During our formative years we hopefully learned the art of time management. Children are naturally prone to distraction, and our tech savvy world is full of ready time killers. Learning to to stay focussed on what is important can be difficult.
When reading the headlines in the local paper, it’s obvious that some of the adults in the world have not yet learned this lesson and are modeling poor behavior for the next generation. This past year there have been numerous front page stories about activists fighting to ban genetically modified crops in our community, a scenario that played out in papers across the country. It would make one think that there is some great threat in the U.S. worthy of a day long march. But genetic modification? THIS is what they choose to march about?
We live in the USA – a country with more than enough food to feed its citizens. We have one of the safest food supplies on the planet thanks to the EPA, FDA, and USDA. If we land on hard times, we have only to ask for help from community organizations and government programs. There is no fear of our children dying of starvation. Yet, we have groups of people marching about food, as though we don’t have a Starbucks and a thriving restaurant on every corner. I’m embarrassed to think how this looks to countries like Zimbabwe and Cameroon that have REAL food problems due to flood and drought. Citizens of the U.S. sip lattes and spread false food fear about genetically modified crops to the hipster in the next chair while some in Africa have nothing at all on their table. Activists bemoan the use of heavily regulated and tested crop protection products in a country that is assured that 99.77% of our food has pesticide residues well below the already stringent tolerances set out by the EPA. How did we get to this place where people are marching against a safe and plentiful food supply? A place where activists are shaking their fists at genetically modified windmills?
Is it possible that we are in this situation because agriculture companies have been spending the last 15-20 years focusing on real world problems? Is it possible that a company like Monsanto has ignored activists for so long because they have better things to do, like work on a plan to empower people in hungry countries to grow their own food and not rely on imports from other nations?
Substance abusers often harm or kill themselves, but more importantly, there are often children involved in the lives of these abusers. Children with parents in this category are more likely to have trouble in school, face sexual abuse, and have emotional scars that will remain with them the rest of their lives.
The high school graduation rate in our nation’s capitol stands at 59%. Experts estimate that nearly 40 percent of U.S. 4th graders do not achieve basic levels of reading proficiency. 32 Million American adults can’t read – that’s 14% of the population.
5 Million people in the world die every year from smoking. According to the CDC that number will reach 8 Million by 2030. By the way, zero people die each year from genetically modified foods. ZERO.
The number of children abused in this country alone approaches 1 million each year. In 2012, 1,640 children died due to abuse and neglect. How many children died from eating genetically modified foods? Zero.
Is there anything more horrendous than turning another human into a slave? Sex and labor trafficking are a 32 Billion dollar a year industry involving 29 Million slaves, half of which are minors. The average age children are taken: 12 years old. 18 states still do not have good laws against trafficking, meaning pimps end up walking away with a slap on the wrist. The average life expectancy for a victim of trafficking is 7 year.
We each have limited time on planet earth. Perhaps 60-70 years to influence the kind of world we leave for our children. How will you spend your time? Tilting at genetically modified windmills, or fighting the battles that may positively impact the lives of others?