Kwolz's Adventures in Saving the World

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GM^3

Posted by kevinwolz on May 24, 2010

If your last name starts with M, don’t name your child anything that starts with G: those initials just don’t seem to do much good for this world. My brain sometimes thinks up the oddest things on runs, and this is the latest. As I was looking at all of the garlic mustard (often abbreviated GM in the biz) along the side of the trail, my brain made some really random connections with two other topics of the same initials. Oddly enough, they were all negative things in my mind. *Disclaimer*: My views may not represent your views…so suck it up.

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard is a plant native to Europe and western Asia that was originally brought to the U.S. before the Civil War because it tasted good. Since then, it has invaded most of the U.S and completely taken over many of our woodlands. Evolution has provided this tiny plant with rapid growth and an insane capacity to reproduce. Once the plant invades a woodland, it spreads extremely rapidly and shades out everything in its vicinity. There’s problem number one. If that weren’t enough, GM also secretes an allelopathic chemical that inhibits the growth of surrounding plants, particularly the young trees that are the future of the forest. This double wammy effectively pushes the forest to a GM monoculture and seals the sad fate of what little native habitat we have left in this country. Currently, the best solution is to pull, pull, pull! Find a local restoration group and lend a hand in the spring.

Genetically Modified

It’s in your clothes, it’s in your food, it’s everywhere! GM crops are modified at the genetic level in order to create a certain desired trait in the crop. This desired trait can be anything from a sweeter taste to pesticide resistance. Basically, it’s humans playing the role of evolution. Our infallible hubris thinks that we know how to make everything better. This “We’ll show that Mother Nature who’s boss!” idea pervades the entirety of our current agriculture system, but is particularly obvious in the deployment of GM crops in the last decade or so. We continue to think that we can improve upon nature’s ingenuity…this time, right down to the molecular level. GM seed companies (ahem…Monsanto…) claim that GM crops are essential to feeding and fueling our growing population. I’m sure you’ve heard this argument before, because Monsanto has a lot more money in its PR department than any scientist or farmer does in theirs. But this just isn’t true. Pests are quickly becoming resistant to the GM defenses, and science is beginning to prove that natural, organic farming produces higher, healthier yields than GM crops. Furthermore, people are beginning to realize the amazing control that GM crops are allowing the biotech industry to have on the world. To share just one aspect of this last point, here’s a sample scenario: You’re a simple farmer who farms non-GM crops. You’re next door neighbor is a GM mega-farmer. By the wistful whim of wind, one or two GM seeds happen to float over to your land. By current law, you are now in violation of Monsanto’s patent on the GM crop and required to pay Monsanto any damages they may have incurred by your obviously sinister plot. They sue and you lose everything, but GM lives on.

General Motors

This one’s a bit touchy. Around here, a lot of people lost their jobs when the GM plant in Janesville, WI closed up. It was a hard hit to southern WI. Why did the plant close? Excess SUV inventories! A while back, Americans began to realize (decades after the rest of the world) that their obsession with the big and bad was ugly. Whether it be for environmental or economic reasons, big car sales dropped, American car makers lost a lot of money, and the rest is history. I’m not necessarily trying to attack GM in particular here…it’s more of a philosophical thing…a drastically simplified philosophical thing: GM reminds me of big cars, which reminds me of the American consumerism, which reminds me of every environmental problem at hand, which makes me think of my friends and family. It’s a long stretch, but it’s all connected. Everything’s connected.

Big Cars. Big Mistake. Big Bailout.

I’d love to hear about other things initialed GM, good or bad!

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2 Responses to “GM^3”

  1. grace said

    I ALWAYS ENJOY YOUR BLOG. UNFORTUNATELY I AM ONE OF THOSE POOR SOLE’S THAT HAS A FIRST NAME THAT START’S WITH A G AND A LAST NAME THAT STARTS WITH A M. WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO??

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