Even if you're not a voter from Cali this proposition is landmark. A 'yes' on 37 means that food with genetically modified (GM) ingredients will be labeled. That's it. It's not proposing any sort of ban on GM foods. Proposition 37 is landmark because it puts the power of information and choice in the hands of the consumer.
61 countries already require GM labels on their foods! The EU has been labeling since 1997 and the UK since 1999. Monsanto (major producer of GM seeds and herbicides) actually supported the labeling of GM foods and the consumer's 'right to know' in the UK during the 90s.
Yet when it comes to the labeling of GM foods in California, Monsanto has contributed $8.1 million to the 'no' campaign. DuPont has contributed $5.4 million. $1 million/day has been spent on 'no' ads in the last month.
Lies and misrepresentations abound in the ads-- everything from stating that research on cost increase due to labeling was conducted by a Stanford scientist to untruths about incentives for lawsuits with the passing of the proposition. (By the way there is no reason to believe that a slight label change would increase cost for consumers.)
Before having my second baby (almost 2 years ago now) I taught 12th grade environmental science. We spent a lot of time doing projects around food and the environmental impacts of our food system-- including GM foods. After researching the pros and cons of using GM crops, students often took a stance 'for' or 'against' them-- or they felt like more research was needed to make a decision.
However, one area on which almost all students agreed was the negative social impacts of multinational corporations (especially Monsanto) patenting GM seeds and subsequently suing small farmers when Monsanto GM seeds blew into their fields and mixed with their crops. They felt compassion (most of them did anyway) for the small farmers in the U.S. and in developing countries who became dependent and in debt because Monsanto controlled their seeds and therefore their food system.
But that's a discussion for another day-- that last part may not be too clear-- but I'm pressed for time because my son is up from nap and the vote is tomorrow!
Bottom line: a 'yes' on 37 is a vote for people's right to know what they are eating and feeding their families. It won't cost you a thing.
More sources (also see links in article):
Opinion article well researched
I'll add more to this later...or a new post with more sources