WEEK 6 - The Storyteller
Tell a New Meaningful Story
Positive Health Principle #37
Use Your Imagination
In today's class you will learn:
1. What is GMO
2. How genetically modified foods affect our health
3. What research says about genetically modified plants and animals
When you finish today's class, click the golden button below and take another extra small action!
REFLECT: How often do you use your imagination?
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge.Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
TODAY'S DOSE OF POSITIVE HEALTH
“Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to live by answering for his own life;
to life he can only respond by being responsible.” Viktor E. Frankl
Humans first started domesticated animals and cultivating plants for food about 12,000 years ago. By choosing organisms with desirable features and mating them together over a long period of time, people were able to produce food in a smarter way. The classic example is corn that once was a tropical grass called Teosinte with small almost inedible kernels. Over hundreds of years, ancient farmers in Mexico transformed this simple grass into the starchy corn we know today. In other words, the ancient farmers manipulated the DNA of the Teosinte plant.
Scientists say that the dramatic difference between Teosinte and corn has been created by making five changes to the plant's genome. This process called, "artificial selection" has made many otherwise inedible plants like wheat, rice, almond and bananas, not only edible but rather delicious.
The difference between the old fashioned and the modern way of improving the quality of foods is the speed and the precision with which we can make more specific changes than nature usually allows. Today, instead of selectively breeding for desirable traits, scientists go directly to the DNA responsible for a specific trait, take it out and transplant it into newly developing plants or animals. If the DNA comes from the same species, scientists call the new organisms cis-genic (“cis” means “the same”), if the DNA comes from a different plant or animal, however, they call these new organisms transgenic (“trans” means “to cross”).
The newly developed organisms are called GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). These are either plants or animals created through the gene manipulation techniques of genetic engineering and biotechnology.
Currently, more than 90% of the soya beans and about 80% of corn grown in the States are GMOs. These raw foods are then widely used in food production processes. The majority of processed foods (three of every four processed foods) contain at least one GMO ingredient. It’s almost impossible to avoid products containing GMOs. Everything from soft drinks, canned foods, cereal, milk or bacon could be genetically modified.
We now have cows that produce human milk, chickens without feathers, fluorescent pigs that glow because of the genes from a luminescent jellyfish and in the last decade we have begun to see the foods that are equally scary - corn that makes bacterial toxins poisonous to pesticides or tomatoes that make the antifreeze proteins from fish.
Is this genetic manipulation safe for us?
The controversy around genetic engineering comes from the fact that many people believe that GMOs are as dangerous as they look. Let’s see what research says.
The most comprehensive study of GMOs and food ever conducted comes from the University of California where a team of researchers reviewed 29 years of health data from both before and after the introduction of genetically engineered animal feed. The data is big; actually it’s huge. It includes more than 100 billion animals covering a period before 1996 when animal food was 100% non-GMO, and after GMO introduction when it went up to more than 90%. The researchers concluded that genetically modified feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed.
Recent meta-analyses from various centres looked at a variety of food-producing animals like chicken, pigs, sheep, goats, and fish. The results have been consistent. GMO feed is safe with no evidence suggesting any negative health effects on humans who eat those animals. All data was based on observational studies, not controlled prospective clinical trials.
A few years ago The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council revised all available data and concluded that there was no evidence that GMO foods posed any greater danger to people than conventionally grown crops. The European Union conducted its own research on GMO safety and reported:
“The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects covering a period of more than 25 years of research and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology and in particular GMOs are not per se more risky than a e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.”
All the world major institutions like the British Royal Society, the American National Academy of Science, The American Medical Association and the World Health Organisation confirm that GMOs are not dangerous. All of the GMO foods currently available on the market have been tested, but many especially exotic transgenic pairings are still under investigation.
The debate about GMOs gets more complicated by the fact that much of the research is done by multinational companies that have an inherent conflict of interest. The Genetic Engineering Risk Atlas has collected more than 1,000 studies and found that about 30% were independent. They published their systematic review in 2013 looking at the last decade of GMO studies to describe the scientific consensus. The Genetic Engineering Risk Atlas “has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of GE crops; however, the debate is still intense."
Through the application of scientific knowledge humans now have the ability to influence nature in more radical ways than ever before. The genetic manipulation promises to produce food with greater nutritional value, to diversify the places that food can be grown, and even plant trees that can counter the effects of pollution.
Genetic engineering, however, comes with costs and there are many questions that remain unanswered, for example, what can we lose by creating the super weeds that are resistance to pesticides? What does is mean to eat food that actually doesn’t look like food and which technology is elusive to most of us? What real choices can we make knowing that what we eat is delivered by controversial agrochemical biotechnology corporations and not even labeled? What does it say about the human attitude towards the domination of nature? How can we minimise the risk that comes with GMO like the possibility of uncontrolled transfer of bacteria? What impact does this process have on our planet?
Personal responsibility and the freedom of choice come with information, knowledge, awareness and transparency. Since GMO has become the symbol of everything humans dislike about industrial and corporate control, these ethical and social questions are legitimate and worth reflecting on.
PThe Science of GMO. Are We Safe?
The science of GMO food
TODAY'S INSPIRED ACTION
Meditate for 3 minutes and imagine your ideal health
YOUR WEEKLY SESSION
Get ready for your weekly session.
In your fifth session you will focus on reframing your past experiences, focus on finding meaning and set the following intentions:
1. Identify and change your old story; replace it with a new meaningful one
2. Forgive yourself and others
3. Transform a post-traumatic stress syndrome into a post-traumatic growth syndrome
Answer the Meaning Questionnaire (download No1), spend a few moments reflecting on the PT Growth Worksheet (download No2), and go through the exercises (download No3) before your next session. Evaluate your session in the Self-Evaluation Worksheet (download No4).
1. Please make sure that you choose a convenient time and a quiet place for your Skype conversations.
2. Let the members of your household know when you need time for yourself, so you are not being interrupted.
3. Check your wifi connection and show up on time.
4. If you are unable to attend, you can still reschedule within the next few days before the Monday of the following week, if your guide has a free time slot.
5. Your one-to-one sessions are an integral part of the Grace School curriculum. It is, therefore, fundamental that each session is in synchrony with the weekly Grace School module.
YOUR WEEKLY DOWNLOADS
All files attached below have been created to support and enhance your learning experience.
These are available for download for the next 7 days. Please make sure that you answer the Meaning Questionnaire (No1), reflect on the PT Growth Worksheet (No2), and do the exercises (No3) before your next session.
Use the Self-Evaluation Worksheet (No4) after your session. At the end of the week reflect on your experiences and challenges. Summarise your week with the Self-Reflection Worksheet (No5).
Your WEEK 5 Downloads:
1. Meaning Questionnaire - answer 10 simple questions related to a deeper meaning of life (approx. time 5 minutes)
2. PT Growth Worksheet - grow from your previous experiences (approx. time 10 minutes)
3. Exercise Worksheet - do the exercises before your next session (approx time 10 minutes)
4. Self-Evaluation Worksheet - evaluate your session and learn from your experience (approx time 10-15 minutes)
5. Self-Reflection Worksheet - at the end of the week reflect on your experiences and challenges (approx time 10-20 minutes)
If you have any questions, comments or technical problems, please write: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.
We strive to respond within 24 business hours Monday-Friday 9am-5pm GMT. No personal information will be released or exposed.
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