Girl Scouts and Girl Guides take on GMO cookies
by Rady Ananda
Watch out when kids take up a cause; they can have more political pull than 1,000 bleary-eyed cynics.
This time, girls are getting in on opposition to genetically modified foods by demanding their organizations only sell organic – or at the very least, GMO-free – cookies.
In February of this year, Alicia Serratos of Orange County, California started a petition to get Girl Scouts of the USA to sell GMO-free cookies. She’s gathered over 10,000 signatures so far, and wants 100,000. Mostly, she wants GMO-free cookies.
Here’s the darling video she produced when she reached the myriad mark:
Maya Fischer of Victoria, British Columbia, liked what Alicia did and repeated the petition for Girl Guides of Canada. Already she has nearly 30,000 signatures.
“Girl Guides teaches girls about healthy living, respect for the environment & taking action for a better world,” explains the Canadian petition.
In fact, the Girl Guide’s Motto that we both know off by heart is: ‘I promise to do my best, to be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada; I will take action for a better world.’ We are living up to this motto by campaigning for a better world.
Now, we want the Girl Guides of Canada to live up to their own motto by removing GMOs and making cookies safe and environmentally friendly.
Those cookie sales provide a million dollars toward summer camp in Enderby, BC each year (about 100 miles north of the US border), reports the Times Colonist.
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The fundraising cookies use genetically modified corn, canola, soy and sugar beets.
“The idea is just gross,” Maya told TC. “Usually corn doesn’t make pesticides, for instance. Usually a tomato doesn’t cross with a fish. It doesn’t make sense.”
Unlike Girl Scouts USA, Girl Guides of Canada entirely ignores the question of pushing GMOs. But, the Girl Scouts USA website states:
For the time being, we feel confident in the safety of all the ingredients in Girl Scout Cookies, including GMO ingredients.
That may be tragic, but the next statement is outright false, and straight out of the biotech industry’s talking points playbook:
It’s important to note that there is worldwide scientific support that there are no safety concerns with the currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) on the market—the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a way to help feed an ever-increasing world population.
That an organization as influential as the Girl Scouts would be so woefully misinformed (at best) demands response.
In a detailed look at hunger in America, the USDA’s own figures show that since the introduction of GMO crops in 1996, the number and percent of people considered “food insecure” has grown. With nearly 20 years of opportunity, GMO crops have not reduced hunger in America, or anywhere else in the world. In fact, the percentage of hungry has grown.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Shutter, recognizes that ag productivity is not the problem. The world produces enough food. The problem is over a billion of us can’t afford it. This expert calls it a ‘price-crisis, not a food-crisis.’ Food speculation on the commodities market is a major problem, not production, so de Shutter is calling for global regulation on food speculation:
F. William Engdahl is but one of many writers condemning the deregulation of derivatives markets, which create false booms and busts, especially in food commodities. In a detailed discussion of the issue, he summarizes the problem:
The elimination of national grain reserves in the USA and EU and other major OECD industrial countries set the stage for the next step in the process—elimination of agricultural commodity derivatives regulation, allowing unbridled unchecked speculative manipulations.
De Shutter promotes agroecology to meet the world’s food needs. The “green revolution” – a cynical euphemism for millions of monocropped GMO acres with their attendant toxic chemicals – needs to be replaced with agroecology, multiple and varied crops run in sync with nature instead of trying to chemically or genetically dominate nature.
“The world needs a paradigm shift in agricultural development from a ‘green revolution’ to an ‘ecological intensification’ approach,” the UN said in its latest food security report: (Trade and Environment Review 2013) “Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate.”
Beside the access issue, Girl Scouts USA seems completely ignorant of the dozens of studies showing organ damage, fertility problems, small brain and liver development, cancer, shorter lifespan, and spontaneous abortions, all related to GM crops and their attendant toxic chemicals.
Plus, we cannot ignore the environmental impact of dousing our lands with billions of tons of those toxic chemicals every year. GE crops require those chemicals, an unsustainable practice that is sickening all of us, reducing the world’s pollinator populations and destroying our land, water and air.
Here’s a brief sampling of scientific studies revealing the dangers of and problems with GE foods:
- Superweeds: How Biotech Crops Bolster the Pesticide Industry, Food & Water Watch, July 2013 at http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/superweeds/
- GMO Myths and Truths: An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops, Michael Antoniou, Claire Robinson, and John Fagan, June 2012 at http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truths/GMO_Myths_and_Truths_1.3b.pdf
- The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes-A Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs, Vandana Shiva, Navdanya International, 2011 at http://www.navdanya.org/attachments/Latest_Publications1.pdf
- Glyphosate in Air, US Geological Survey, Chang, et al., 2011 at http://foodfreedom.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/chang_2011_glyphosate-in-air.pdf
- Glyphosate in Streams, US Geological Survey, Coupe, et al., 2011 at http://foodfreedom.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/coupe_2011_glyphosate-in-streams.pdf
- Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? Earth Open Source, June 2011 at http://www.scribd.com/doc/57277946/RoundupandBirthDefectsv5
- Herbicide-tolerance and GM crops, Greenpeace, June 2011 at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/agriculture/2011/363 – GlyphoReportDEF-LR.pdf
- Patterns of widespread decline in North American bees, Sydney Cameron, et al., Jan. 2011 at http://www.pnas.org/content/108/2/662
- Biotechnology & Sustainable Development, Pesticide Action Network summary of IAASTD Report on GMOs, Oct. 2010 at http://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/GMOBriefFINAL_2.pdf
- GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? Summary of scientific evidence on genetically modified soy and the herbicide glyphosate, Sept. 2010 at http://www.gmwatch.eu/reports/12479-reports-reports
- Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years, The Organic Center, Nov. 2009 at http://www.organic-center.org/science.pest.php?action=view&report_id=159
- Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops, Union of Concerned Scientists, April 2009 at http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.pdf
In addition to signing both the Canadian and USA petitions, you can send the above list (and supplement it, too!) to the Girl Scouts, and to cookies(@)girlguides(dot)ca.
Meanwhile, other mothers and girls are getting involved, too, by refusing to sell GMO cookies.
GMO Inside offers alternatives:
Until there are non-GMO choices, you can still support the Scouts without contributing to the demand for GMO ingredients:
Order or renew your magazine subscriptions through the Girl Scouts
If you are a Girl Scout or a troop leader concerned about GMOs, you can raise funds in other ways. Some great ideas are provided on the Girls Scout’s own site (and some of them are quite eco-friendly!).
Or, we can just ask the top executives to step down so that more enlightened leaders run these organizations, maybe some folks who get their news outside corporate-run media, or folks who have the barest glimmer of understanding about the failed chemical farming paradigm.
With the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ failing to get renewed, and hedge funds dumping Monsanto stock, some people do understand that a return to sustainable food production is on the horizon. Surely, organizations that teach our girls survivalism, proper nutrition and environmental care can sell healthy cookies that promote all three ideas.
Rady Ananda is the creator of Food Freedom News and COTO Report, Rady Ananda’s work has appeared in several online and print publications, including four books. With a B.S. in Natural Resources from Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture, Rady tweets @geobear7 and @RadysRant.