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Madge Digest #148 February 2018

Renaee's picture
Submitted by Renaee on Tue, 02/06/2018 - 21:11
  1. A rare opportunity to tell regulators and politicians to protect food and health

  2. Election forum, Adelaide, Monday 12th Feb, will South Australia stay GM-Free?

  3. US doctor says industrial food, especially GM and pesticides, is making kids sick

  4. Slow science: bringing people, planet and ethics together

1) A rare opportunity to tell regulators and politicians to protect food and health.

Politicians and regulators rarely hear from the public but they hear a lot from industry. Please take action and be heard:

  • Support Farmer Protection Legislation in WA which will compensate farmers if they are contaminated by GM crops. Sign here by 16th February.

  • Stop GM golden rice being approved for sale in Australia. Sign here by Monday 19th February. You need to eat 4 kg of rice to get the same amount of vitamin A as in a cooked carrot or handful of parsley. Filipino farmers have contacted Australian regulators, FSANZ, saying they are worried this GM rice will contaminate their crops. This rice has 3 proteins that have never been in food before, they are similar to snake venom and no animal feeding trials have been done.

2) Election forum, Adelaide Monday 12th Feb, will South Australia stay GM-Free?

South Australia goes to the polls in March. Find out the GM-Free policies of Agricultural Minister Leon Bignall (ALP), Nick Xenophon (SA Best), David Ridgeway (Libs) and Mark Parnell (Greens). Monday 12th Feb, Carl Linger Hall, Level 1, The German Club, 223 Flinders Street, Adelaide, SA 5000 7pm start, short talks followed by Q&A. Free event. Book here.

3) US doctor says industrial food especially GM and pesticides, is making kids sick

Dr Michelle Perro has been a doctor for 37 years. The gut problems she is seeing in her patients mirror the effects of GMO food and pesticides in animal studies and give rise to many conditions. “The most common disorders I see are related to gut function, specifically food allergies (along with other allergy-related diseases such as eczema and asthma), gastroesophageal reflux, chronic abdominal pain, constipation, and brain issues such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning challenges, behavioral and mood problems, and sleep disorders. What people don’t often know is that the gut and brain health are inexorably linked. Unhappy gut, unhappy brain.”

Our regulators ignore these studies but Dr Perro realized that changing to an organic diet was the first step to recovery for her patients. The microbiome: the bugs in our gut that are part of our immune system, digest our food, make vitamins and detoxify our bodies; is harmed by industrial, GM food. In Dr Perro’s book, case studies show the complex, chronic illnesses that are harming many children and how they can be treated.

She explains the science, or lack of it, and how having a food focused medicine is not enough. We need an agriculture that grows all food in a healthy way and a society that listens to parents. “Clinicians need to be at the front of this battle alongside the moms, the activists, and the leading edge scientists who are already showing us the way to a healthier future.” MADGE brought Dr Perro to Australia in 2015.

4) Slow science: bringing people, planet and ethics together

We have a right to be included in the conversation about science and also to ask questions such as “Why are you doing this work? What will it be used for?” according to Belgian Philosopher of Science, Isabelle Stengers. Science has been increasingly privatized meaning there is less government funding and an increased push for speed and products brought to market. In contrast, Slow Science has more time to ponder, deliberate, do the peer reviewed science and instead of dominating allows new ideas and fields to develop. It also allows scientists to see the debates around technologies like GM more clearly. “It was as if they had discovered with relief that they didn’t have to choose between facts and values, between their scientific loyalty and (the remains of) their social conscience, because it was the situation itself that required them to identify the relevance of a knowledge and to understand its selective character – what it makes important, what it neglects.”

We could tackle the real problems of hunger, low wages and benefits, that mean that 15% of Australians experience food insecurity.

Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.

Frances Moore Lappé author of Diet for a Small Planet

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