The Journal's coverage of the proposed ban of GMOs in Humboldt (Oct. 2) missed a big beat when the science quoted represented only the pro-GMO side. Then it was headlined "Fear vs Hope," promoting the idea that it's fear driving the anti-GMO movement. More accurately the headline would be "Big Huge Giant Money vs. The Rest of Us."
As quoted, HSU's Wilson relied on outdated GMO propaganda. At one time, the agrichemical industry crowed about herbicide reduction with widespread adoption of GMO crops. That's no longer the case.
Across the nation's corn and soybean acreage where "Roundup Ready" crops dominate, super weeds with developed resistance to Roundup currently overwhelm pest control, jam machinery and ruin crops, forcing farmers to use highly toxic herbicides.
And it's not just weeds. Rootworms evolved to overcome GMO corn engineered to contain a rootworm insecticide. Farmers now must follow EPA orders to sacrifice acreage to "trap crops" — although most don't due to financial considerations, leading to booming rootworm populations scientists fear threaten corn's viability as a major crop.
That same pesticide has been found circulating in the blood of pregnant women and their fetuses. Monarch butterfly populations are plummeting due to the poison in corn pollen.
Like super weeds, GMO-caused pesticide resistance in bugs cannot be overcome by integrated pest management and crop rotation, as Van Eenennaam — the other scientist quoted by the Journal — breezily suggests. She wants farmers to talk with neighbors to avoid GMO pollination of non-GMO crops. Imagine how well that approach works.
Many farmers want to jump off the GMO treadmill but find it impossible largely due to lack of non-GMO seed for large-scale production. For now they must grow GMOs using highly toxic pesticides and risking the future of their crop, or face bankruptcy. Essentially, it's gambling with our food future.
Patty Clary, Eureka
Your Oct. 2 article, "Fear vs. Hope," is misleading and sensationalist. For example, it states "Backers [of Measure P] fear that GMO's can contaminate non-GMO crops..." Wrong. Backers of Measure P know that contamination of non-GMO crops is a reality. Locally, we can prevent and minimize that reality by voting yes on Measure P.
According to the Inter Press News Agency on March 3, "a third of U.S. organic farmers have experienced problems in their fields due to the nearby use of genetically modified crops, and over half of those growers had had loads of grain rejected because of unwitting GMO contamination." In January of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Monsanto's ability to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with Monsanto GM seed.
Measure P is a necessary measure to address the potential and already realized harm that genetically engineered crops cause to farmers, consumers, and communities.
Beverly Filip, Eureka
For too long we in Humboldt County have largely depended on the timber industry to be the main engine of our economy. As a consequence of this, we live in an area of high unemployment with a weak and unstable economy. A yes vote on Measure P will insure that organic farmers and others are able to exploit a unique economic niche and diversify our local economy. We as a community must support further development and protection of organic products. By passing this measure we will have yet another economic engine to depend on.
We have to protect organic farmers from GMO products that will be carried by winds and animals to their land. Even if there is no contamination large agricultural businesses like Monsanto can sue if a GMO takes root and grows. All well-informed and rational voters are aware that large ag businesses have the financial means and the lawyers to do this. As Americans we value the free market and competition principles of our economy. Measure P will level the playing field. Often there is talk about supporting small businesses. This measure does that. If you value having a free market and giving small farmers what they need to remain competitive, you must go out and vote yes on Measure P.
Your voting yes on this measure is a way to support greater economic stability for the community you live in. I for one love living here and I am voting yes because I take pride in this community and want to insure a bright future for Humboldt County. Let's all vote yes on Measure P and show our support for the growth and protection of organic farming as another source of economic prosperity.
Todd Heiler, Ferndale
I am a small farmer dedicated to saving our open-pollinated (non-GMO) seed heritage here since 1991, and feeding 50 to 100 families via direct marketing practically year round. I was heartened by all the letters in support of Measure P to the Journal last week.
Contamination of crops and seeds, expensive testing, and related patent infringement lawsuits, environmental/ health consequences, biotech industry influence upon elections, government agencies and academia, and poor media coverage (of all the above) are a big concern for small farmers and food-related businesses.
Measure P is an opportunity for Humboldt County and our whole region to grow our local economies, to provide affordable high quality nutrition for our children, elders and the needy, increase our local food security and employment, and forge a solution to the impending climate crisis, which is largely driven by industrial agriculture.
We've had three exceptional speakers on these issues and their presentations have been aired on Access Humboldt TV and the Internet for all to see. There is a small group of ideologues trying to stir up reactionary sentiments about Measure P, but they failed to address any of the significant facts presented by Ray Seidler, Michael Hansen, Ignacio Chapela or to engage in open debate.
Farmers are understandably reluctant to speak publicly about GMOs: It's like having to explain a black eye. Our once noble profession has been dumbed down to an all-time low by this disruptive, devious technology which is steadily invading and polluting our crops, livestock, food and natural environment. For generations farmers have been subjected to a relentless cost-price squeeze due to relentless speculation, futures trading and dysfunctional government regulation.
Measure P is our best chance for sustainability for present and future generations here on the North Coast of California. Let's get this done and get back to making life work!
George H Stevens, Willow Creek
All you need to know about additional horrors of any GMO plant/seed fully explained by one of the few scientists I believe when it comes to such discussions.
View how GMO is a multi-pronged killer throughout the eco system. Just go to YouTube, type in "Bill Nye + GMO's."
Watch, then pass the link along.
Vote YES on P.
Please don't let big money and ignorant lies (redundant?) from evil, greedy (yes, they are) corporations fool you as has happened in recent elections.
Think people, think.
Talk to any farmer on his/her land or at your local farmers markets.
Gura Lashlee, McKinleyville
The most compelling argument I saw against GMOs in "Fear vs. Hope" was "God don't make 'em and it's not natural and normal." True, and there are actually some reasons beyond philosophical sentiment worth mentioning in an intelligent debate. The GMO industry, like the oil, drug, and war industries, is regulated by itself. Agency heads are hand-picked by industry leaders. There's no incentive for caution. Silage corn ("star link") has entered into the human food supply, causing severe allergic reactions and product recalls. We already know that genetic drift can cause this kind of problem to steadily increase in scope while wiping out native varieties. Once a GMO is out in the world, you can't reliably remove it. You don't have to be anti-intellectual to distrust GMOs.
Geoffrey Robinson, Blue Lake