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Let me get a few things out of the way.
I’m a crazy fucking hippie. I go to Burning Man every year. I teach yoga. I live in a co-op. For the past two years I’ve been delivering organic vegetables for a local delivery service. I’ve been eating vegetarian for years, and vegan for the past four months.
I’m also fascinated by genetics. I read every book that comes my way on evolutionary theory, population genetics, and mapping the genome. I took several classes on the subject at the University of Pennsylvania. All told, I have a pretty solid understanding of how genes work.
And ultimately, I’m just not that scared of GMOs.
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand where my liberal friends are coming from.
Tag Archives | Monsanto
Truthout on the regime of rural surveillance and suspicion instituted by multinational seed companies:
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The GMO regime has initiated a “new era of feudalism,” by powerful multinationals who have consolidated their control over the lives and practices of farmers everywhere.
Monsanto boasts one of the largest corporate security operations in the world, with agents working both openly and undercover in rural counties throughout the United States and Canada. Monsanto’s investigators show up at front doors, and in some cases in the middle of farmers fields, making accusations, brandishing surveillance photos and demanding to see the farmer’s private records or to be handed over their hard drives.
Monsanto also has its own toll-free tip-line (1-800-ROUNDUP) where farmers are invited to inform on their neighbors, as thousands have reportedly already done. “Instead of helping each other with barn-raisings and equipment sharing,” a CFS report states, “those caught saving seed, a practice that is hundreds of years old, were turned into ‘spies’ against their neighbors, replacing the atmosphere of cooperation with one of distrust and suspicion.” Critics accuse the company of fraying the delicate social fabric which holds farming communities together.
Via RT USA:
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A genetically modified strain of wheat that was never approved by the United States Department of Agriculture as been discovered growing in Oregon, triggering a federal probe that is now spanning several states.
Investigators with the USDA want to know why the GMO crop, made by biotech company Monsanto but never approved for use, sprouted up in a field in the Pacific Northwest.
America’s wheat trade could be jeopardized if concerns grow among foreign consumers already weary of genetically engineered and modified organisms. Several countries across the European Union have banned the cultivation of GMO crops, and last weekend anti-Monsanto demonstrations were attended by millions of protesters on six continents.
The USDA has yet to approve any GMO strain of wheat to be grown in the US, but Monsanto field tested a genetically engineered variety from 1998 through 2005 before withdrawing their application from the agency’s regulatory approval process.
Monsanto—one of the largest agriculture and biotech companies in the world—creates genetically engineered seeds and food, or GMOs. They’ve also brought the world toxic chemicals like DDT, PCBs and even Agent Orange.
But who is Monsanto really? Why do many see them as one of the most evil companies on the planet—and why did 2 million people worldwide just stand up and march against this single company?
Monsanto vs. the World puts to rest the myths and shows the shocking reality. In this meticulously researched, short ebook, which cites nearly one hundred scholarly journals, books, studies, articles, WikiLeaks and even Monsanto’s own documents.
Al Lewis summarizes the polar opposites represented in Monsanto’s war of words with activists protesting the corporation’s actions, for MarketWatch:
…If you go to Monsanto’s website, you’ll see so many boasts about “preserving the planet,” “sustainability,” and “social responsibility” you’ll think they belong to the Green Party. The company talks about supporting human rights, feeding the world’s poor, being a steward of the environment and saving everything from polar ice caps to the rain forest.
If you look up what protesters are saying, Monsanto is all about its “Frankencorn.” As one protester’s sign put it: “Still wondering how the zombie outbreak started? One word: Monsanto.”
Here’s a colorful sampling of the back-and-forth, culling quips from both sides:
Protester: “If you’re so proud of your products, why don’t you label them?”
Monsanto: “People will … prosper, through healthier diets, greater educational opportunities, and brighter futures fueled by more robust local economies.”
Protester: “If bees die, we die.”
Monsanto: “We will use sound and innovative science and thoughtful and effective stewardship.”
Protester: “Control the food supply and you control the people.”
Monsanto: “We will listen carefully to diverse points of view and engage in thoughtful dialogue.”
Protester: “Congress is Genetically Contaminated … GMObama!” (GMO stands for genetically modified organism.)
Monsanto: “We’re … focused on fighting rural hunger in America.”…
[continues at MarketWatch]
Is opposition to Monsanto gaining momentum? It would certainly seem it from this past weekend. Via Yahoo! News:
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Two million people marched in protest against seed giant Monsanto in hundreds of rallies across the U.S. and in over 50 other countries on Saturday.
“March Against Monsanto” protesters say they wanted to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it. Founder and organizer Tami Canal said protests were held in 436 cities in 52 countries.
The ‘March Against Monsanto’ movement began just a few months ago, when Canal created a Facebook page on Feb. 28 calling for a rally against the company’s practices. Together with Seattle blogger and activist Emilie Rensink and Nick Bernabe of TheAnti-Media.org, Canal worked with A-Revolt.org digital anarchy to promote international awareness of the event. She called the turnout “incredible,” and credited social media for being a vehicle for furthering opportunities for activism.
WeAreChange talks to people who joined in on the March Against Monsanto in NYC about the problems of Monsanto and GMOs.
Monsanto finally loses in court! Report via REALfarmacy.com:
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A French farmer who can no longer perform his routine farming duties because of permanent pesticide injuries has had his day in court, literally, and the perpetrator of his injuries found guilty of chemical poisoning. The French court in Lyon ruled that Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller formula, which contains the active ingredient alachlor, caused Paul Francois to develop lifelong neurological damage that manifests as persistent memory loss, headaches, and stuttering during speech.
Reports indicate that the 47-year-old farmer sued Monsanto back in 2004 after inhaling the Lasso product while cleaning his sprayer tank equipment. Not long after, Francois began experiencing lasting symptoms that prevented him from working, which he says were directly linked to exposure to the chemical. Since Lasso’s packaging did not bear adequate warnings about the dangers of exposure, Francois alleged at the time that Monsanto was essentially negligent in providing adequate protection for its customers.
So sayeth Hugh Grant (CEO of Monsanto, not the fay English thespian). From Gawker:
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Monsanto is a $58 billion multinational Pesticide-‘n-Frankenfood corporation that has moved on from selling Agent Orange to its new business of patenting actual seed genomes and thensuing farmers who try to grow crops without paying the Monsanto corporation. Who could be opposed to such a thing. Only the elites, clearly.
Nobody really knows what sort of social and environmental consequences might result from the widespread use of genetically engineered Monsanto seeds that are resistant to Monsanto pesticides. I mean, what kind of weirdo would question whether that system has a downside? Latte-swilling, Mark Bittman-worshipping elitists, according to Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant:
“There is this strange kind of reverse elitism: If I’m going to do this [meaning “not bombard the world with genetically modified seeds and pesticides and also destroy any farmer who attempts to buck the system”], then everything else shouldn’t exist,” Grant said at Monsanto’s St.
Specifically intended to point out items linked to the vast and nebulous tentacles of Monsanto and Koch Industries, the smartphone app uncloaks the corporate family tree behind a given barcode. Via Forbes:
The app itself is the work of one Los Angeles-based 26-year-old freelance programmer, Ivan Pardo, who has devoted the last 16 months to Buycott.
Pardo’s handiwork is available for download on iPhone or Android, making its debut in early May. You can scan the barcode on any product and the free app will trace its ownership all the way to its top corporate parent company, including conglomerates like Koch Industries.
Once you’ve scanned an item, Buycott will show you its corporate family tree on your phone screen. Scan a box of Splenda sweetener, for instance, and you’ll see its parent, McNeil Nutritionals, is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.