I don’t like what I hear, but there are many unknowns.
And I guess that’s why I don’t blog about them very often. Just this week, a reader asked me a question that inspired this blog. Much of what I have written below was included in my email response to Jan in Canada.
Why are GMOs not an issue that is front and centre in your work, especially when soy, corn, etc are included in the diet?
Hi Jan. Thanks for your question. After almost 800 blogposts, I have published two blogs on the topic and, as you noticed, have not made it a part of my routine focus? The short answer is that if I try to “focus” on too many topics, then I end up with no “focus” at all.
My feeling is that the GMO issue will someday take care of itself—but only if we start growing much more food for humans than we do for the animals that we eat. We humans must return to the natural diet for our species—whole, plant-based foods.
Currently, 70% of our farming is for feeding animals. When that number shrinks to 20% and the price of fuel goes up, our entire farming landscape will change. There will be more smaller farms and local produce will be in great demand when we can no longer afford the fuel to fly our blueberries in from Chile in the middle of the winter.
My longterm vision is one of denser housing, less shopping centers and fewer sprawling suburbs. As we move to denser housing and employ mass transportation instead of gas-guzzling vehicles, there will be lots of land that can be converted to organic, local farms for human consumption.
As for the unknowns, let’s begin with the fact that almost everyone is unknowingly consuming GMOs today in the United States. Yet, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are easily reversed with a whole foods, plant-based diet—using non-organic groceries from the supermarket.
Sure, I would prefer to buy non-GMO, local, organic food; but if it is not available or not affordable, then I will have to settle for the standard grocery store selections.
More questions. I have a few other questions that I would like to see answered by an impartial panel.
- What are the primary dangers of GMOs in our food?
- Why were GMOs created in the first place?
- Was it just a money-making and market control ploy by the chemical companies like Monsanto or were there problems that were being addressed?
- What are the most critical problems that have been created by GMOs around the world?
- What would happen to the world’s food supply if GMOs were banned worldwide immediately?
Back to my ability to focus. I could be wrong about the GMOs, but I am not wrong about my ability to focus on everything. Quite simply, my focus is on doing all that I can to sound the alarm around the world that we’re “EATING THE WRONG FOOD” and that it’s not only destroying our health—it’s also inflicting so much damage on our ecosystem, that someday Mother Nature will no longer be able to sustain us as a species. Then, after we’re gone, the planet will once again return to the beautiful equilibrium of harmony throughout all of Nature.
As with GMOs, I also don’t focus too often on animal suffering or worry much about the leather furniture in my home. When we stop eating animals, the animal suffering will end—and we’ll no longer be able to afford the leather jackets, shoes and furniture. Today, they’re by-products of the beef industry—so we might as well use them.
But I did order cloth seats in my new Fiat 500 after several decades of driving in leather seats. Here is one of my recent animal rights blogs. Animal rights & veganism. What comes to mind for most folks?
My blog about GMO that I posted in July of 2012. “The World According to Monsanto” (a documentary). I think it’s disgusting as presented (in the 108-minute video) but like I said, there are many questions that I would like to see answered. In the meantime, I will be focusing most of my efforts on a “big picture” plan to get us back on the right track.
The Bottom Line. There is no doubt in my mind that we’re eating the wrong food for our species. Not only is it wrecking our health, bankrupting our budgets, and exhausting many finite natural resources—but it is also incredibly damaging to our ecosystem—the very system that supports life itself. So what can we do?
We must develop a global plan to address all of the above—before it’s too late. In the eight blogs below that were all posted during July (2013), I describe that my thoughts about that plan in detail. In the last one, I feature a well-known individual who could play a critical leadership role in the execution of that plan.
- A. Do you breathe air, drink water and have sex? (7-1-13)
- B. “Air, Water, Sex and FOOD” revisited — Blog # 777 (7-7-13)
- C. Are humans the “infestation” of planet Earth? (7-8-13)
- D. My letter to Chelsea Clinton — appeal for leadership (7-12-13)
- E. Are you ready for a $35 burger? (7-13-13)
- F. “You’re Screwed” or “We’re F – – – – D?” Take your pick. (7-14-13)
- G. The “4Leaf Solution” including my new 4-minute video. (7-15-13)
- H. James Cameron—on “Walking the Walk” for plant-based eating (7-24-13)
Want to help spread the word? Call me at 917-399-9700 if you’d like me to speak at your venue. That’s one thing that you can do to help ensure the longterm sustainability of our species.
Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.
To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now
For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf page or enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.
Got a question? Let me hear from you at email@example.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
SHARE and rate this post below.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation
I think the minimum we should strive for is to have a choice. Mandatory labeling of GMO foods should be the first step. Getting more information out there so that people can make an educated choice is also important, so I agree with all, who said this is not an issue to be swept under the carpet.
For a really good summary of what foods contain GMO’s and what the actual issues are, I just came across this today – http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/08/what-are-gmos-and-why-should-i-care
The author references a series of articles about GMO’s written by Nathanial Johnson for Grist, which are also excellent, if you have the time or inclination. http://grist.org/food/the-genetically-modified-food-debate-where-do-we-begin/.
Sensational side issues always seem to end up clouding the main issue, so more power to Jim for sticking to the main message. One month it’s BPA, the next it’s GMO’s, then it’s cast iron cookware, and people bounce around making changes around the edges, but never really changing the most important thing – the food they’re eating.
I don’t think Barbara H is making a small point. Having seen Earthlings educated me on what Barbara is highlighting regarding the leather industry. I really thank her for that. I too once thought/assumed that leather was a by-product of the beef industry, not that this could make it much less of the horror that too entails.
And I didn’t read carefully enough the lack of strong position on the extreme seriousness of GMO food on so many levels. you have such an influence. Please would you consider this point also?
Many thanks! Gwen D. (thanks for the other comments on the GMO’S)
Please do include ORGANIC. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just adding this word which means less support for destructive pesticides and chemicals of all sorts which to some is considered every bit as harmful to the environment and health as the GMO’d foods. I am of the plant-based diet. and vegan life-style. I have great respect for yours and Collin’s work! Thank you for your huge contribution thru this work you are doing and this opportunity to share my response regarding the importance of organics as very much as possible and I understand yes, it’s not always possible for everyone all the time but we must I think, not put it high up in our message about food in the GMO conversation! sincerely, Gwen Dunlop
I applaud you for your work educating us about whole food diets, but I see the education of the masses on the issues surrounding GMO’s as intregal in bringing about meaningful changes. Sure GMO’s are everywhere and if you consume a typical SAD (Standard American Diet) they are very difficult to avoid. Moving towards a whole foods diet might reduce exposure to GMO’s but it sure doesn’t help someone understand how their health could be continually undermined by the assault of GMO ingredients coming at them. While everyone cannot afford to purchase organic, if we know what ingredients are likely to be genetically altered, we have a starting point in how to proceed. Better yet, I look forward to the day when food manufactures are forced to label their products so that the consumers can decide if they want to continue to be the guinea pigs in the big GMO experiement.
I wish the American culture had the same reverence for quality food as the Italians do. Article from John and Ocean Robbins below.
Italy Prepares to Ban Monsanto’s GM Cor
By Christina Sarich, previously published on Nation of Change
First India gives Monsanto a run for their ill-gotten money by refusing their patent applications, and now Italy, with the help of three Italian ministries, will try to undo Monsanto. A decree has been signed which will ban Monsanto’s MON810 maize, one of the two genetically modified crops currently legally grown in Europe and sold commercially. The decree is not yet binding as it has to be published in the official gazette, but the public stands behind the three Italian ministers who put forth the document with a resounding 80% against GMO and Monsanto, as evidenced in a public survey.
The agricultural ministry rightfully addressed one of many problems with Monsanto’s GMO crops, stating that they have a ‘negative impact on biodiversity.’ The ban was also signed by the health and environment ministries. That makes three. The ministries stated:
“Our agriculture is based on biodiversity, on quality, and those we must continue to aim for, without games that even from an economic point of view would not make us competitive.”
The three ministries have also notified the European Commission and other states in the EU about this important precedent-setting move to oust Monsanto from the world food supply monopoly that the company is currently trying to browbeat the world with. The ministries have also requested a scientific basis for the final decision from the European Food and Safety Authority – Europe’s version of the FDA, the country’s food safety watch dog.
Individual governments in the EU are able to introduce safeguards and recommendations if they feel the food supply is threatened, or there are environmental risks, however, the Commission must verify them and put them into action. Just last year French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayraul announced that the nation would maintain a key ban on the only remaining GMO currently allowed in Europe – the MON810 maize specifically.
“The protection of Italian distinctiveness must be a policy priority since it determines the existence of ‘Made in Italy’, which is our engine, our future, our leverage to return to growth in the food industry,” Coldiretti’s president, Sergio Marini, said in a statement.
Only five members of the European Union grew Monsanto’s MON810 maize last year, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.
love your blogs, however, I was VERY DISAPPOINTED in your response to the question about GMO’s. Someone with your influence I feel should be more involved with this timely issue. Understand the “focus” thing, but good grief, GMO’s are doing major damage, some help here would be appreciated. So please do some research and post some more about the info we all need about GMO’s – its IMPORTANT!!!!!! And are you doing anything about the GMO issue yourself?
>________________________________ > From: “J. Morris Hicks, author” >To: firstname.lastname@example.org >Sent: Friday, August 2, 2013 7:33 AM >Subject: [New post] How worried are you about GMOs? > > > > WordPress.com >J. Morris Hicks posted: “I don’t like what I hear, but there are many unknowns. And I guess that’s why I don’t blog about them very often. Just this week, a reader asked me a question that inspired this blog. Much of what I have written below was included in my email response to” >
Here is a short video and a long article on GMOs.
You’re right, the issue of GMOs is subsumed within the main issue – we’re eating the wrong foods. I just have a small point – leather is not a by-product of the beef industry. It’s an industry unto itself, and often the hide of the animal is worth more than the meat. Here’s the result of just one quick google: http://www.veganmainstream.com/2013/06/19/why-leather-is-not-a-by-product-of-the-meat-industry/
My latest car also has non-leather seats. It was really hard to find a decent car that didn’t have leather seats! The fact that leather is such a cheap commodity now makes me very sad. I look at leather and think of the kind of brutality involved in creating cheap leather. (Have you seen the pictures of the lame, suffering cows in India being marched miles and miles to the slaughter just for their hides?)