Regulate genetically modified organisms carefully
The Aug. 31 article, "Genetically modified plants go wild," was lacking in substantive discussion of the dangers of GM plants spreading into the wild. Americans must be better informed about GM foods and the significant dangers they pose to the health of people and animals, the natural environment, and crop diversity. We cannot idly sit by while powerful biotech companies spread GM plants to every corner of our country. We must demand thorough research and legislation to protect the American people.
Genetically modified crops have been given almost complete protection in the US by the FDA, largely as a result of wealthy biotech companies' lobbying efforts. There is good reason why biotech companies don't want Americans to know that they are eating GM foods. Americans are known for reading the nutritional labels of their groceries. If an American reads something as simple as "contains genetically modified organisms," he or she might Google it and learn about the scientific studies that point to the dangers of GMOs to human health and the environment.
Jane Goodall's book, "Harvest for Hope," says that at one time we were led to believe that DDT was harmless. Now we know that it nearly caused the extinction of several birds. A new product introduced into our nation without adequate research is ethically wrong.
As a family, we believe Americans have the right to know the content of the food they eat. To ensure this, GM foods should be clearly labeled, and through stringent regulation, GM plants should be prevented from spreading into the wild.
Regarding the Sept. 6 article, "A gift for an entire village," reviewing Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin's book, "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations ... One School at a Time": Greg Mortenson is our hero. We're in awe of his work.
In 2002, after reading about his efforts in Pakistan, we established the Albanian Alps Institute, shamelessly paraphrasing his organization's name. We work in only one Albanian school district, providing books, repairing schools, hiring teachers, and offering scholarships to send students on to high school outside the district. To date, we've invested $50,000 in this school district.
The book review states, "The world needs more Greg Mortensons," and we agree fully. But since his total dedication is beyond the imagination or possibility of most Americans, I'd suggest that the world needs more organizations like ours. We are all volunteers, have steady jobs, and each dedicate about five hours a week to accomplish our goals. I (Steve) also am in Albania for one month each year. Many, many Americans could manage this schedule, making the world a better place, while maintaining their lives in the US.
Steve and Terri Cook
Corvallis, Ore. and Boga, Albania
Regarding the Sept. 13 article, "Pakistan to broaden rape laws, but women's groups see setback": The Pakistani government wants to meet with religious scholars who would ensure that the Protection of Women bill honors the spirit of religious law. Does the act of rape by Muslim men on Muslim women honor the spirit of the Muslim religion?
Janet L. Zimmer
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