Out of the Blue: Stand up against Monsanto

If you believe you have a right to know what you put in your body, join us at 11 a.m. Saturday at Main Beach for the March Against Monsanto. If you believe our Aliso Beach fire pits are a sacred right to enjoy a bonfire at the beach, let your local politicians know. Our freedoms are being eroded by both business and government.

In the case of business, one of the culprits is big agro and their legions of well-paid lobbyists and executives who now work for the government. Monsanto would have us believe that: a) genetically modified, pesticide-tolerant seeds are the key to feeding the masses; 2) there is no science proving that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are bad for us or the environment; and 3) mandatory labeling would cost us $400 a year in added grocery expense (or so their secret ad campaign said during their successful campaign to defeat Proposition 37).


We say that the key to feeding the masses is more local, bio-diverse farms using permaculture principles that yield far more efficient yields of healthier foods while regenerating the soil with organic waste. That is far healthier for the environment than single mega crop fields that taint the earth with pesticides that only super weeds can conquer — a super weed that is killing the heart of our production in farmlands across America.

But processed, GMO-laden foods are still the choice of the masses because either they don’t have the information, or they live in a food desert where healthy, locally sourced food isn’t available. And why is that? Because vegetables and fruit aren’t subsidized like corn, wheat and soy, and are thus too expensive for most Americans.


We say that even if the claims that GMOs are safe are true, then why not prove it with more scientific studies? We hear every day of health problems associated with our processed food, like obesity, diabetes, cancer, infertility and birth defects. And yet President Barack Obama recently signed the Monsanto Protection Act, giving the agro chemical giant impunity against any consumer lawsuits over sickness or death.

How do they get a hall pass? One clue might be that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency are staffed by former Monsanto executives. Since when did “By the People, For the People” get supplanted by “By Big Business, For Big Business?” The answer, as always, is follow the money. Not even Russia, Brazil, India or China would allow this to happen as they have all banned GMO foods.

Saturday is your chance to fight back and demand accountability from our government. There will be 370 simultaneous demonstrations in 49 countries.

Think this is a fringe issue supported by tree huggers, Occupy Wall Street types and those dreaded liberals? Nope. It’s mothers, grandparents and children of all political stripes who demand to know what is in their food. Come down to Main Beach and learn more. They’ll be a one hour march starting promptly at 11, followed by presentations from noon to 2 p.m. For more information, go to .


Now about those fire pits. Soon, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) will vote on whether to remove all fire pits in Orange County. This is because the city of Newport Beach favors it after some of the residents living above them complained about smoke inhalation. We believe that if Newport Beach wants to ban them, that’s their business. But don’t take down the rest of Orange County in the process.

An earlier version of this column incorrectly reported that the AQMD would vote June 7 on the fire pits. That vote has been pushed to an undetermined later date.

Apparently we’re not alone. The city councils of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and San Clemente have all issued official statements opposing the ban. So has the Orange County Board of Supervisors. They concur that this is a local issue, and each city should decide for themselves.

And in a fortuitous turn if events, our City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to issue a statement opposing the ban and favoring local jurisdiction. Hooray. Our sixAliso Beach fire pits are a sacred cultural treasure. A rite of passage and a romantic or convivial way to enjoy the beach at night by the glow and warmth of a fire.

And if you really want to experience the magic of beach bonfires, come down Friday to Laguna’s monthly full moon drum circle. You’ll see first hand a wonderful community event that couldn’t exist without it. Please do your part and let the AQMD know that you oppose the ban on our fire pits.


BILLY FRIED is the chief paddling officer of La Vida Laguna and on the board of Transition Laguna.