Following a conversation we had while driving back from St. Patty’s day lunch with friends, I told Heather that this one was going to make it into my blog as she believes it needs to be explained somewhere where people would understand the difference, so here goes, from a non-scientist type.

GMO vs. GEO (that’s Genetically modified organisms vs. Genetically engineered organisms for those who haven’t been listening to all of the bruhaha) 

A lot of noise is being made about GMO’s in our food supply and sadly, much of it is uninformed, in my opinion, by design.  Nobody is in a big hurry to explain that there his a huge difference between GMO’s and GEO’s.  They just lump them both together, a lot like schizophrenia was in the ’60’s and let people freak out on their own time.  But the truth, as I see it anyway, is that there are worlds of difference between the two.

If you remember studying genetics and, specifically, Mendel and his dratted peas, there are recessive and dominant genes which occur in essentially predictable ratios in any organism.  There are some traits which are pretty much benign, whether they are dominant or recessive, but others are clearly better survivors.  Enter Genetically Modified Organisms.  These lovely little guys are the result of selecting for the stronger characteristics,  helping nature along by carefully breeding the stronger gene holders together to get more, stronger gene holders.  This methodology (and I’m grossly oversimplifying here) can also be used to create new cross breeds of species like, for example, pluots which are a cross between plums and apricots, or tangelos which are oranges crossed with either tangerines or grapefruits.  In these cases, grafting is used to cause the two fruits to cross breed, but the result is similar:  Something with characteristics of both parents, but unique in its own right. 

Either way, the actual chemical makeup of the food isn’t altered.  It’s simply allowed to mutate into something a little different, a little stronger, or maybe tastier.  We see the same thing occurring on our lovely, Southern California hillsides.  The plants and grasses have mutated themselves to our dry climate such that the slightest amount of rain causes the chlorophyll to run amok and make everything green again!  Essentially, if left to their own devices, plants, animals and other organisms will naturally cull their weaker members over time and develop characteristics to allow them to decrease mortality in their chosen environment (man and his propensity for war notwithstanding). 

Now, enter GEO’s and our lovely friends at Monsanto.  Here, the seeds are modified chemically, altering their actual DNA in an unnatural way.  In the long run, this isn’t good for the plant and it’s certainly not good for you and me.  Modified in this fashion makes it difficult for our bodies to recognize the finished product as food.  And if it isn’t recognized as food, our liver sends out a red alert to isolate the invader and usher it straight out the door!  This, of course, causes a number of problems, but at the top of the list are poor absorption of whatever nutrients are actually left in the fruit, vegetable or grain and overtaxing of our poor, confused liver! 

Is it any wonder that people experience so many health issues (and don’t even get me started on antibiotics!) these days?  When our fruits, vegetables and grains are genetically engineered, our chickens, cows and pigs are fed this chemically altered crap, then pumped full of hormones to artificially fatten them up.  Pretty soon, we’d get the same amount of nutrition if we just ingested the chemicals they use to alter the organisms in the first place, and our bodies would be much the worse for it!

The trouble is, the average consumer and voter doesn’t realize that there is this enormous difference between GMO and GEO, and uses the terms interchangeably, ending up fighting to control the naturally occurring one instead of the chemically induced one, and companies like Monsanto are laughing all the way to the bank! 

Sadly, our scientists have all of the information they need to keep us healthy and chemical free, but big money convinces them to make the wrong choice.  Genetic modification, natural selection, and yes, evolution have been around for a very long time and, for the most part, were working quite well.  Granted, it might take longer for something to adapt to drought or a new kind of pest, but in the end, the organism is stronger for the natural evolution, and retains its original chemical composition.  One serious side effect of this genetic engineering is the creation of sterile plants.  These poor guys have been so drastically changed from their original form that they can no longer reproduce!  They have been modified into potential extinction, and if the plants are affected, how long will it be before humans and animals are as well (assuming we aren’t already)? 

I hope we will all get better educated (and I include myself on this) with regard to the true meaning of Genetic Modification and Genetic Engineering, and stop fighting the one which is the healthier choice. 

It was a simply gorgeous day for a drive through the canyons and as I got to be a passenger today, I was able to truly appreciate the beauty of the hillsides around here.  A little rain last week had everything turning a beautiful green and flowers were beginning to bloom as well.  I saw some lovely spots for picnics, assuming they aren’t private property, but definitely awoke my desire to do some hiking and picnicking this Spring and Summer.  I know that I don’t take the time to really appreciate the beautiful area I live in often enough, and I want to change that starting now.

I want to take more hikes in the mountains, more walks on the beach, spend more days in my yard, watching the birds and the squirrels and my outdoor cats playing.   I want to stop and smell the flowers and appreciate this beautiful, rural area I call home.  I want to take drives through the canyons and watch the hillsides change as grass turns green, then brown, wild mustard, lupin and poppies fill the hills with color, and watch the trees shake off their winter nakedness with a riot of greens in every shade imaginable!

Mother Nature outdoes herself out here and we don’t take he time to appreciate it as we rush from one activity or errand to another.    So I am setting the intention to spend more time outdoors from now on, instead of cooped up inside.

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful that I have a mind which thinks, questions, ponders and analyzes until I understand, then questions, ponders and analyzes some more.
2. I am grateful for the beautiful hills and valleys I get to experience every day, if I just open my eyes.
3. I am grateful for days spent with friends, just doing stuff.
4. I am grateful for being able to out dance the 20 year olds!  50’s Rock!
5. I am grateful for weekends, even if they’re never long enough to get everything in, but then, I have something to look forward to for next week.

Love and light. 

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