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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Why I’m a ‘Yes’ vote on I-522
I don’t believe genetic modification is inherently evil — or good. I can’t tell which scientific claim is right or wrong; we are in a data-war world where advocates cite studies to support their side. I have my biases, of course. I use the precautionary principle for new technologies, which says, “If you aren’t sure it’s going to do harm, wait a while.” That’s common sense.
Here’s why I think Whidbey-ites should vote “Yes” on 522.
My first reason is self-determination. Our farmers should have the right to save seeds and the ability to sell their crops both locally and on the world market. GMO-free gives them their best shot. Local food has trouble competing with industrial food from off island in part because we don’t use GMO seeds that let you safely spray with pesticides or ship perfect but boring tomatoes around the world.
We here depend on one another. We know when the chips are down, we’ll survive because we are a strong community. And we want to have a say over what foods we eat. While Yes on 522 doesn’t free us from near total dependency on industrial food, it does send a message to the dozens of corporations who have poured $7 million into the “No on 522” campaign that we like the freedom to choose.
My second reason is transparency. The European Union, Japan, Australia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Chile and dozens of other countries require GMO labeling. Yes on 522 is simply asking us to join the growing number of countries that require transparency. And more and more countries won’t import our GMO crops.
Finally, let’s get real. Labeling foods that have been genetically altered won’t kill corporate profits. Most people like their brands and will buy them with all sorts of chemicals on the ingredient list. Dire warning labels on cigarettes haven’t kept dedicated smokers from lighting up. The right to choose means we know better what we are getting into. We can choose our risks — and pleasures. Count on Americans to do that calculation. Count on Americans to want informed choice.