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This week: Bugged by Gardening Column; and “Climate Revival” Festival

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bugged by Gardening Column

I am generally a proponent of multiple perspectives, but the Talk Dirt gardening column in the April 11 issue approaches the complex and devastating issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) with a casualness that is disturbing. I am disturbed as a farmer, a mother, and from an environmental and justice perspective.

The columnist’s claims that “no reputable scientific study has shown any danger in genetically modified organisms in food” are weak, especially when one looks to international scientific studies that are not under the thumb of Monsanto’s extensive control within the U.S. government.

The columnist writes: “a great many of our calories already come from GMO soy and corn,” without indication that he finds this problematic. GMO corn and soy are not things we (or other animals) are designed to eat, but have increased dramatically with the onslaught of processed foods. Avoiding anything that contains non-organic soy or corn (in oils and high fructose corn syrup) is an excellent personal action if you have the choice, but what of the inferior surplus foods containing these products that are widely dispersed to schools, WIC [The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children], and other hunger relief programs?

It is unjust that the health of humanity and ecological systems are unnecessarily and profoundly compromised for corporate profit. It is unjust that GMO mono-cropping displaces peasant farmers throughout the world, and that patented and non-reproducible GMO seeds destroy lineages of heirloom and traditional crops, and often the lives of farmers.

In response to the words in the column about GMOs reducing chemical use, there are a plethora of methods, from hands to animal power to large-scale no-till pioneered by the Rodale Institute and others, that make growing abundant food on a diversity of scales possible without herbicides or GMOs.

There is much we can and must do. Learn from advocacy efforts that focus on GMO labeling and that challenge corporate control of food, such as Food Democracy Now, Family Farm Defenders and many others.

Grow food for yourself and communities from GMO-free seed. Support farmers in our region—and there are many—who respect the sacredness of the land. Insist on the right to healthy, pure, accessible food for all.

 

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“Climate Revival” Festival

“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island,
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.”

Woody Guthrie wrote these lyrics nearly three quarters of a century ago, in 1940. “This Land is Your Land” has become one of America’s favorite folk songs, and for good reason. The song speaks to the glorious vision of a land made for everyone.

Guthrie’s hope for our future is all but lost to everyone, given our headlong rush into climate degradation that threatens the planet we all live on. The negative impact of our national and international addiction to fossil fuels and consumerism is way more than a scientific, economic and political challenge; it is a moral, ethical, and spiritual crisis for anyone who cares about our environment.

Another response to our environmental crisis will come in an ecumenical festival, “Climate Revival,” created to celebrate the earth and embolden the renewal of creation. Climate Revival will take place in Boston on Saturday, April 27th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Clergy from many denominations will gather from all over New England to encourage and inspire people of all faiths to take action on climate change.

I urge anyone who cares about the world we live in, their children, and their grandchildren to make the trip to Boston. Climate Revival will be an historic moment, an opportunity for people of all faiths to come together to demonstrate their commitment to protect God’s creation, Mother Earth. The event is free and open to the public.

Climate Revival will begin on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. in Boston’s historic Old South Church on Boylston Street, very close to the site of the unspeakable assault on innocent civilians that occurred on Patriot’s Day. On this day, however, there will be an opportunity to celebrate the splendor of creation and to mourn its desecration.

An informational fair beginning at 11:30 will feature a round table discussion moderated by Wen Stephenson, journalist, editor and climate activist. Among those participating from afar via recorded video will be Anglican archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu and Bill McKibben, noted activist, author and founder of the grassroots campaign 350.org. Attendees are invited to bring a brown bag lunch to this session.

At 1:15, bagpipers will lead a procession to Trinity Church for a closing worship service to be followed by a Climate Justice rally. Isn’t it time to affirm that “this land was made for you and me?”

For complete details, go to www.macucc.org/climaterevival.

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