I recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan that also included a visit to India. When I’m home in America, I often frequent the local Indian grocery to buy large bags of Indian-grown basmati rice, jars of freshly made ghee, various spices that serve a medicinal role in my diet, and other foods that are a product of India’s natural agricultural practices. During this recent trip, however, I couldn’t help but notice how many packages of cookies, chips, and other processed foods were for sale in any one of the many grocery stores I walked past. India, known for such an ancient and pure history of eating with the help of its medical system of Ayurveda, now consumes kilos upon kilos of foodstuffs produced with genetically modified organisms (GMO). These very same products have made certain companies very rich, and are in part causing the obesity epidemic in America.
India is next on the GMO trail.
In 1961, the United States military began using a substance known as Agent Orange to conduct herbicidal warfare on Vietnam. The purpose of this operation was to defoliate Vietnam’s horticulture as a means of gaining strategic advantage over their enemies and to also force peasants to migrate to cities for a lack of an ability to sustain themselves through local agriculture. Agent Orange not only destroyed Vietnam’s crops, but was cited as being responsible for harming nearly a million people by maiming them, killing them, or causing birth defects. Agent Orange was manufactured by a company named Monsanto.
Today, Monsanto has capitalized on their thorough knowledge of chemical warfare to produce food.
This food is comprised of corn, soy, cotton, vegetables, fruits and other products found throughout America, Europe and now India, Afghanistan and everywhere else.
What most people don’t realize, though, is that this practice is killing us almost as thoroughly as Agent Orange killed the Vietnamese.
The GMO production process includes cloning seeds that do not go through the natural process of regenerating themselves. This requires farmers and people with gardens to buy new seeds every season. Monsanto and similar companies benefit from this model for they have recurring customers every year. On top of this food source being controlled by very few personalities and entities, the modification of the seed’s natural existence wreaks havoc on the ecosystem which in turn leads to famines and other agricultural disasters. In addition, when we consume genetically modified food, our bodies receive far less nutrition. When we eat food with less nutrition, we have to eat far more to get the nutrients the body and mind need to sustain themselves. This increased consumption likewise serves corporate business models and increases corporate profits, but it doesn’t serve us quite as much when we become overweight, require medication, and have to buy more insurance to cover all of our medical bills. When we run out of money, we wind up borrowing more on our credit cards and from our banks — which charge interest. A corporate windfall is our expedited death.
When a company produces GMO crops, they are essentially suggesting that our creator had no idea what it was doing when creating the earth. To say that corn or soy shouldn’t just grow as it does in nature is to say that we need to show a bird how to fly by having it imitate an airplane. Monsanto wants to alter what is already perfect, but instead its employees are undermining the health of their customers, their own families, their friends, and the families of their friends.
When Monsanto lobbied the government to sell them the property rights to seeds, they claimed the patents of such seeds as soy and corn. Since then, the market has become saturated with products derived from these crops. Most people have come to realize that the government and corporations have gone into business together, but they simply blame them for our country’s problems and leave it at that. What most people are reluctant to acknowledge is that they are just as responsible for this epidemic of synthetic agriculture as the corporations and government are. How? By buying the soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, by buying the potato chips filled with partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and by consuming everything that a company like Monsanto is putting out into the marketplace. If there were no longer a demand for these products, then the corporation would cease to exist. India would go back to selling large bags of basmati rice and nothing else. As consumers, we drive supply and demand.
It is therefore our responsibility to shift our attention from those who produce pesticides and herbicides and high fructose corn syrup to ourselves and the actions we take. If we eat naturally, support local farmers, and eat in season we will make a statement with our actions. If we eliminate one meal a day, we would not only do wonders for our health, but at the same time we would drastically reduce the profits of an unethical company and these unnatural practices.
Each one of us is personally responsible for what goes into our body and how we treat the very earth that gives us that food. If we harm Mother Nature, the only food and water she will provide will be comparably poisoned and the GMO trail will only get longer and longer.
And the killing will continue on as well.