LOL’s, OMG’s, and GMO’s: Monsanto and the Next Generation

On May 25th, communities all over the world will be demonstrating against Monsanto -- a multinational bio-tech corporation that is creating genetically modified organisms (GMO's) and has vast lobbying power in the halls of goverment. In San Jose, the march will start at San Jose State.


An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? In a world constantly being overtaken by genetically modified organisms, or GMO’s, perhaps not. One of the newer creations is the “non-browning apples”; apples that don’t brown once sliced open thanks to man-made PPO genes. Of course, the company claims that there is no harm done by eating these future fruits, yet analysts like Bill Freese note that some studies have shown that the altered enzyme plays a role in the plants defense reaction. If the apple tree becomes more susceptible to diseases and invasive insects, it only means more pesticides and chemicals will have to be added later. These modified apples have yet to be approved, but there is a push to get them into markets in the upcoming decade.

A decade? You might be thinking, “Well, that seems like a long time, not really a current issue”. It isn't loudly blasted through the media, so it certainly isn't a HUGE controversy.  With so many food options, people can simply choose what they like. While this may seem like the scenario we live in, it is far from the truth. Monsanto is just one of the companies that has the power to lobby the government into submission, as well as the news, to make everyone passive. While they claim their goals is to improve agriculture and lives throughout the world, their actions say otherwise. Plants sprayed with Roundup, Monsanto's top weed killer, has been linked to causing cancer. Under the “Monsanto Protection Act”, GMO crops can be planted and grown without courts stopping them, even if there is evidence of danger.

The same company that is modifying the world's food created Agent Orange, a chemical used in the Vietnam War that even today leaves defects in newborns. These seem like pretty big deals. But what do the younger generations know about GMO's? I casually asked thirty of my fellow students in high school if they knew who Monsanto was or even if they knew what GMO stands for. Only five could answer correctly. The true power of the media shines out now more than ever, and if a issue isn't openly conversed throughout society, it can go unknown. Certainly adults can try to hold the mantel and win the battle against the intrusive mutations, but can this be won in a week? A year? A decade?

My fellow peers and I are strutting out into the real world at the end of the month as we leave behind high school. Certainly school has pushed our knowledge of math, writing, and American history, but are we prepared to fight for our rights? If no one is aware of Monsanto and the corruption, it can't be solved. Perhaps instead of wasting hours searching cat photos, my generation can look up from the screen and take a glance at the world around them. Pressing a like button isn't going to take down any corporation beasts as they poison the environment. There are so many new ways to spread information if social media sites are used efficiently instead of mindlessly.

(Music by Chris Reed, art by Angela Angel&Robin David)

About Courtney Coffman



Courtney Coffman is an animator and writer with Silicon Valley De-Bug. She will be a college freshman in the Spring of 2013.

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Great article! I'm glad to see people waking up to this subject, but we still have a long way to go. Keep up the good fight.

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