Environmentally Conscious on Earth Day, and Beyond

Joanne L. Angbazo – Environmental Justice Intern
April 16, 2012

Joanne Angbazo

This year, Earth Day is on April 22, 2012., The Columban Center of Advocacy and Outreach will participate in various activities to show our solidarity and raise awareness for environmental concerns of our earth and increased participation in the preservation of our beautiful planet.

Growing environmental concerns include climate change, production of genetically modified organisms (see below), biofuels, energy technology, land preservation, water, pollution, and much more. The CCAO has been working diligently to address these issues including the denial of the Keystone XL pipeline and the passage of the Water for the World Act.

Education and action are critical to preserving the Earth. We encourage you to find ways to get involved in your local community. For example, take part in Interfaith Earth Week Activities in Washington D.C. from April 21st through the 27th with the Interfaith Moral Action Committee (IMAC; visit:  http://www.interfaithactiononclimatechange.org/earth-week-activities.html).

Genetic Modification

It has been over a year since Congress has acted on legislation regarding genetically modified organisms (GMO’s).  In the House of Representatives the following bills:  The Genetically Modified Food Right to Know Act (H.R.3553), the Genetically Engineered Safety Act (H.R.3554), and the Genetically Engineered Technology Farmer Protection Act (H.R. 3555) were proposed by Representative Dennis Kucinich in 2011 and have only 21 cosponsors between the three of them. They have been referred to the Committee on Agriculture, the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Judiciary, which is where they now rest.

The bills listed above, do not prevent the production and use of harmful genetically modified organisms as would be our ideal legislation, but they do enforce justice in agricultural/commercial practices, which is a step in the right direction. These GMO bills seek to require transparency between producers and consumers by enforcing clear labeling of genetically engineered food and food products (poultry, meats, produce, cosmetics, medicine, clothing, etc.). Also, they require environmentally safe manufacturing practices when producing genetically engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops. Lastly, these bills will provide protection to the welfare of farmers who continue to produce organically.

Genetically modified foods are seldom discussed but every day, we are exposed to and consume these products. Most people are unaware about the sources of the food that they consume every single day. Let’s bring this issue to light and discuss them with our political leaders today.

ACTION ALERT!

First, learn more about genetically modified organisms by reading a publication by the CCAO.  http://columban.org/11499/columban-center-for-advocacy-and-outreach/action-alerts/genetically-modified-organism/

Afterwards, talk to your member of Congress today and ask them to co-sponsor these bills. Learn more here