“What would happen if 10 per cent of Canada’s population died overnight? What would you do if you found out it was all because of an unfounded belief?” These are the questions Lois Schultz, a member of the Coal Lake Lighthorse 4-H Club, is asking.
Schultz was the special guest speaker at the Ambassadors of Agriculture panel, held in celebration of Canada’s Agricultural Day at the Wetaskiwin and District Heritage Museum on Feb. 16, in hopes of spreading awareness of the agricultural industry.
The 10 per cent she spoke of is Canada’s diabetic population who use insulin to help them manage their disease and live a healthy lifestyle.
In her speech Schultz nicknamed genetically modified organism (GMO) technology as “Greatly Misunderstood Organism” and like many foods bred through GMO technology to make them better for human consumption — including tomatoes, corn, apples and broccoli — insulin used by diabetics was also created through GMO technology.
Schultz spoke to the importance of of understanding GMO technology before dismissing it’s benefits out of fear.
“Unfortunately many people don’t choose to see the incredible side of this technology and instead see GMOs as a threat to their health and environment,” said Schultz.
During her time at panel Schultz covered three areas of GMO technology: how the technology became misunderstood by consumers, the secret of GMO foods and the sustainability of a GMO free world.
Schultz questioned whether GMO protests would still be held if more people knew GMO technology was used to help diabetics, or if they were aware of the amount of scientific research GMO foods are put through to ensure human and animal safety before any such products hit the market.
“And while studies were done to see if GMOs could potentially cause cancer, infertility or ADHD there is no scientific proof of increased health issues or risk caused by GMOs,” said Schultz.
Schultz urges individuals to educate themselves before dismissing GMOs and to take with a grain of salt information found online before checking with reputable sources, due to fear mongering that contributes to misunderstandings of the technology.
“This is why we must educate ourselves to defend agriculture for what it really is and not what ill-informed Internet sources say,” said Schultz.
“In the end it is really all about sustainability,” she added.