I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we have the power to take a stand with action or inaction, silence or raised voices, financial support or financial withholding. All of these are choices at our disposal when we are moved to do something.
The issue that has my most immediate attention and energy these days is the presence of GMO in our food supply. The levels on which this issue calls for action are multiple: community education, requiring labels on food packages so consumers know what they are buying and ultimately, eliminating GMO from our environment. I’ve discovered that “boycott” (my new favorite word) is possible in many forms and I want to share them here.
First, I’ve chosen to boycott products that contain GMO. Finding substitutes may take a little research but once that is accomplished, it’s easy as non-GMO pie! The next step is to contact the companies whose products I’m no longer buying, letting them know why I’m no longer a customer and that I’ll share my decision with other people who care about making healthy food choices. My favorite example of this is the time I was hoping to buy sun dried tomatoes but the label on the jar was unclear as to the purity of the ingredients. I called the company directly from the market and asked about GMO. When the company representative told me no guarantee could be made that the product is GMO free, I had the pleasure of telling her that I was placing the product back on the shelf and leaving the store without it. Financial withholding raised voice, action… all in one!
I’ve been fortunate to meet some very dedicated people here in CT who are working toward legislation that would require the labeling of all GMO foods in our state. Our efforts include the promotion of local farms, working with state legislators and community education events throughout the state. These efforts are boycotts of silence and inaction.
There is one last aspect to my boycott commitment that is personal and perhaps the most important. That is the boycott of fear – fear of public speaking, fear of rejection, fear of failure. When an issue becomes so important that we feel we must become involved in its resolution, believing in ourselves is vital. My own boycott of fear includes working with other people who are willing to share their experience and expertise. This has led me to a strong and determined community of activists who are teaching me and from whom I’m learning to teach others. This boycott is bolstered every day by the reminder that I am more afraid of doing nothing than I am of getting out there and making my voice heard.