The good news about Jeremy Seifert's eco-documentary GMO OMG is that it breezes into your heart as he and his adorable children explore genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The bad news is much of what they uncover and its implications for global health.
Seifert, who previously directed a short about dumpster diving (Dive!), came to his current food-dunnit while probing the Haitian burning of GMOs donated after the 2010 earthquake. "It's a gift to destroy you," says Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of Haiti's Papaye Peasant Movement, about Monsanto Company's 475 tons of hybrid seeds that local farmers preferred to incinerate rather than compromise Haiti's food sovereignty.
America should be so lucky. Here, as in many countries around the world, Monsanto and its agrochemical ilk are tinkering with our food without credible proof that it's safe to consume -- and without labeling that'd let us choose what we put in our bodies.
To cite but two distressing stats, we learn that 93% of our soy is modified, as is 80% of our processed foods. Less appetizing still is the fact that when we eat GMOs, we're literally eating pesticides. If that doesn't give pause, maybe the images of tumor-infested rats fed Monsanto herbicide and altered corn will make us rethink our diets.
Increased risks of cancer, auto-immune disorders, autism -- all this might be fabulously worth it were there truth to the fundamental claim that GMOs are humanity's only hope for feeding its burgeoning population.
According to the Millennium Institute's Hans Rudolf Herren, yields are now double what we need, enough for 14 billion people. More to the point, the proliferation of superbugs and weeds in the wake of GMOs bust the myth that the current bag of bio technology tricks is a sustainable solution.
GMO OMG fires a wakeup call to reclaim what environmental hazards, lab-brewed toxins and the corporate monopolies behind them have shanghaied. The soundtrack is rousing -- Seifert and his band created pulsating, up-tempo grooves -- but not enough to drown out the ticking of the clock to safeguard uncontaminated food sources for humanity and other species on our spinning mud ball.
One of the highlights of the film is Seifert's visit to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on a far-flung archipelago in Norway. No less than the "survival of the planet" is at stake as corporations yield up monocrops and tampered seeds, so it's at least some comfort to see that samplings of the world's unadulterated seeds are being preserved in this priceless repository.
At the core of GMO OMG are a field of questions: Who controls our future sustenance? Can we still have a say? How can we join the global food effort to take back what's ours? Seifert's pacey family road trip shows why anyone with a body ought to, OMG, do so before it's too late.