What happened to the GMO-Free Zone?
Not everything we do comes out successful. Sometimes we have some rather spectacular failures. Hopefully, we learn from them, we dust ourselves off, and we continue on.
When you’re fighting GMOs, you know that at some point you’ll encounter opposition. It’s inevitable. And for us, the day the Big Guys exercised their significant muscle was December 8, 2014. It felt like running at 60 m.p.h. into a brick wall.
Up until that point, our initiative to make L.A. a GMO-Free Zone had pretty much flown through all the channels of government. Sure, it was hard work, but it was highly successful work.
We had TONS of local people on our side: over 5,000 signatures from the general public, 5 endorsements from Neighborhood Councils, and over 100 endorsement letters on file — from a very diverse set of organizations including small business, urban agriculture, seed companies, Latino organizations, environmental organizations, and faith communities. Our mixed coalition included GMO-labeling activists, ECM people, Seed Library of Los Angeles people, and oh so many more.
Councilman Paul Koretz remarked that he had not seen an L.A. initiative with that level of public support for a very long time.
So why did it come to a screeching halt? The Big Guys showed up, in the form of one attorney in a fancy suit. He gave hand signals to three L.A. City Councilmen, directing them what to do. We saw him: it was that obvious. One L.A. Times reporter dug deeper and wrote about how the lobbyists work.
Because of what the Big Guys slipped through Sacramento (AB2470), our L.A. initiative was on a timeline: We had to get it passed into law before Dec 31, 2014 in order to have it grandfathered, before the State’s “implementation of less stringent environmental controls” could take effect.
The attorney in the fancy suit and his lobbyist friends — together with the three L.A. City Councilmembers who took their directions from the Suit — succeeded in holding our motion “in Committee” on Dec 8, 2014. Which basically killed it, because we needed it to become law by Dec 31 (for grandfathering under AB2470).
We aren’t done. We aren’t up and quitting. But (for obvious reasons) we need to be a bit covert about our “next steps” strategy. But rest assured, you will hear more from us in 2015.
The more I read about the future of soil science, carbon sequestration, the future of the food supply, the more I am convinced: GMOs are seriously undermining sustainability in multiple ways. (21 Reasons why and The Science of GMOs) We have to stop them.
Somehow, somewhere, someone will be successful with “stopping action.” Across the country, grassroots group after grassroots group has gotta keep trying. Maybe it won’t be us that is successful. But each time we strive, we educate more and more people as to why Big Agribusiness and GMOs have got to be stopped. Someday, somewhere, some group will be successful.
If you’re an activist, all our GMO-fighting materials are free and open-sourced. Please use them, and please try this in your hometown.