Tuesday, January 15, 2008
A Real Life Hero!
There has been a lot written about Genetically altered organisms. The first glowingly optimistic news about plants and other life forms that could be engineered or modified to operate to our needs and specification made it seem that we were on the verge of being able to conquer disease and solve many of the worlds problems with the growth of staple foods and thereby conquer starvation.
Then the rush to cash in this new goldmine started. In the few short years that we have had genetically modified technology, we have seen some of the biggest players in forcing untried, and unsafe techniques on the world jump into the game. The biggest example is the Montsanto Coporation. In the last half century, we have seen the Montsanto Corporation go from the worlds biggest producer of Asbestos, which after causing hundreds of thousands of cases of Lung Cancer, long after they knew the problem existed, declare bankruptcy, walk away from legal liability through legal loopholes, go into the plastics business and after the products they sold became the source of health problems, they declared bankruptcy again and reorganized and went into the next get rich quick monster science scheme, Genetically Modified Organisms.
They quickly investigated the research being done and realized that they could patent the organisms that were created. The patent laws could be interpreted to give them the control of any hybrid plant or animal that contained the genes of one of their patented engineered organisms.
So, if you were a farmer and Montsanto was able to sew a field next to yours with their genetically modified soybean or rape seed and the bees which pollinated both fields, distributed the Montsanto pollen to your plants, the resulting seed would be in violation of Montsanto's patent and they could sue you. Which is what they have done many times. The biggest case so far is the case Montsanto brought against the Canadian Farmer, Percy Schmeiser. He lost his farm because his rape seed was pollinated by bees that pollinated a Montsanto test field.
Mr. Schmieser's case dragged on for a few years. It was the story of a farmer fighting the legal resources of an amoral Multi national Corporation trying to set a legal precedent. Percy lost the first round in Canada's Supreme Court, but he won an appeal but Montsanto has very deep pockets.
So, the seeds which Monsanto markets are engineered to be herbicide resistant, toxic to insects and super productive. The herbicide they are specifically resistant to is Montsantos own RoundUp, which is one of the most aggresively marketed herbicides on the planet. In tests which have been proven to have been rigged for results, the Monsanto plants are resistant to insects, but are now suspect in being toxic to the very bees which would pollinate them under normal situations and also carry their patented genetic material to "unauthorized" plants.
The super productivity has been dramatically shown to be at a cost to the very soil itself. In Iowa, farmers now, who have made dramatic profits from the use of Montsanto Corn, are now suffering because the soil of their fields is so damaged that the fields will have to lay idle for years to recover.
The money being made quickly by the giant agro business farmers is from the sale of their product to the political pork barrel of ethanol. The production of ethanol is being touted as the miracle answer to our dependance on foreign oil. Suddenly, Ethanol plants are being federally subsidised and fortunes are being made quickly buy insiders. The real cost?
The diversion of hundreds of thousands of hectares of land to the production of what would normally be a food crop, for the production of Ethanol..
The rapid degradation of this land by hyper efficient nutrient using altered plants which destroy the structure and the fertility of the soil.
The detrimental effect to the eco system because they are toxic to insects.
The destruction op natural strains of plants by the totally unavoidable cross pollination of plants.
The European Union has put the entire Genetically Modified Organism program back on the table for study. They realize that the immediate gains of the production of Ethanol will have serious detrimental long term effects for our planet.
Even here, in France, the GMO program has been halted and Jose Bove had been on a hunger strike since the third of January and ended it when the EU announced their decision..Segolene Royal as President of the Pouitou-Charente region, attempted to outlaw them 2 years ago. The mayors of villages across France have outlawed their use.
Mr. Bove has spent months in jail for civil disobedience in protests which he and his
Confederation Paysanne and other eco groups destroyed fields of OGM crops. He has never stopped fighting this monster and deserves a lot of credit for keeping the worlds attention on it.
We Need More Heros Like Him!