(TFC)— Officials from five states are currently mobilizing against EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) head Scott Pruitt’s ordered delays in banning a controversial pesticide. The collective of state Attorney Generals aims to forestall deregulated use of chlorpyrifos, linked to brain damage…
The Zika virus’ spread has catalyzed a massive industry boom for big-biotechnology. It’s an industry making bank off manufacturing poison, and even mutants. Interestingly, it’s latest mosquitocide comes along with a study guaranteeing it’s eco-friendly.
“We’re essentially preventing mosquitoes from producing urine”, says Vanderbilt pharmacologist Jerod Denton, Ph.D. According to Science Daily, the pesticide–VU041–was developed to transcend the insect’s adaptive prowess. Denton joined colleagues in an evaluation of its possible ecological impacts.
Agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto agreed in September to a global non-exclusive licensing agreement with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to use the ground-breaking CRISPR-Cas gene-editing tool.
The St. Louis, Missouri-based company, which is in the midst of a merger with Germany’s Bayer under regulatory review, plans to use the technology for agricultural purposes. “Genome-editing techniques present precise ways to dramatically improve the scale and discovery efficiency of new research that can improve human health and global agriculture,” said Issi Rozen, chief business officer of the Broad Institute. “We are encouraged to see these tools being used to help deliver responsible solutions to help farmers meet the demands of our growing population.”
Around the world, plant breeders are resisting what they see as corporate control of the food supply by making seeds available for other breeders to use.
Frank Morton has been breeding lettuce since the 1980s. His company offers 114 varieties, among them Outredgeous, which last year became the first plant that NASA astronauts grew and ate in space. For nearly 20 years, Morton’s work was limited only by his imagination and by how many different kinds of lettuce he could get his hands on. But in the early 2000s, he started noticing more and more lettuces were patented, meaning he would not be able to use them for breeding. The patents weren’t just for different types of lettuce, but specific traits such as resistance to a disease, a particular shade of red or green, or curliness of the leaf. Such patents have increased in the years since, and are encroaching on a growing range of crops, from corn to carrots — a trend that has plant breeders, environmentalists and food security experts concerned about the future of the food production.
A determined fellow dedicated to the millennia-old tradition of plant breeding, Morton still breeds lettuce — it just takes longer, because more restrictions make it harder for him to do his work.
The Bayer – Monsanto merger, announced last week, will no doubt be good for shareholders in the short term, with the sale price of seed and GMO giant Monsanto ending up at $66 billion, or $128 cash for each share. But the result for farmers across the globe will likely be far less rosy.
The Bayer – Monsanto merger deal, which took months of negotiations to finalize, will create the largest agribusiness in the world. Bayer, mostly known for their aspirin and other pharmaceutical products (including, long ago, heroin) are actually an agriculture product giant in and of themselves,with a large chunk of their yearly profits being from the sale of agricultural chemicals.
On the eve of her appearance at the One Earth, One Humanity One Future festival in Oxford later this month, Vandana Shiva calls for seed freedom.
Later this month I will be travelling to England, to take part in the ‘One Earth One Humanity One Future’ festival in Oxford, which will celebrate 50 years of the UK’s flagship environmental magazine, Resurgence.
This ‘Resurgence 50’ festival will be bringing together leading figures from the world’s social justice and environmental movements to share ideas for bridging a more equitable and sustainable world. A world that would be imminently fairer and more sustainable without the transnational agrochemical giant Monsanto and its GMO crops.
Despite Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) being touted as saviors, nations worldwide restrict or outright ban their use. That gouges their champion corporation–Monsanto– with deep profit wounds. That paradigm forces the company to get creative, and test all manner of boundaries. As agra-advancement demand grows, with GMO’s failing to catch on, Monsanto turns to countries like Vietnam to welcome its product.
The agra-giant once found success in Vietnam during 20th century struggles against colonialism. During the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese countryside drowned in massive amounts of the toxin known as Agent Orange across lush jungles. It acted as a kind of augmented herbicide, officially used to clear dense bush for troops. It was also useful for destroying food supplies, and tainting drinking water. A Vietnamese man interviewed for the 1975 documentary Hearts And Minds, who built coffins of a living, claimed many countryside children died due to the poison.
Adaptive technologies have begun creeping into center stage recently in the global climate conversation. Some of those technologies are radical, however, and pose nagging questions. For instance, researchers now considering using geoengineering and terraforming to reverse CO2 emissions now explore the line between earth guardians and god players.
The UN-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently announced it’s condonment of terraforming. Simply put, humanity’s collective greenhouse emissions must staggeringly decline immediately. If this doesn’t happen, TVN reports, then warming may rack worldwide societies with unmanageable disasters.
Louisiana’s shores are once again swelling to devour homes and businesses, streets and roads. Record flooding interrupted the lives of thousands, killing at least 13 in the process. As rescue operations continue, onlookers realize that climate change can’t be closeted anymore. Will this most recent lash from nature shake Americans into responding to the crisis? Or is nothing to be learned?
Over two feet of rainfall drowned Louisiana last week, emptying over just three days. The “historic flooding” was spawned after a low pressure system combined with record amounts of atmospheric water vapor, Washington Post reports. The disaster has displaced untold thousands, and killed around a dozen people. Those figures are expected to rise.
When it comes to climate change, now is the time to react and develop defenses. Unfortunately, very few western resources are allocated to prepare for future environmental challenges. That’s not the case in areas inhabited by indigenous peoples, who’re already dealing with environmental changes. Recent months have seen adaptation techniques field tested in indigenous areas, for eventual use elsewhere. One of the many questions going forward, however, is whether progress itself is sustainable.
As important as the actual technologies is including as many voices as possible in climate conversations. Climate change affects humanity more than any war, or plague. In fact, grimmer predictions for the future suggest it may eventually cause those things. According to Glacier Hub, whereas indigenous peoples occupy 65% of earth’s land, they’re rarely included in climate debate.
Throughout history, controlling India was the key to controlling Nepal. British control over the landlocked nation was an extension of its control over India itself. Today, imperialism is far from a distant memory. It did not go “extinct,” rather, it merely “evolved.” Today, imperialism looks like national and international “aid programs” which are used as fronts and vectors for corporate special interests.
USAID, the World Food Programme, and others, for instance, serve as fronts and vectors for corporations like Monsanto. In turn, Monsanto seeks a monopoly over world food production and the immense wealth and influence associated with such control. Just like the British East Indies Company did for centuries (1600’s-1800’s) the West is using a combination of corporations and foundations to project geopolitical power. And few other sectors engender such sought-after geopolitical power like control over a nation’s agriculture.
The story of corporate-financier interests attempting to conquer Nepal through this method is not new. In 2011, when “Maoist” rebels finally took control of the country and Western-style “democracy” foisted upon the Nepali people, Western corporations were already positioned to overrun the levers of power by controlling the nation’s infrastructure.
The Indian government has passed legislation capping royalties for new genetically-modified (GM) cotton varieties to be introduced by Monsanto, striking a blow at the company’s pricing structure in the heavily-populated country.
Earlier in March, in response to complaints that Monsanto’s Indian subsidiary Mahyaco Monsanto Biotech India Ltd (MMBL) was overcharging for a crop that produces its own pesticide, the agriculture ministry cut royalties paid by local seed firms by nearly 70 percent, substantially affecting MMBL’s revenue.
To ensure the welfare of farmers and eliminate the agrochemical giant’s monopoly in the market, the Indian government also fixed GM-cotton-seed maximum-sale price at 800 rupees for a 450-gram packet.
In Brussels, hundreds of lobby consultants make a (rather generous) living by running lobby campaigns on behalf of anyone who pays them. The borders between communication and PR strategies, law expertise and traditional lobbying are blurred. Demonstrating the problematic symbiosis between corporate interests and the EU institutions in Brussels, the same lobbying consultancies often get hired by both, bringing serious risks of conflicts of interest. A case in point: Germany-based lobby consultancy Genius and its work for the Glyphosate Task Force.
The European Commission – as shown again recently in The Guardian – seems hell bent on granting glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s toxic herbicide Roundup, re-approval for another ten years. This is despite the fact that the World Health Organisation’s cancer institute IARC declared the substance as “probably causing cancer to humans”, and that EU pesticides rules say such substances should be banned.
The EU Commission is clearly determined to approve a “probable human carcinogen, glyphosate, despite overwhelming evidence of its toxicity. They are clearly content to side with Monsanto and the agribusiness chemical weed-killer lobby and with Washington above the health and safety concerns of EU citizens. A legal mind might call this criminal negligence. The issue is the upcoming renewal of the license to use the probable carcinogen, glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s widely-used weed-killer, Roundup®. The intensity of the lies and attempted deception by EU faceless bureaucrats on the controversial glyphosate issue is indicative why more EU citizens are demanding an “opt-out” entirely from the European Union.
Since the unexpected refusal last month of three EU member states to go along with the decision of the EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to re-approve the world’s most widely used weed killing chemical, Glyphosate, dramatic and encouraging developments suggest that for the first time the power of GMO agrochemical giants like Monsanto and Syngenta, Dow and DuPont, BASF, Bayer could undergo a devastating defeat. Were this to happen, it could well be the death knell for the misbegotten Rockefeller Foundation Genetic Manipulation project that has destroyed much of Western farmland and poisoned hundreds of millions of GMO fed farm animals and humans.