Little drops of water can erode an entire mountain without the mountain ever noticing. Like dripping water, we too have the power to bring large corporations to their knees. We are not as helpless as we think. In fact, businesses thrive because of us. Just as we made them, we can break them.
There are two factors that we deal with on a daily basis. There is a causal relationship between the two. They are our health and wealth (money). From our daily aches and pains and sleepless nights, our health is always top most on our minds. If are not feeling well all aspects of our lives are impacted. It is why TV shows like Dr. Oz is so popular. People want tips and information on how to get on with making their lives healthier and better. The other issue on our mind is our money. We use it every day, whether we actually spend or not, everything has monetary value. Even if we bring our lunch to work, there is a cost attached to that, there is also the cost of actually getting to work in the form a gas bill or a bus/train fare etc. Health and money are deeply intertwined and more often than not we trade one for the other.
Today I want to focus how our profit driven society is having a significant negative impact on our health.
Here is the situation, food is being genetically modified for various reasons, the two main ones are for crop protection and to allow for greater durability of the product itself. For these reasons genetically modified organism (GMO) products are cost effective. This means that the producers can offer them to the market at a lower price. As prices fall, demand for these products increases. When demand increases these companies make a bucket full of cash. This makes them produce more, sell more and make more money. Consumers benefit from spending less and getting more. Everybody seems to be better off, so it seems. Things get a little murky when we find that there is a strong a correlation between the use of GMO and disease rates especially in the US.
So let’s look at the facts. GMO was first introduced in 1990. The top five GMO producers are the United States (US), Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India. Note that the US is the supreme leader when it comes to GMO producers.
Interestingly, the US and Canada are the only two countries that do not require the labelling of GMO products. So consumers in these countries don’t have all the information to make an informed buying decision.
In addition to being the largest GMO producer in the world, the US also has the highest rate of obesity in the world. As well as, researchers have also found a positive correlation between GMO and the rate of thyroid cancer in the US. In other words, since the introduction of GMO products, the incidence of thyroid cancer has dramatically increased. Coincidence? I think not.
Here is the kicker, however. The US also has a higher level of income inequality when compared to other developed countries. If the majority of your population falls in the lower income bracket and GMO foods are less expensive, then it stands to reason that those who are struggling to work and raise a family will consume these products because they cost less. The middle and upper class have the means to be able to make changes because they can afford to. However the impact of this group is not enough to effect real change because the masses are still supporting these companies.
The formula for change is simple, but not easy. We simply have to stop buying GMO products. Companies will respond faster to lagging demand than they will to lobbying and appealing to their humanity. You literally have to hit them when it hurts the most and that is their bottom line. Businesses will quickly innovate and change when their profits are at stake. Otherwise, the status quo will be maintained.
We literally have to put our money where our mouth is and speak to them in language they can understand- profits. Just as slavery didn’t end for humanitarian reasons; it ended because it became uneconomic and unprofitable. So too, we will not see a change in the type of products being sold if they don’t become unprofitable. We as consumers have the power to do dictate what is to be produced and consumed. If we continue to purchase these products we are adding to the bottom line and so there is no incentive for the company to change its ways. It’s basic economics, if there is no demand the company will have to change to meet the market conditions or go out of business.
You may have realized by now that spending and your health are all connected and it will require conscious effort to change established patterns of behaviour. Even though we know that something is not good for us and we see that is causing us harm we sometimes continue along the same path. In a lot of cases we have been brandwashed into consumption. We have become addicted to the chemicals in these products and on our bodies demand them. It has created a viscous cycle that can only be broken if we are willing to make a conscious effort to change. Your life is not compartmentalized. Money affects every facet of your existence. Money is the reason why the GMO was implemented, it is the reason why it sells (cheaper and lasts longer) and it is money that will be the reason why GMOs are removed from our food. Recognized this and then where ever you can take action to change.
It is hard to lecture to families who simply can’t afford to buy organic and continue to spend on those products that do more harm than good. We have to recognise, however, it might be costing you more in both terms of your health and finances. It is expensive to be sick! It is not a matter of maybe we can do it. We HAVE to do this for our own sake. Here are some ideas of how we can start on our journey to topple the giants.
- STOP buying those things you can live without. Start with the most processed items in your budget/diet and get rid of it. Keep doing this, one at a time, until you have eliminated all GMO and processed food.
- Buy local, support local growers who do not use GMO grains.
- Start your garden in the yard, in a box or on the roof. Get creative, you can find amazing resources online. Check out Gardening Without a Garden at: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/gardening-without-a-garden-10-ideas-for-your-patio-or-balcony-renters-solutions-167221
The power of intention is powerful, if you keep making conscious choices and keep heading in the right direction you will eventually pick up momentum. If each of us commits to this action we will effect change. It may not be tomorrow, but change will occur. As I said before the process is simple, but it is not necessarily easy. It will take patience and discipline, but the reward would be a positive change to both your health and wealth.
What are you giving up today to have a better tomorrow?