Are things dangerous because we do not understand them? Does the comfort and convenience of the wealthy outweigh the health and safety of the disadvantaged? Is a camera phone and a digital platform enough to make you a trusted authority figure? How do we divorce reactionary impulse from critical thought?
On June 18 in the Green Issues Summer Film Series at Wabash College viewers were treated to an insightful, and at times, heartbreaking look into an ongoing battle between innovation and misinformation. A film created by Academy Award-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, Food Evolution delves into the controversial subjects of GMO food development and production, reducing our dependency on toxic chemicals, and the goal of feeding an ever-growing population.
Neil deGrasse Tyson narrates the viewer’s journey from a Hawaiian city council meeting where citizens are threatened with alleged lBMO-related illnesses to the banana fields of Uganda where farmers watch helplessly as livelihoods wilt away, apparent solutions just out of reach. Activists, scientists, bloggers, politicians, and struggling farmers weigh in on this hot button topic and the effects (or perceived effects) it has on their lives.
The central theme throughout the film is a testament to the transformative power of education and a call to action for critical thinkers, educators, and anyone with a vested interest in feeding the world. Although this is an incredibly broad subject with far too many variables to address in a single movie, the filmmakers did an admirable job of outlining the fears and concerns, the ongoing debate, and the overall safety of GMO food production and consumption.
Subsequent audience discussion was lively and remarkably comprehensive. Viewers explored the themes of the movie and debated the merit of various claims as well as veering off into related and adjacent topics such as chemical drift, food waste, exploitive marketing, bio-diversity, privilege, and precision agriculture. Discussion and debate eventually spilled out of the theater and continued in dozens of various directions. Everyone had fun and walked away with some new information, context, and /or new avenue for research and growth.
The public is invited to the next in the free film series — “Maratus,” a film which reveals what occurred after Australian garbage collect Stuart Harris took — and posted on social media — a photo of a tiny colorful spider. This will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Korb Classroom at the Wabash College Fine Arts Center. The series is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and the Wabash College Library.