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GMOs, Climate Change and Youth Activism: An Interview with Rachel Parent

By Taryn Everdeen

Rachel Parent is a 20-year-old activist from Toronto, Canada. She is the founder of Kids Right To Know, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to educating young people about food safety and making environmentally friendly dietary choices, empowering them to claim their right to know exactly what’s in the food they consume. Parent is passionate about protecting our environment; she is the director of Gen-Earth, an event platform focused on providing educational opportunities encouraging action to regenerate our planet. She is an experienced speaker, and debated Kevin O’Leary on television about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) at only fourteen years old, going on to give a TEDx talk in Toronto, ‘Why you have the right to know what’s in your food’.

Parent’s journey to activism began at twelve years old when she was given an assignment to write a speech for school. While researching, she came across the term GMO, and learned that while GMO labelling is compulsory in many parts of the world (including the European Union), it is not mandatory in the US and Canada. Since then, she has been fighting to make GMO labelling law, and also works to inform the public about the potential risks that GMOs present, offering ways they can eliminate these from their diet.

Despite having a strong network of family and friends supporting her, Parent’s battle to raise awareness and effect change has not been a smooth one. Her work is disruptive to large corporations and, in the interest of keeping profits high, they have fought back, trying to ruin her credibility. As with any kind of pushback, Parent says that it’s important to keep going - if you believe enough in your cause and understand it well, persistence will always win.

Watch Rachel's interview to know about this wonderful initiative.

"I met Rachel in Puerto Rico, both of us being participants of the International Congress of Youth Voices, a conference focused on youth writing and activism. I was inspired by her story, by the power of the things she’s achieved at such a young age. I think she is incredible proof that youth is not a limiting factor in your power to effect change - as she says, it can even be an advantage. She is fiercely passionate and knows her subject well and I admire her depth of knowledge and firm belief in what she’s doing".


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