The notion of citizen-initiated legislation on a global scale has always been a pipe dream.

But it may be closer than you think.

One signal is the filing earlier this month of a California ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered food. The measure resembles proposals that have been discussed in Europe for an initiative there next year – when the new European Citizen’s Initiative process kicks off in April.

If California and Europe are considering petitions on the issue, that could be the impetus for measures in the other U.S. initiative states and other states and provinces around the world that have direct democracy.

I have no personal problem with genetically engineered food. Science has done wondrous things in this area. But this is the sort of issue that’s perfect for global direct democracy. The things that end up in our food can come from almost anywhere in a globalized society. If you’re determined to put limits on genetically modified food, you have to act globally.

And with direct democracy, you can start by drafting a petition and acting locally.