by Ed Dodge, MD, MPH
I’ve given a lot of thought to GMOs and the relative public apathy about them in our country. Many of our readers say that nobody in their family will comment on anything they say or posts about it. I’m having a similar experience in that the GMO/awareness postings on my Facebook page generate no comment whatsoever from family or friends, though most other postings do get some kind of reaction.
I’ve commented before that I sense there is a public uneasiness about the whole subject of GMOs that makes most of the public almost fearful of taking any kind of action or position regarding GMOs. There is a basic uneasiness about the idea of genetically modified foods, but there is also a widespread perception that they are approved by the powers that be (the government represented by the USDA and FDA,) and so these foods must be at least passably OK. Even though there is also a growing uneasiness about governmental actions in many areas, this does not seem to translate into questioning by the public about governmental decisions regarding biotechnology and genetically modified foods in particular.
In short, we as a nation are swimming in a vast ocean of subconscious uneasiness about GMO foods, but nothing so far has sparked national consciousness to translate this widespread uneasiness into action to do something about it. I’m not sure what will provide that spark, but that’s what everyone in the anti-GMO movement is trying to find – a spark that will hit home with John Q. Public to the point of moving him from the sidelines to realize that it is in his best interest to become active in this arena.
A lot of people are doing creative things to try to ignite that spark, but somehow the fuse of national consciousness has not been lit yet. I believe that momentum is building up toward raising public awareness about hazards of GMOs, and I firmly believe that at some time in the not-too-distant future, a tipping point will occur when public awareness will shift from apathy to anger about GMOs being foisted upon us without our consent or knowledge.
Ed Dodge, MD, MPH