I taught at Kyrene middle school in Tempe to about 20
kids (8th graders) all about 13. Amelia Morris, a little girl we took to
the March against Monsanto rally in Tempe, asked her teacher if I could
speak. Hat tip to Amelia for being an activist!
I showed them a cartoon called GMO A Go Go which, although a bit
deep, was great. One question was an African American kid who asked why
some people were Black and others white and if we cared about Black
people starving in Africa (after he saw Rachel Parent's interview and the
question of starving children in Africa came up). Wouldn't we want GMO's
to feed more people? I said if GMO's were so great and we have so much
food here in the USA, why do we have more cancer and women here have
higher infertility rates and have more cancer and disease? One kid
mentioned he was from Brazil and the question of coffee farmers came up. Of course, one kid asked if his coffee was "Colombian GMO" .
One girl told me about her brother and diabetes who went into a
coma and how they are trying a better diet for their family to change his
This kid, though, was the shining star! I asked her "HOW do you
know whats in your food? Is it labeled?" and another kid says "The government would tell us if it was unsafe" I said "Well, government tells
us cigarettes are bad and they are, right? But during WW2 and
Vietnam, they gave soldiers cartons of cigarettes when everybody,
including the government, thought they were safe, too". So with a stone cold face,
the girl retorts with a question to me.
"But wait, are you saying the Government doesn't care about us or our
food?" And that's when I realized a long journey of activism had come
to fruition. Dissent in the 8th grade mind.
We also discussed 3
things they can do to change society and their future. One was to be
responsible for your own life and body and choices. Educate your friends
on better choices and when you're able, grow your own food or help pull
weeds and stop using Round Up. (They came up with some of these through
questions they asked). Another funny kid asked if Ligers (A lion and
tiger bred together) were the same as a GMO's. I replied, "not unless they
are making a billion dollars on them". I also explained as good scientists,
they must always have thorough research and if labs are owned by
Biotech companies, then how can the research be legitimate? They love the term
"Seems Legit", so we used it a few times.
Andrea Garcia at the Arizona Breakfast Club - April 6, 2013 (on Agenda 21):
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