Shade your eyes, stretch high-up on your tippy-toes, and look west…
A bit farther…past your back yard…
Up and over the Rocky Mountains... Past Las Vegas glimmer… Over to the massive, distant, piece of land geographically sandwiched between the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. That state that fills news headlines with surreal stories of superstars and surfers, hippies and snowboarders, celebrities and computer-geek millionaires. A place where you can swim in the ocean, get lost in the desert, snap pictures of the rich-and-famous, and pick an avocado all in the same day. The massive state that sprouted from Spanish Missions, the Pony Express, and the Gold Rush. A state rich with historical stories of legendary fires and earthquakes, and the destination for thousands fleeing the devastating effects of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.
California’s history is as rich as the soil that grows nearly half of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts consumed in the United States.
In November, California residents will vote on Proposition 37—California Right to Know. They want food produced through genetic engineering (also known as GMOs) to be labeled.
Food choices are deeply personal. Some people make food decisions based upon nutritional information listed on labels. Others focus on food allergy warnings to protect their children. Some even shop by born-on dates. Californians say they have the right to know if their food contains GMO ingredients.
Here is what we know:
- GMO food contains altered genes to make plants more hardy or resistant to pests or pesticides.
- GMOs have not been proven safe.
- The US Food and Drug Administration does not require safety studies for genetically modified food.
- There have been NO long-term studies conducted on the safety of genetically engineered food for humans.
(It’s okay; you can take a moment to read those again.)
While California might be trendy, it’s not quite the trendsetter in this movement, as more than 40 countries already label genetically engineered foods, including the entire European Union and China.
If you had the informed choice to avoid unknown health risks of GMOs would you vote? What will happen in November? How will it turn out? I am closely watching this here-and-now event unfold over there.
However, this means voters have to be informed.
They have to care.
Most importantly, they have to vote.
This is where you and I come in. We too can encourage the results. I promise, you don’t have to be a scientist or politician to do so. You don’t need a soapbox and a bullhorn to share. Just be a curious, caring human being concerned about what you spoon into your mouth and toss into your shopping cart, or what your wee-ones sip and swallow. Between you and me, our six degrees of social-network-separation can have an impact. It may have taken pioneers months on end to go west, but our sentiments can arrive in a cyber-second.
Do you have a sister in Sacramento, Salinas, or San Diego? Do you have an old best friend in Fresno or Frisco? Do you have a high school teacher in Tahoe or Temecula? Tweet them today. Send an email. Message them on Facebook.
“Hey, how’s your summer going? I was just wondering if you’ve heard about Prop 37? I hope this passes. It’s so important! I just read this blog……..”
Chat with them about what they have seen or heard out there in the Golden State. Let them know you, too, are concerned about the Right to Know and what is in OUR food. When November 2nd comes around, they will remember your kindness and real person outreach.
California is not an island. (It might be someday, but currently it’s not.) It is not an “over there” place to visit. What unfolds will NOT stay local to the Golden State. November’s results will ripple out and like winds in golden waves of grain to 49 other states. Proposition 37 paves a pioneer trail for everyone else. Several states are preparing to hitch up their wagons and do the same.
When November’s results ticker across our television screen, we can look at each other, wink, and know that we Non-Californians did what we could. We too care. We too make a difference. We are not 50 separate states; we are one.
Kristi Marsh, former Northern California Girl, is watching this historical event unfold from her residence in Boston, 3,024 miles away from the Pacific Coast. Kristi is the author of Little Changes and the force behind Choosewiser.com.
Do you know which of the foods you have eaten today were genetically modified? If this topic is unfamiliar, you are not alone. Surf on over here:
- Read an excerpt from Little Changes, as Kristi Marsh went from what-the-heck to not-in-my-house. In Waiter, There’s a GMO in My Soup!
- Support and Learn more about CA Right To Know
- Scan this list of consumer, farm, environmental and health advocates (and celebrities) who endorse Prop 37 Right to Know initiate.