GMOs: A Call to Faith and Ethics

Hey have you taken my survey about recycling yet…. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3GTHQJY

Why do some religious groups have a problem with biotechnology and GMOs?

What are GMO’s?

  • Genetically modified organisms are plants or animals whose DNA has been genetically engineered in such a way that it improves the organism’s overall health, strength, etc.
  • This procedure is done in a laboratory.
  • These organisms can not be found in nature.
  • There are food products available for consumption that contain GMOs, yes the Government allows this.

What’s all the controversy surrounding GMOs about?

  • GMOs have never been studied long term so technically we don’t know the affects of GMOs on humans after a long period of being exposed to and ingesting these products.
  • GMOs have been tested on animals but some claim that the research was not extensive enough.
  • Farmers are at risk because biotechnology companies have the ability to sue any farm who has become contaminated with GMOs, for example this could happen if the wind from a neighboring GMO-using farm carries the pollen from genetically modified corn to the next farm over, who is organic. The biotechnology company owns the rights to the GMOs, in turn they have the right to sue anyone who uses their technology even if by mistake…
  • There is evidence that GMOs are directly responsible for the production of “super weeds” and “super drugs.”
  • The effects of GMOs on the environment have not been fully studied.
Image result for gmo vs non gmo

Foods you may consume on an everyday basis, that you might not have known contain GMOs.

 

 



Religion calls for faith, fundamental values, and often times for stewardship.

There are ethical issue surrounding the use of GMOs, there are people who resist consuming GMOs because of their religious beliefs. People of faith see GMOs has giving people the chance to “play God.” Others think that tampering with nature is instinctually wrong or that inserting animal genes in plants is immoral.

Some Christian groups say that their approach to GMOs is based on care for God’s creation as shown in Genesis 2.15 – respect for God’s creations. God entrusted the earth to man’s use. For a Christian who interpreted the passage in Genesis this way, he might say “Yes” to GMOs. It is man’s responsibly to care for the earth, what is wrong with bettering it?

Judaism and GMOs: although Jewish law does not prohibit GMO food, that does not mean that it is ethically okay. In the Jewish religion, humans must work to bring the world closer to perfection and not further away from it. Although GMOs may increase the quality of food, there is also a risk that it may be harmful to human health and the environment . Which may be the reason that a Rabbi would urge people of the Jewish community to scrutinize GMOs  closely.

There are no laws within Islam that prevent the genetic modification of food and crops, the same as in all religions simply because religious practices came about in a time where the thought of science modifying organisms wasn’t even a thought, let alone an idea. Some followers of Islam say that there is no need for genetically modified food because God created everything perfectly and man does not have the right to tamper with God’s creations.

Through these three examples of  different religions, it is clear that religion has the ability to encourage and inspires one’s actions. If religion can influence your view on the debate over GMO use and consumption, couldn’t it influence stewardship for the environment and serve as a vehicle to influence change in the environmental movement?

Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving Chimpanzees

This post will shed light onto the fact as to why saving Chimpanzees can contribute to a solution to our environmental crisis.

Chimpanzees are in danger of extinction

Chimps are losing their home

  • Image result for deforestationDeforestation – permanent destruction of forests for uses such as agriculture, farming, settlements.
  • Image result for chimps hunted for bushmeatHunted for bush meat – While bushmeat has always been a popular source of dietary protein for local communities, the scale of hunting has increased dramatically, and the activity has become heavily commercialized with much of the meat now going to urban residents.

The human-caused factors that have led to our environmental crisis

  • The ever growing rate of extinction of chimpanzees in the wild is a cause of modernity.
  • What does it mean to live in a modern world? Modernity can be described as the rate at which a rapid change in science and technology is evolving. To live in a modern society is to assume that science has the answer to everything.
  • Industrialization occurred primarily in the West before moving to the East. Could it be that the West is responsible for rapid industrialization which has resulted in a depletion of natural habitats, led to the extinction of species, caused the globe to warm or should both the West and the East share the burden of a modern life which has lead to the pressing issue of an environmental crisis?
  • We live in a data driven, scientifically focused society – A society where there is a relentless economic exploitation of nature and the consumption of its resources.

Why Should we Care About Saving Chimpanzees?

If awareness of the preservation and ecological concern for chimpanzees is not raised, the human-caused factors such as deforestation that are leading to their decrease in population size will keep increasing and the burden of humanity killing its environment will become that much heavier.

Image result for chimpanzees

How does saving chimpanzees  contribute to the idea of a religious ecology? Different groups within different religions have differing ideologies of how they view their relationship between man and nature. Just like Pope Francis we can imagine a world in which all people, of varying religious groups shared the same ideology, one in which man didn’t exert dominance over nature but instead showed stewardship towards it. Small everyday actions such as recycling (P.S. take my survey about why people recycle here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3GTHQJY ) can prove to have a domino affect of greener actions on everyone around you.

Ashley

 

Does a World Leader Have Impact on Society?

What happens when people in positions of power make bold statements?

Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ was the first encyclical written entirely about the environment and it is also the first to identify global climate change in such a high manner from the church’s highest leader.

  • Laudato Si’ is shaping the current and future conversation about ecology nationally all around the world, but most importantly it is bringing forth action.   It is calling for a shift in mindsets, morals, attitudes, and values.
  • Catholic organizations such as St. Michael’s Parish in Poway, California  is starting to notice change in the conversations of their parish attendees.  ““People are buying into this,” Father Dolan said, explaining how topics on the environment and sustainability come up in parish conversations, even during coffee-and-doughnut gatherings after Sunday Mass. “We have to think on a global level. This is no longer just a regional thing. We have to reach into this call to stewardship.”
  • All parishes in San Diego installed solar power due to a “push” by Pope Francis. According to CatholicPhilly, the diocese reported that out of 98 parishes and 89 schools, more than 50% of them had agreed to install solar panel systems.
  • The Archdiocese of Atlanta has adopted a wide-ranging action plan that included stopping the use of plastic foam cups and bowls, teaching their attendants about the encyclical, organizing retreats based on ideas of sustainability, providing workshops for the development of a parish garden and helping people become aware that their buying habits matter.
  • Catholic organizations all around the world are making Pope Francis’s vision a reality.

“A Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate poll conducted in May 16-26 found that Catholic adults are more likely to be concerned about climate change than other Christians. The poll discovered that 68 percent of Catholics felt they have a moral responsibility to act to mitigate climate change. In contrast, 65 percent of other Christians and 59 percent of evangelicals held a similar view.” Perhaps Laudato Si’ has provided people with the willingness to interact with a solution to global climate change.

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Pope Francis is calling for an interreligious dialogue to share stewardship for our common home.

The church’s highest leader places a emphasis on stewardship for the environment and Catholics listen more carefully. Pope Francis’s encyclical alone might not have a huge impact, but if it is followed up by people of all faiths then the world will experience a global response and coming to action.

Pope Francis’s calling of the earth “Our Common Home” was not accepted with open arms from all religious communities. How much does his encyclical push the opposition? This is what I will be exploring in my next post.

Ashley

P.S. I am interested in the reason as to why people recycle, if they do why? And if they don’t recycle, why don’t they? I have created a quick survey that will only take a few minutes of your time to answer this very question.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3GTHQJY