Occupation can take many forms. It does not necessarily imply a military presence or military domination. For example, in India right now, there is a drive to get genetically modified (GM) mustard sanctioned for commercial cultivation; this would be the first GM food crop to be grown in the country.
Across the globe healthy, sustainable agriculture has been uprooted and transformed to suit the profit margins of these transnational agribusiness concerns. If we continue to hand over the control of society's most important infrastructure -- food and agriculture -- to these wealthy private interests, what might the future look like? We don't need to imagine: We can see the effects right now.
Global corporations are engaged in a long-term attack on India's local cooking oil producers. In just 20 years, they have reduced India from self-sufficiency to importing half its needs. Now attempts to impose genetically modified mustard seed threaten to wipe out a crop at the root of Indian food and farming traditions.
Coming from the GMO biotech industry, the term "sound science" rings extremely hollow. The industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of commercial confidentiality while independent research highlights the dangers of its products.
Organic agriculture could produce enough food on a global per capita basis for the current world population. Instead, what we have organic farming being squeezed out and marginalized as some kind of impractical niche model in favour of an unsustainable, corporate-controlled chemical-intensive model.
Golden Rice is really a Trojan horse; agribusiness corporations are attempting to pave the way for the acceptance of more GM crops and food. Once this is acknowledged, it is apparent why so much money, lobbying and time has been invested in trying to tackle just one aspect of malnutrition with a single GM crop.
Industrial agriculture has made it possible to produce large amounts of food efficiently, but comes with problems, including pollution, reduced biodiversity, pesticide resistance and consequent increased chemical use, destruction of forests and wetlands, and human health issues such as antibiotic resistance.
Over the past few years, the terms 'organic' and 'sustainable' have become buzzwords for health. But these words go beyond a person's health. Supporting local organic food and farming can help revitalize the economy. Community-based agriculture has the potential to create jobs and develop small businesses. Encouraging locals to stay healthy is the side job.
If you've purchased any local Ontario food before, it probably came from this region you've likely never heard of. In fact, it is the number one producer of tomatoes, carrots, seed corn, cucumbers, pumpkins, sugar beets and brussels sprouts in all of Canada. However, none of it is being consumed by its community members.
Attend an all candidate's meeting in your area, and ask what his or her stance is on GMOs. If enough people ask, they'll know that this is important to Canadians, and that their chances of getting elected will depend on where they stand on this issue! Together, we can make GMO labelling an election issue.
We Canadians are writing to you, the Socialists, New European Left, and Greens, because you have the power to stop these dangerous trade deals. With this type of trade agreement, we have a choice: Do we accept rising inequality, unchecked corporate power, and lowered social and environmental standards, allowing the one per cent to become richer at our expense, or do we draw a line in the sand?
Candy can also have a darker side for parents who are trying to keep their kids as healthy as possible, or protect them from allergic reactions by restricting what candy their kids can have. Imagine how the kid feels when they have a food allergy and can't have candy -- seeing other kids reaping the benefits of their trick-or-treating, dumping out their huge bags of candy and sorting through what they got -- it's both sad and frustrating.
In reality, Halloween produces more boos, eeks, screeches and ding dongs than we should tolerate. From the toxic candy, to the phthalate-laced costumes and the insane amount of waste generated, it's challenging to consider it good, clean fun. Thankfully there are a few things we can do to make sure our kids don't hate us, and our neighbours, family and friends don't ridicule us.
It is not too late to exercise your democratic rights and voice your opinions. I may not be old enough to vote in the polls yet, but I am definitely old enough to vote at the cash register. I have also had the honour and privilege to speak with thousands and thousands of people across Canada about GMOs, and it's pretty clear.