Chances are that the tortilla chips you just ate for lunch contain Genetically Modified Organisms (a.k.a. GMOs). Most of us have heard about GMOs, but what’s the big deal?
To learn more about GMOs, an incredibly complex and controversial issue, Community Adventure Program students at New Vista High School began researching the issue by reading articles from the Boulder Daily Camera and by watching a film entitled, The Future of Food. The students also spoke with community members, Laura Snider, an environmental journalist from the Boulder Daily Camera, and Donald Arrent, a local farmer with Red Wagon Organic Farm. Ms. Snider was able to speak eloquently about all sides of the issue, helping the students understand the opinions of people who oppose and approve of GMOs. Mr. Arrent spoke to students about why he chose not to grow GMO crops on his farm.
Students found that some people support GMO crops because they believe that they require less water, fertilizer, and herbicides. However, one of the biggest concerns they discovered was a GMO crop called “Roundup Ready.” These crops have been genetically modified to resist the herbicide Roundup. When Roundup is applied, it is harmful to other plants, wildlife, important pollinators such as bees, it can contaminate the soil and organic crops, and it can threaten water quality when the herbicide enters the watershed.
Right now, approximately 1,500 acres of genetically modified corn are grown on Boulder County Parks and Open Space and the Boulder County Commissioners are considering whether to allow genetically modified sugar beets this fall. Genetically modified sugar beets dominate the market and it is difficult to grow or find non-genetically modified sugar beets.
- Evaluated the contents of the vending machines located throughout the school and created a display to raise awareness about what products might contain GMOs
- Held a GMO-free bake sale
- Presented an awareness raising PowerPoint presentation for the school
- Hosted a GMO-free lunch for the school to raise awareness
- Created and wore t-shirts exhibiting information about GMO’s
- Placed numerous posters throughout the school detailing GMO’s
- Distributed fliers with information about GMO’s
During their Action Project week, students reached approximately 350 people in their school community. Because of their hard work and dedication, the students educated their peers and teachers about GMO’s, giving them the opportunity to make an informed opinion about what they think about the issue. Although it required great effort, CAP students made a positive impact in their school and in their community.
The more you do to help the world, the more powerful you feel, the less helpless… At the start of the quarter I was skeptical… I was sure I couldn’t learn anything new about the environmental problems of the world. When we began looking at issues I was close-minded and righteous. When we debated issues I had a strong “I am right and you are wrong” opinion. CAP has not only changed that righteousness, but it has ended it. As my mind open and I began to trust other people in the class I became more than willing to learn other people’s opinions. The Action Project renewed my faith in the human race.” Marley K., Community Adventure Program student.