I'm a day late. Yesterday was National Ag Day. Did you know that? I hope you did. Did you do anything to celebrate? Did you hear an ag story? Here's a funny one…Joe spent National Ag day scooping out his manure spreader by hand…not by choice.
We are so glamorous, right?
Anyway, in an interesting twist, yesterday was also Norman Borlaug's 100th birthday. Do you know who that guy is? I didn't until a few weeks ago, sadly (My dad, the former ag teacher is dying inside right now…sorry, Dad.). Well, among other things, he has been called the Father of the Green Revolution, agriculture's greatest spokesperson, and the man who saved a billion lives.
Pretty impressive, huh?
He also won the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Padma Vibhushan, which is India's highest civilian honor.
You know how and why he was so awesome?
Get ready to gasp:
While Cheerios, Whole Foods, and the like are anti-GMO, citing them as frankenfoods or "unnatural," Dr. Borlaug saved people from starvation with his wheat innovations, gave the gift of sight to thousands upon thousands of people with the Golden Rice he helped create, which included Vitamin A, which folks in the Far East were lacking, and thus going blind (you can read here for more of his story)
Sounds like a pretty amazing guy, huh?
I never took an ag class. I never got to know his story, other than what I have read recently, but I did have the pleasure of meeting his granddaughter, Julie Borlaug Larson at the Bayer Ag Issues Forum. She is continuing her grandfather's legacy at The Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M, continuing her grandfather's plight for innovation in agriculture to make the world a better place…
I'm not a fan of blanket statements, but I feel like if you hate GMOs, but you like Norman Borlaug's ideals, you might have first world problems. Only. I guess if you hate blindness caused by the lack of Vitamin A, you may reconsider holding your anti-GMO sign at a protest at a supermarket.
When did GMOs go from being life saving, sight saving, innovative and prize winning to the picked on kid on the playground?
I would have loved to meet Norman Borlaug. Listening to the few excerpts from his speeches and interviews reveals that he was a man who didn't mince words, put up with guff, or, in a word, filter.
Kind of like me.
His granddaughter has a similar personality. She was an entertaining speaker, in that, I believe she was kind of ticked off that she had to continually defend GMOs. Her grandfather saved BILLIONS, granted the gift of sight, and revolutionized the fight on world hunger.
Shouldn't she be able to be proud of that, and not continually defend the cause?
Back to my question, "When did GMOs become picked on?"
When we received the gift of first world problems. My biggest issue today has been having to stir around my laundry on the "touch up cycle" because I was picking up my daughter from her preschool in my car that has a hands-free phone and a DVD player. I worried that our lunch wouldn't be hot enough for Joe who has spent the day prepping his pasture for spring in his comfy tractor.
Not once did I worry about whether I could see the road. Not once did I worry about whether or not I was going to be able to eat. Just whether or not my laundry would be fluffed, the DVD would come on at the "right spot" for my two year old, and whether the pocket sandwiches I made in my nice, convenient oven with all my ingredients from the grocery store, just miles away, would be as delicious as I hoped for, because I was hungry, but not really hungry (it was just lunch time).
Friends, we have to celebrate Norman Borlaug, but not in a party way. Honor him. Research his work. Understand WHY GMOs came into this world as major players and not pesky health compromisers. Please, consider your problems and then google world hunger, blindness, and disease.
You'll feel guilty about your first world problems at first, but will want to help others, and that makes you feel better in the end.
I guarantee it.
GMOs are not all bad. In fact, they aren't bad, and it's not because it helps us in our livelihood. GMOs, at their core, were developed to be LIFE SAVING.