The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Los Angeles Considers Ban on Sale and Cultivation of GE Seeds and Plants
Los Angeles is considering banning the cultivation and sale of genetically engineered (GE) seeds and plants. If it does, this second-largest U.S. city would become the country's largest GE-free zone.
Two Los Angeles city councilmen on Friday introduced a motion that would ban the growth, sale and distribution of GE seeds and plants. The councilmen, Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell, said the measure is meant to protect local gardens and homegrown food from contamination by GE seeds. The motion would not affect the sale of food containing GE ingredients.
"We don't want to consume mystery food," O'Farrell told The Huffington Post. "Since there's currently no requirement, anyone could unwittingly purchase a genetically modified product and not know it. I think that's irresponsible."
GE plants or animals have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. In the U.S., genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are in up to 80 percent of conventionally processed food.
GE seeds are used mostly by large farmers, of which there are none in LA. But Joanne Poyourow, executive director of Environmental Changemakers of LA, said targeting city gardeners is easier than large farmers.
"Right now, it is very challenging to save that diversity in the farmlands, but we think we can provide significant help in saving that diversity by saving seeds within the cities," said Poyourow, who worked on the motion.
Proponents of GMOs—including food, biotech and chemical companies—say there is no research proving that they have less nutritional value than non-modified food. Proponents also say GE allows for insect- and weather-resistant crops that can help meet a rising global food demand.
The LA motion comes weeks before Washington state will vote on ballot Initiative 522, which calls for labeling food products that contain GE ingredients.
Last November, Californians narrowly defeated Proposition 37, which would have made California the first state to require that GE food be labeled. Monsanto, Kraft and Coca-Cola were among companies contributing to what became a $46-million "No on Prop 37" radio and television campaign. Proponents raised $9.2 million. The Grocery Manufacturers Association illegally collected and spent more than $7 million in opposition to Initiative 522, while hiding the identity of its contributors.
The U.S. has no requirement to label GE food. In the last several years, a few U.S. localities, including San Juan County, WA, and Mendocino County, Marin County and Arcata, CA, have banned cultivation of GMOs.
"If we aren’t going to be able to rely on our state or federal leaders to do something about GMOs, we can act locally," O'Farrell said. "This statement goes beyond LA to the big food companies. LA's always been a trendsetter. As we know, so goes the West, so goes the rest of the country."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jeremy Hance
VIETNAM, July 2019 – I'm chasing a ghost, I think not for the first time, as night falls and I gather up my gear in a hotel in a village in southern Vietnam. I pack my camera, a bottle of water, and a poncho; outside the window I can see a light rain.
By George Citroner
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the World Health Organization currently recommend either 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (walking, gardening, doing household chores) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming) every week.
But there's little research looking at the benefits, if any, of exercising less than the 75 minute minimum.
It seems the reality of the climate crisis is too much for the Federal Reserve to ignore anymore.
For 21 years, Doug Distaso served his country in the United States Air Force.
He commanded joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as a primary legislative affairs lead for two U.S. Special Operations Command leaders.
But after an Air Force plane accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain, Distaso was placed on more than a dozen prescription medications by doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.