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Posts Tagged ‘March against Monsanto’

Need to Know

At the demo against Monsanto and genetic engineering in agriculture in Amsterdam last Saturday there was much talk about the product Roundup, a nasty potion easily available in a gaily coloured bottle at a garden centre or DIY store near you. However, in the world of agribusiness and chemical herbicides Roundup is yesterday’s news. No longer capable of keeping rapidly evolving superweeds under control on US farmland (superweeds evolve after a weed population has been subjected to intense selection pressure in the form of repeated use of a single herbicide), Roundup has been shifted firmly down the chain of supply and demand into the home and garden market. Meanwhile the clever people at Monsanto have moved to the next level in their never-ending War against Weeds.

The new kid in town is a charming concoction that goes by a variety of aliases such as Banvel, Oracle,Vanquish, and Xtend, but is actually the herbicide Dicamba.

Defoliant spray run, part of Operation Ranch H...

Defoliant spray run, part of Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War by UC-123B Provider aircraft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Final Solution

Although marketed as a shiny new “solution” according to the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS), “Dicamba is actually an old herbicide that served alongside “Agent Orange” in Vietnam, and has been resurrected as an environmentally friendly chemical through the magic of public relations.” It is similar in structure and mode to 2,4-D, a major component of Agent Orange, and has the highest soil mobility of over 40 evaluated herbicides, a process which leads inevitably to increased water contamination. Dicamba can also drift for miles and has caused millions of dollars worth of damage to Midwestern growers who have suffered crop losses due to herbicide drift onto their farms.

In the tried and tested manner Monsanto has developed a range of crops genetically modified to resist the Dicamba assault, the most threatening of which is probably Monsanto’s Dicamba Soybean. Other crops include Dow’s 2,4-D Corn and 2,4-D Soybean, and the non-browning “Arctic Apple.”

There are currently 13 new GE crops pending USDA approval.

The short video below graphically illustrates one farmer’s experience of dealing with Dicamba

Brothers in Arms

If you think that these are problems specific to American farmers, think again. Monsanto and its brothers in arms, Syngenta, Dow Chemical, Bayer and many others are desperate to sell this garbage all over the world, to Africa, Latin America, India, and especially to China.

Now if only those pesky Europeans would just lay down and roll over!

See for Yourself

One final thought about Roundup. You might want to check out this scientific study, first published in 2003 and available on the Science Direct website on the effects of Roundup and other glyphosate based products on cell-cycle disregulation in humans (and other living things): Glyphosate-based pesticides affect cell cycle regulation

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10000000000001900000010C8B6EFA71On the 14th of May the European Council for Agriculture & Fisheries adopted a set of conclusions pertaining to organic farming and the organic sector in general within the EU.

This is a set of Conclusions that presents a political view of how the current organic production regulatory framework is functioning; how it could be made more effective and how it should evolve in the European Union. The conclusions also provide a focus for policy development in the future.

The document lists 25 points of application of the regulatory framework and development of the organic sector. I’ve listed a number of the conclusions that immediately stand out below, but you can read the complete document and download a copy of the PDF here

A Few Highlights

1. Organic production and the organic foodstuffs sector in the European Union is established as a sustainable farming and production system which fulfils a dual societal role by responding to an increasing consumer demand for organic products while also delivering public goods which contribute to the protection of the environment, animal welfare and rural development.

5. The Council in its Conclusions on the future of agricultural promotion policy encouraged the Commission to provide consumers with better access to information on the European production model and increase their level of familiarity with quality systems such as organic farming.

7. The use of GMOs is strictly prohibited in organic production.

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
CALLS ON THE MEMBER STATES AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,
in accordance with their respective competences, to:

13. Develop the organic farming sector at an ambitious level by reviewing the current legal framework, with a view to improving its usability while providing for a period of stability and certainty, and aiming at :
– further clarification and simplification;
– addressing the current outstanding issues requiring further development;
– clarifying the situation regarding protection of the use of the term ‘organic’ for non Annex I products;
– providing guidance on the organic claims associated with the preparation of organic products in mass catering operations.

16. Take specific measures aimed at protecting the reputation of the organic sector and meeting consumer expectations. Explore proposals for the adoption of a rigorous, proportionate, cost-efficient control regime which should include the unambiguous allocation of responsibilities between the relevant control stakeholders and a harmonised sanction regime agreed at European level.

22. Encourage the promotion of the organic sector and increased consumption of organic produce.
Take action to harmonise and guarantee application of the EU logo as a very positive measure to increase the recognition and differentiation of organic products in the market; raise public awareness and promote its use through on-line information and specific campaigns.

25. Continue to recognise and encourage the innovative dynamism and potential of the organic sector and support relevant research and innovation, in particular within the framework of the European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs).”

Standouts

While there are several notable points here two in particular really stand out as helpful: in point 13 the sentence “clarifying the situation regarding protection of the use of the term ‘organic’ for non Annex I products”; and point 16:  “Take specific measures aimed at protecting the reputation of the organic sector and meeting consumer expectations”, show evidence of an awareness among politicians that the consumer-driven success of the organic sector hasn’t gone unnoticed in the boardrooms of the corporate food industries.  Type the sentence “corporate takeover of the organic foods market” into a search engine for example, and you’ll see why this level of awareness is so important.

To understand more about this relatively new aspect of the situation in the US and the seek and destroy mentality of the agribusiness and biotechnology giants follow this link: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Organic/

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gjon_mili_picasso“I do not seek, I find.”

Pablo Picasso

Focus

For various reasons, but mostly because it takes up time that I feel could more usefully be spent in other ways I’ve been very close to closing down this blog.  However, not having been able to bring myself to the point of actually pushing the button I’ve decided to change course a little bit in the hope that the project will once again begin to make sense to me.

More focus is what’s needed, and so starting with this post I’ll be concentrating on what I feel is the single most important and pressing issue of the times we live in, namely the wholesale appropriation and corruption of our genetic heritage by a cartel of privately owned corporations, aided and abetted by national governments, private armies, and fraudulent or misguided science.

Not Done

Climate change and deterioration is a battle lost it seems and we’ll have to deal with the consequences as best we can. The argument for and against the use of genetic engineering in order to facilitate the centralization of the source, cultivation, and distribution of the world’s food supplies into the hands of a select few is however a battle that’s still being fought,  and it’s far from done and dusted.

It’s not my intention to waste anyone’s time (including my own) broadcasting my personal opinions about the subject at hand. Anybody who’s ever taken the trouble to read this blog will pretty much know where I stand. Rather I’d like to spend the time available helping to point readers in the direction of those who know and understand with more precision than I exactly where the dangers lie.

262465_464375843637703_1548718134_nScare Stories

It’s not difficult to find scare stories about GM technology and the profit motivated manipulation of every link in the food chain. Take for example the recent case of the Indiana farmer dragged through the courts by Monsanto and brought to the brink of bankruptcy by the GM giant. But rather than filling page after page with alarms, horror stories, and negativity I’ll make an effort to keep in the foreground the knowledge that not only do scientifically proven alternatives to GM technology exist, (and have always existed), there is also a huge and growing movement against this dangerous and irreversible folly.

In order to do so I’ll highlight and share every instance of resistance that I can find, from organizations and individuals that work to establish and maintain seed banks free of F1 hybrids and GMOs, to movements committed to slow food, localization, and life after Peak Oil. Along the way (and at the risk of preaching to the converted) I’ll share everything I know or can find about the ways and means to work with and alongside Nature for our mutual benefit.

21238_593913780627146_739328318_nThink Twice

I have a strong feeling that the vast majority of people simply haven’t yet realized the scope and importance of this issue. Many people I know scarcely ever think twice about what they eat or where it comes from as long as it’s easily and cheaply available. This is exactly the state of mind that corporations like Monsanto depend and thrive on. A passive populace in thrall to consumerism can’t or won’t understand the arguments for and against until the decisions have been made for them, by which time they’ll have other things to worry about.

Taking personal responsibility for the fundamentals of life while sticking up as many fingers as you can spare to the corporations is a way out of this mess. I decide, you decide, we decide – that’s the way forward.

By the way,  music – because it’s life-affirming and a joy will always have a place on this blog.

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