheart.org). Using animals for food and for any products for human comfort or need is unnecessary and completely non-sustainable. Factory farming, for one, is truly a horrendous, appalling and malicious practice. We need to stop supporting this system completely. For an eye-opening film on factory farming, we have for sale the video “Peaceable Kingdom”, I do recommend. Living a vegan lifestyle may seem hard to do from certain perspectives, but once the information is learned and put into practice, it’s as easy as breathing. Vegans prefer a non-violent lifestyle by freeing themselves of all animal products including dairy, eggs, gelatin, white sugar (it’s not good for you but also it’s filtered through animal bone). If you must ingest animal in any capacity, at least find out where it’s coming from and buy only from local, sustainable, organic farms that support free-range, “humanely” killed meat. It is important to connect with our food, have respect for it and know where it can from and how it was made. But that which is truly better for all involved is to avoid eating animal completely. For more information about veganism and healthy food choices, visit the Sustainable Spirit table, pick up some pamphlets and talk to us if you have more questions. If you are willing and want to change: once you have begun the motions, there’s nothing simpler. Once the purpose is identified, change follows suit.
Now since I mentioned health let us talk a little bit about whole foods, or raw foods, also called natural hygiene. The raw food movement is gaining huge momentum. People now want lasting solutions. We are tired of the money making, disease enduring, drug-pushing medical system, overrun by pharmaceutical corporations, again with no goal other than to grow and to grow and to grow while making as much money as possible at any expense.
Most of us sitting in this room right now have liver damage, have digestive problems, have cancer, we may or may not know it yet, but the good news is there is so much we CAN do about it. The big key here is ultimately, prevention. Our bodies are choc full of multitudes of foreign chemicals: we need to detoxify the body and give it time to heal. We need to try fasting once in a while and give our ever working digestive systems a rest. We need to eat foods in their natural form, uncooked and whole. This not only reduces packaging, reduces energy use, reduces the need for pots and pans and therefore washing dishes, erases the need for a carcinogenic microwave (which I won’t get into today), but also increases the amount of vitamins, minerals and amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that our bodies need to not merely survive, but to thrive! When we cook food, the heat destroys the enzymes needed for our bodies to properly digest said food. Therefore our own bodies must create the required enzymes. We need to understand cravings for things like sugar and caffeine and even meat. These are cycles that can be stopped. Whole food eating is the best way I know of to do this. A raw food diet has been successfully used to heal the body from diseases like cancer and arthritis. Ideally the person eating a 100% raw food diet should be living as we were meant to live, in a tropical paradise. However, in the north, eating all uncooked foods might not be as reasonable. The point here I am trying to make is that the more whole, uncooked, untampered foods we eat, the healthier we will be. And not merely healthy, but thriving and what I have noticed in myself and heard from many others, is that people who adopt this type of diet find their moods become more even, it is easier to deal with problems and tough situations, people find themselves naturally becoming more spiritual and questioning their behaviour and thought patterns. It is the ultimate diet for the awakening spirit. And it makes sense. When we eat foods that have absorbed sunlight, especially foods like grasses and algae, we too become light beings.
So I hope that my talk has inspired you to learn more about the options you have available to help us make this planet a beautiful, fair and sustainable world for more than 7 Generations to come.
Be educated, be free.