One Person CAN Make a Difference

Reader Contribution by Traci N. Smith
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I have been reading a lot lately about the effect GMOs and livestock have on the planet. According to one article I read, GMOs are completely safe. Another one blames them for global warming. According to an article in Mother Earth News, the way GMOs work is by creating smaller crops with higher yields. The problem here is that when you go screwing with genetics, you are bound to screw something up. And according to research done on rice plants in India, they have succeeded in screwing things up. Smaller, shorter plants have smaller, shorter roots. This inhibits the plants’ ability to tap into the essential nutrients and such that have been worked farther into the soil, and therefore increasing the need for fertilizer. This, of course, continues to deplete the few nutrients that are available in the top soil and introduces all kinds of things that we don’t really want in our soil.

So how do we counteract that? We bring livestock into the equation. They eat grasses and whatnot, then their body processes it, and they give us this amazing thing called manure. That manure replaces the lost nutrients and helps build up healthy top soil. It’s such an amazing cycle. And so easy! But here’s the problem: Planting GMO crops/grasses/plants for the livestock to eat then shorts the livestock of the essential nutrients that they need. Which means they can’t return those nutrients to the soil. So the cycle goes on: Plants eat all the nutrients, livestock eats plants, return manure to ground with some nutrients. Top soil builds up, nutrients are drained out of the ground, eventually there are no nutrients in the ground for the plants to eat, so there are no nutrients in the plants the livestock eat, no nutrients in the manure, etc.

So what do we do? Try to find as many heirloom non-GMO seeds and plants as possible. Rotate crops. Learn as much as we can about how things like this work.  Personally, we started with a garden and chickens. We’re building up the nutrients in our yard. It’s not a big thing, but here’s my thought. Worms aren’t contained to one yard. Wildlife isn’t contained to one yard. So we build up the nutrients in our yard, the worms and other wildlife eat from our yard, ingest those nutrients, then dispel them in someone else’s yard. Plants grown in those areas have extra nutrients, cycle repeats there. Slowly, we build up the nutrients in large areas. If everyone stopped using GMO seeds and went back to the traditional seeds that didn’t require as much fertilizer and all the extras, we could really make a big difference. Even doing one step at a time, one person at a time making a change, we can make a big difference.

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