Carnaun School Organic Diary – March 2007

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Seán Derrig Ryan 6th. Class, chats to Ms. Mary Hanafin Minister for Education and Science about the Organic Project in Carnaun School

In our school we had a talk about GM seeds and how they can change the way food is produced.

What are GM seeds?

Scientists can modify seeds by changing their genes. Genetics is the study of how living things receive common traits from previous generations. These traits are described by the genetic information carried by a molecule called DNA. The instructions for constructing and operating an organism are contained in the DNA of that organism. Every living thing on earth has DNA in its cells. Genes are injected into seeds to make it a “super seed”. They can be “herbicide ready”- the crop can then be sprayed with a total herbicide which kills all growth except the crop.

They can be “pest ready” so no insects will survive on the crop. These seeds can be “patented” which means that they belong only to the patentee.

Total pesticide kills all insects good and bad. So now no birds or animals that depend on these plants for food will survive in the area of GM crops. It is unbelievable that a gene taken from a fish can be put into a tomato to prolong the life of the tomato — och!

What foods are we talking about?

Corn, Soybean, Cotton and Canola (rape) are being modified. Scientists are working on Sweet Potato and Rice. Soon then they will start on Bananas, Fruit and Nuts and Fish.

Then it is going to affect us in Ireland in a big way. We think there are risks to GIVI foods. Our main concern is that genetically modified organisms are released into products without our knowing it. So, if a person with peanut allergy ate food containing a peanut gene without knowing it they would go into toxic shock immediately and die quickly.

Human health is affected by GM foods even if only a tiny percentage of the new gene is added. As the seeds are herbicide ready and pest ready the crop harms the environment/ecosystem. Big GM multinationals buy the companies that produce seeds and force farmers to buy GM seeds every year. In that way they try to control agriculture and that after a while it reduces the number of farmers by giving control of agriculture to a minority of business people.

Farmers leaving the land

ln Ireland Farmers can sell out and find good work. ln the third world countries they are driven off their land and go to live in the shanty towns on the outskirts of the big cities such as: Rio de Janeiro, Bombay, Calcutta, New Delhi, and Johannesburg.

In 2003 GM foods were grown in the following countries: United States 63%, Argentina 21%, Canada 6%, Brazil 4%, China 4%, South Africa 1%.

What can we do?

Be aware, read the labels of any food you buy and Don’t buy GM food.

Conor Cooley 6th. Class

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Natasha Daly finishing The ‘Garden Mural’ in the School Shelter

“Minding the Universe”

Today, Mairín Ni Mhurchú, an environmentalist, came to our school with her lovely “Story of the Universe”. It involved drama, music and dance. She is helping us make a musical out of the story and last Friday we staged it with the junior classes as our audience.

The universe is something glorious, awesome, mysterious and special that evolved over 14 billion years ago. The theme of Sr. Mairin’s story is that we must mind and respect the earth not only for ourselves but also for all other species that rely on us humans to do the right thing.

We must also be aware of the dangers and challenges we face if we wish to pass our earth on the next generation in a good stable condition. Wars, dangerous technologies and the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals are damaging life on earth.

Global Warming and GM (genetically modified foods) are two of many problems that are causing concern at the moment. Ireland now has one of the highest rates of greenhouse gas emissions in the world!

It is up to us humans to be aware of what can be done to solve these problems. We must open our eyes to the beauty of the earth and get to know it better, we must speak out on behalf of those species whose voices are not heard and we must work together to make changes so that all species can live together in peace and justice.

Natasha Daly 6th. Class. School Diary 05-02-2007

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Organic Licence  2007

ln the beginning of February, while the weather was dry, we cleaned up the garden, dug it over and covered it with a sheet of polythene to keep the weeds from growing until we get a chance to sow seeds and plants. Later we will leave a few trays of seeds to propagate in a local organic producer’s tunnel.

Recently we renewed our Organic Licence and signed our contract and now are looking forward to the organic inspection. This entails an inspector checking out our record book and looking at our garden. As we grow most of our plants and buy the rest from an organic horticulturist there is nothing to worry about and the children, who love to talk about their work, enjoy the visit and look forward to it

l would love to see the local County Council taking an interest in the organic licensing of school gardens in the same way that they operate the international Green Flag and l hope that someday that the Organic Flag will be seen outside the Schools of Ireland and as a result outside the farms and markets of Ireland.

Carnaun National School, Athenry.

Editor’s note: This article was, one of many ,written in Carnaun School, Athenry, from 2006 onwards, for IOFGA’s Organic Matters Magazine, Editor Cáit Curran!

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About this record

Written by 6th class Carnaun School

Published here 19 Feb 2024 and originally published March 2007

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