Chris Hedges and Vandana Shiva: The Fight for Life VS Monsanto/Bayer AG

Monsanto Wants You Dead

Image by OccupyReno MediaCommittee via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

with Chris Hedges

RT America on Mar 30, 2019

This week Monsanto/Bayer AG was ordered by a California federal court to pay $80 million to Edwin Hardeman after a jury found its weed killer, Roundup, caused his cancer. The case is just one of thousands of lawsuits filed against the company over plaintiff’s use of the glyphosate-based herbicide.

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Vandana Shiva: Justice Begins With Seeds (#GMO #Monsanto)

Eggplant

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

talkingsticktv on Aug 10, 2013

Talk by Vandana Shiva, author of “Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge” speaking August 2, 2013 at the “Justice Begins With Seeds 2013 International Conference” at Seattle First Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA.  Continue reading

Vandana Shiva and Geoff Lawton: Freeing the Seed

Collard Greens' Seed Pods

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

Sep 5, 2012 by Seed Freedom

Regular readers will know we are doing what we can to support Vandana Shiva’s “Occupy the Seed” campaign, running between 2 — 16 October, 2012. This worthy “Seed Freedom Fortnight of Action” is a call to respect and liberate the world’s seeds and to maximise their diversity — their being the very basis of our existence, and an absolute wonder of biological ‘magic’ in their own right. […]

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Dirt! The Movie

Dandelion Salad

Jamie Simko

Summer 2009: Juliet Tomatoes

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

DIRT! THE MOVIE is an astonishing, humorous and substantial look at the glorious and unappreciated ground beneath our feet. Dirt feeds us and gives us shelter. Dirt holds and cleans our water. Dirt heals us and makes us beautiful. Dirt regulates the earth’s climate. Why do we humans ignore, abuse, and destroy our most precious living natural resource? Consider the results of such behavior: mass starvation, drought, floods and global warming. Continue reading

Moyers and Company: Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically-Modified Seeds

Dandelion Salad

http://billmoyers.com/
July 13, 2012

Attack of the Killer GMO corn!

Image by DawnOne via Flickr

Bill talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who’s become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers.

Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.

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Monsanto and the mortal danger to traditional agriculture By Siv O’Neall

By Siv O’Neall
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Axisoflogic.com
August 21, 2011

Lovely flowering dill

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

The greatest threat to the future of food production in the world is the introduction of genetically engineered foods from the bio-tech industry. Contrary to their mendacious propagandized promises of solving the problem of world hunger through the so-called second green revolution, the bio-tech companies are instead in the process of destroying the world’s ecosystems, and thus the natural food chains and life cycles. Their goal is certainly not to solve any problem at all, but instead to fill the corporate coffers with the profits from selling their dangerous products to countries with already high mortality rates from malnutrition and starvation.

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Vandana Shiva: Understanding the Corporate Takeover

Dandelion Salad

http://blip.tv/grittv/
April 29, 2011

Lettuce

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

“The American people should see that corporations have abandoned them long ago,” says scientist, environmentalist, and food justice activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, named one of the seven most influential women in the world by Forbes magazine. “The people will have to rebuild democracy as a living democracy.” Dr. Shiva has been fighting corporate takeover in every area in her native India, combating a nuclear plant one week and patented, genetically modified seeds another. She joins Laura in studio to advise American activists how they can fight the merging of corporations and government here at home and around the world.

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Using Controversial Law, Danish Police Preemptively Arrest Over 1,000 Protesters and more on Democracy Now! from Copenhagen

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Democracy Now!
Dec. 14, 2009

Indigenous Leaders at the Front Line of Climate Change, at the Front of the Historic Climate March in Copenhagen

On Saturday, over 100,000 people marched in Copenhagen calling on world leaders to agree to a just climate policy. Leading the march was a delegation of indigenous leaders from communities on the front lines of climate change. Democracy Now’s Anjali Kamat and Elizabeth Press speak to indigenous activists at the march and at the Danish National Museum. [includes rush transcript]

via Indigenous Leaders at the Front Line of Climate Change, at the Front of the Historic Climate March in Copenhagen

***

“We’re Trying to Provide the Armies that They Lack” – Bill McKibben on Supporting Poor, Vulnerable Nations with Mass Protest Movements
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Vandana Shiva: The Future of Food and Seed

Summer 2009: Juliet Tomatoes

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

Note: replaced video Apr 24, 2011

59:54 – Mar 27, 2009
on Apr 23, 2011

Scientist, feminist, ecologist and author, Vandana Shiva, presenting the keynote address at the 2009 Organicology Conference in Portland, Oregon, on February 28, 2009.

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Derrick Jensen & Radio Roxanne: Premise One Civilization is not and can never be sustainable

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Sent to me by
radioroxanne

Audio link

This post is a link to a 27 min. 59 sec. Radio Roxanne audio interview with writer and environmental activist Derrick Jensen.  This is the 1st in a series of 20 interviews based on his 20 premises from his 2 volume book, Endgame.

At a time when the whole world is reeling from a collapsing economy, it’s a good idea to ask what is the relationship between the economy and the planet, when every eco-system is also in collapse.  And to ask:  What is worthy of saving from collapse, “the markets”, or the planet we call our home?  (And to recognize we can have one, or the other, but not both.)  Yesterday I posted a Naomi Wolf video calling for direct action regarding the criminals in the white house.  It’s a place to start, but it doesn’t end there…. Continue reading

Slow Food Nation Attracts 50,000—Beneath The Surface

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
Sept 1, 2008

“Come to the table,” Slow Food Nation invited. And come to San Francisco over Labor Day weekend they did–around 50,000 people attending perhaps the largest food celebration in American history.

Tables and straw bales appeared in the heart of the city’s Civic Center around a victory garden on about a quarter of an acre that had replaced a lawn. It was surrounded by a huge marketplace, which was like an old-fashioned farmers’ market that gets food directly from the farm to the fork, bypassing corporate super-markets.

A couple of miles away by the Bay at Ft. Mason–inside an old military hangar stretching over the length of a couple of football field–people strolled down a long aisle to taste fresh seafood, chocolate, wine, olives, ice cream, Indian bread and other delightful options. They could also attend free film showings and rock concerts at the former military base transformed into a cultural center.

Meanwhile, inside large auditoriums and smaller meeting rooms people discussed the growing global food crisis, how to respond to it, and imagined possible futures for farming. The final panel included the following key voices in the growing world-wide sustainable agriculture movement: Italian Carlo Petri, the founder of Slow Food in l986, physicist Vandana Shiva from India, Kentucky poet and author Wendell Berry, UC Berkeley professor Michael Pollan, Alice Waters of Chez Panisse Restaurant, and “Fast Food Nation” author Eric Schloesser.

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Slow Food Nation Gains Momentum By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
Aug 5, 2008

Slow Food Nation leader Alice Waters–founder of Berkeley’s famous Chez Panisse Restaurant and author of eight food books–spoke at the small town (8,000 people) Sebastopol Farmers’ Market in Northern California August 3. She was interviewed about the August 29-31 SFN celebration to happen around San Francisco by KRCB public radio host Michelle Anna Jordan for her “Mouthful” program to run that evening.

“We want to lift a loud voice to change our food system,” Waters responded when asked about SFN, where over 50,000 people are expected. “We need to change the ways we grow, distribute, and eat food, which needs to be good, clean, and fair. Things are at a crisis point with respect to health and the environment.”

Waters described how the lawn in front of San Francisco’s Civic Center, one of the sites for SFN, has been replaced with a victory garden. “We have been talking about a vegetable garden on the White House lawn. This would be a way to talk about stewardship and nourishment. Thomas Jefferson had such a garden.”

“A big message of Slow Food Nation is that we all need to be planting gardens,” Waters noted. Addressing global climate change issues, she commented, “We need to have more greenhouses in the future, whether it gets too hot or too cold.”

“How we eat can change the world,” Waters has said elsewhere. By combining fresh produce from local farms with European cuisine, Waters helped create a food revolution and transform eating habit. At the Sebastopol market she also signed copies of her newest book “The Art of Simple Food.”

Waters helped kick-off the Gravenstein Apple Month, which has been declared by both the Sebastopol City Council and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. This is the time of year in this semi-rural area where one gets invitations such as the following: “If you want to help grind up large quantities of Gravenstein apples to make fresh juice, drink lots of juice, join a pot luck BBQ lunch, and get covered in apple pulp=come on over!”

“Gravensteins are a tasty apple that got left behind,” Waters explained. The delicious “Grav” apple is at risk of becoming an endangered species. “Save the Gravensteins!” bumper stickers made by Slow Food and Community Alliance with Family Famers (CAFF) are popping up around the country. Slow Food has accepted the Sebastopol Grav as one of the traditional foods to which it gives attention to protect it from extinction.

SFN’s “Come to the Table” call has garnered significant media attention. The New York Times (July 23) and San Francisco Chronicle (June 30) have each published long articles about the gathering that has a budget of some $2 million dollars. Some of its public events have already sold out.

Its main events are a Food for Thought speaker series, taste pavilions, a marketplace showcasing 60 local farmers and artisans, and the victory garden. Live music will be performed across town at the Ft. Mason meadow, an appropriate place to make “swords into plowshares.” Special events include dinners, art, journeys, and hikes. Some are free, whereas others require tickets.

Slow Food was started by the Italian Carlo Petrini in l986 to protest McDonald’s and its fast food culture. It advocates traditional agriculture and food preparation and consumption, which differ from how many in the U.S. deal with food. SFN is the first such large gathering in the U.S.; it is modeled after events in Europe that have drawn thousands to Terra Madre gatherings.

The speaker series includes some of the leading voices in the growing global sustainable agriculture and food movement, such as Petrini, physicist Vandana Shiva of India, Kentucky author and farmer Wendell Berry, University of California at Berkeley professor and author Michael Pollan, author Raj Patel, Native American leader Winona LaDuke, “Fast Food Nation” author Eric Schlosser, and the Land Institute’s Wes Jackson of Kansas.

Their topics include “The World Food Crisis,” “Building a New Food System,” “Re-Localizing Food,” “Climate Change and Food,” and “Edible Education.” Award-winning short films and documentaries will also be shown.

The “New, Fair Food System,” as an example, will feature “activists who campaign on behalf of farm workers and meatpacking workers.” It will focus on “how do you create a system in which eating well and treating people well are inextricably linked?”

A Call to Participate went out for a Youth Food Movement “to empower networks of students and young farmers, cooks, artisans, activists and eaters.” Among those attending will be members of Sonoma State University’s Slow Food Club, including its president, Robin Temple, a psychology student. While pruning on a local farm one day in late July Temple described some of his group’s plans, “We will speak in classes during the last week of August to inform students of the event. We will make a film of the youth program there that will be shown at the October Terra Madre gathering in Italy. We have been working to get Michael Pollan and some of the other key speakers to come to campus.”

“Slow food is the opposite of fast food. It is food that comes from local, sustainable farms,” Temple writes in the SSU campus newspaper. “We intend to raise awareness about the profound effects of our food choices on the environment, on our health and on issues of social justice,” he adds.

Some have criticized Slow Food for being elitist and catering to an older crowd that can afford better food and attend its sometimes-expensive dinners and gatherings. Temple represents a younger generation in the Slow Food Movement raising various challenges. “The current industrial model will soon fail for its heavy dependency on homogeneity and petroleum. As such, slow food is about survival,” asserts Temple.

The Youth Food Movement invitation contends that “good, clean and fair food is a universal right.” The youth gathering starts with an overnight retreat August 27 at a teaching farm on the California coast north of San Francisco, includes meeting at an art gallery that seeks to “build community through food and art,” and concludes with an Eat-In at Dolores Park “on a long, 200-person table for a meal curated by Outstanding in the Field.”

By-invitation-only events include a Changemakers Day and a National Congress. Around 600 participants will attend the August 29 Changemakers Day “designed for our nation’s food system leaders.” It will include “26 dynamic presentations on topics ranging from the viability of rare breeds to the nuts and bolts of engaging our isolated urban and rural communities in the sustainable food movement.” Its seeks “to inspire leaders to knit new and diverse networks” and “lay the groundwork for more concrete, inclusive and effective collaboration in the sustainable food and farming movement,” according to its website http://www.slowfoodnation.org.

The organizers expect “the clash of ideas, critical thinking from incisive minds, and inspiring dialog.” The Changemakers Day emerged from a February Town Hall meeting composed of people from SFN and Roots of Change, a San Francisco co-sponsor of SFN.

Panels include the following: “Rising Seas, Shrinking Catch;” “Triple-Bottom Line,” referring to social, environmental, and financial return to investors; “Preserving the Land Base;” “Ensuring Diversity;” “Nutrition for All: Improving Community Health;” “Rich Diet, Poor Communities;” “Going Local;” “Help Wanted: 50 Million New Farmers;” and “Reframing the Slow Food Conversation” to work more for social justice.

“I’ll be a panelist on Changemakers Day,” explained Steve Schwartz, while selling mushrooms from his New Carpati Farm at the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market. “More people are thinking about what they eat these days. Passing by McDonalds my four-year-old says, ‘That’s junk food. It’s bad for you.’”

Watching Schwartz and other farmers at the market talk about their crops, one can see that they are creating food-based relationships. “I’m proud to be a small part of this movement with a vision for a better food system. It can help activate people to work to change food policies.”

Food, after all, is much more than something you just eat. It has traditionally drawn families, friends, and communities together. Agri-culture is at the base of culture. The preparation and sharing of food and drink creates and sustains culture.

“I went to Slow Food Nation’s parent, Terra Madre in Italy,” explained the manager of the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market, Paula Downing. “It was life-changing. I plan to go to Slow Food Nation because I do not want to miss another chance for a life-changing event.”

“Terra Madre was a heart event. It was a thrill to see families still making the food they have made for centuries. You feel this human thing. It was very emotional and made me cry. Some recipes for corn bread, for example, had been handed down for twenty generations,” Downing continued. “I love the apple farmers here in Sonoma County. They are courageous. There is a history here that we need to remember.”

“Slow Food is an opportunity to re-connect with our food and local growers and to understand the plight our planet is in. Our immunity and the immune system of the Earth are linked; building from here is a source of our healing,” explained Ana Stayton of Golden Nectar Farm. “It helps create a sense of what real nourishment is. It brings farmers, children, and the community back into the food system, rather than leaving it in the hands of large corporations. Slow Food encourages people to grow and cook their own food and remember the pleasure in that.”

“Being at Terra Madre was a powerful bonding experience,” Stayton added. “It was intense being around people from over 150 countries in their traditional dress who have this common bond and language of the land, growing food, preserving local food cultures, preparing, serving and nourishing others.”

“I discovered Tierra Vegetables last December while shopping,” Mary Killian explained near the Slow Food table. “They have a delicious heritage bean. They so inspired me that I bought them as Christmas presents and included information about Slow Food.” Slow Food also provides heritage turkeys from Sonoma County, one of its most active chapters.

Networking is common at Slow Food events. One grower at the Sebastopol market, Deborah Ramelli-Toth of Gratitude Gardens, was proudly carrying a couple dozen free-range eggs, though she has no chickens. “I traded them for tomatoes, of which I have many,” she explained. She also made arrangements to share her canning equipment with a friend, Deb Kindy, who lives nearby in another town.

Waters spoke about the need to do something with all the food that is wasted, “We need to do more foraging and gleaning. Lots of food is wasted on the ground which is very edible.”

On the land where Ramelli-Toth lives there will be a Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple Slow Dinner the week before SFN, hosted by the Culinary Underground and Voluptuous Smoke under the apple trees at Nana Mae’s orchard. According to the invitation the Gravs “have a long history yet are mostly ignored by the culinary mainstream.” It adds, “Eating is a political act. Eat your view!”

“We’ve been writing a declaration and petition calling for a new national food policy,” explained Michael Dimock at the SFN table at the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market on July 27. Dimock has chaired Slow Food USA, been active in California Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF), and is president of Roots of Change. “We need healthy food and agriculture,” Dimock asserted. The declaration will be released Aug. 28 and will include a preamble, set of principles, and call to action.

The August 28 National Congress is composed of 300 delegates who represent the 16,000 U.S. members of the international Slow Food Movement, which has over 86,000 members in more than 100 countries. They are organized into what internationally are called convivium and are beginning to be called chapters here in the U.S., where there are around 200.

The Congress takes place every four years. Participants will engage in peer-to-peer networking and in leadership training and professional development. They will also vote on revisions to the National Statue. This year, for the first time, 35 Slow Food in Schools projects leaders will meet to discuss their garden-to-table efforts.

“When kids grow and cook their own food, they all want to eat it,” Waters explained from her experiences with edible education programs. “They want an interactive education. They are happy to be in the garden. Kids are not just hungry for food. They are hungry for people to take care of them and for nature.”

Direct democracy is important to the Slow Food Movement. When asked about the leadership of the Russian River Slow Food chapter in Sonoma County, Paula Shatkin explained that they have a leadership team of eleven persons, who do not have a hierarchy.

(Shepherd Bliss, sbliss@hawaii.edu, has run the Kokopelli Farm in Northern California since l992 and currently teaches at Sonoma State University. His writing on agropsychology and agrotherapy are scheduled for various books during 2009.)

see

Sustainable Food (UCLA Lecture) + Homegrown Revolution

Gardening

Food

Time for Action Against Monsanto By Siv O’Neall

Dandelion Salad

Updated: July 30, 2008: Correction made to the beginning quote and endnote.

By Siv O’Neall
axisoflogic.com
Jul 26, 2008

“Its [Monsanto’s] objective is to control all the world’s food production.”- Attributed to anti-GMO activist in Paraguay**:

The French documentary that pulls the covers off all the Monsanto lies, The World According to Monsanto, is now available for sale in English. This long-awaited film by French filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin is now available in the US!

Go to Seeds Of Deception and you will get further information at the Institute for Responsible Technology.

The moment has come when we might finally be able to deliver a deadly blow to the biotech industry. The giant Monsanto corporation is in the lead when it comes to selling and making huge profits from GMO seeds, pesticides and fertilizers.

These are toxic products that are right now in the process of ruining the earth’s ecosystems. They are also in the food we eat, since we are the unknowing guinea pigs for this catastrophic experiment, callously engineered by the biotech companies. We are kept ignorant because GM food is sold without proper labelling. GM cultures are replacing biological and small-scale farming by giant monocultures of genetically modified crops that have clearly verified health hazards, from cancer to skin diseases.

Only through infiltration of agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) by high-level Monsanto employees has this gigantic corporation managed to make its way unhindered to an already well-on-the-way take-over of the world’s agriculture.

While the biotech corporations make billions, small farmers are forced to leave their land, move to city slums where they slowly starve to death with their families. Many commit suicide when they are so deeply in debt to these biotech sharks that they see no way out of their misery.

Read ‘The Monoculture of the Mind about Dr Vandana Shiva, based in Delhi, India.

The moment for action has arrived. Movements are afoot in the world, and not just in India, such as Letter From Langdon: Talking Seeds and Freedom at Mark Twain State Park

Also see Linn Cohen-Cole: “During a world food crisis, Monsanto just raised the price of its corn seed $100 a bag.”

The right to food is one of the most basic human rights. Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, says:

In a world overflowing with riches, it is an outrageous scandal that more than 852 million people suffer hunger and malnutrition and that every year over 6 million children die of starvation and related causes. We must take urgent action now.

Jean Ziegler, April 2008

** At the time of publication, this quote was attributed to a high-level Monsanto spokesman. We have since learned this is incorrect; the words were those of an anti-GMO activist in Paraguay speaking about Monsanto. We cannot verify that this is Monsanto’s policy. Siv O’Neall and Axis of Logic regret the error. – Editor, Axis of Logic – July 29, 2008

Siv O’Neall is an Axis of Logic columnist, based in France. She can be reached at siv@axisoflogic.com

Read the Biography and Additional Articles by Axis Columnist, Siv O’Neall.

Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com

This material is available for republication as long as reprints include verbatim copy of the article in its entirety, respecting its integrity. Reprints must cite the author and Axis of Logic as the original source including a “live link” to the article. Thank you!

see

The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see (video)

The Real News Network: The World According to Monsanto

Will the World Survive GM Cultures and the Damage to the Earth’s Eco-Systems?

The Corporations – Killers of Democracy By Siv O’Neall

Patent For a Pig (vid) + Monsanto files patent for new invention: the pig (2005)

William Clinton & Monsanto – a Team for Mutual Profit

Letter to Hillary about Monsanto connections (02.03.08)

How to Address Humanity’s Global Crises? By Vandana Shiva

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see (article + vid clip)

GMO

Monsanto

Will the World Survive GM Cultures and the Damage to the Earth’s Eco-Systems?

Dandelion Salad

by Siv O’Neall
axisoflogic.com
Jun 13, 2008, 04:49

Monsanto and the other major biotech companies – Syngenta, Bunge, Cargill, etc. – are all set on owning the world’s food supply. Monsanto is by far the leader in this nightmare of destroying organic agriculture and millennia-old biodiversity.

They have no respect whatsoever for the lives and the livelihood of farmers or, for that matter, any concern for the people who are exposed to severe health hazards from eating genetically modified foods. Corporate profit is all that counts.

The greatest long-lasting danger from GMOs is the destruction of the earth’s eco-systems – the degradation of the soil, the depletion of water resources and the proliferation of pests that were until now barely known, since they were kept under control by the natural balance of predatory insects keeping those that are harmful to the crops from having their potentially damaging effect. More later about this natural equilibrium.

The bio-tech industries have taken a big and dangerous step towards destroying the earth as it has been known for thousands of years. Organic agriculture, biodiversity and natural pest control have made the earth a place for sustainable farming for millennia. However, at this point of delicate balance for the earth’s survival, bio-tech corporations want to put an end to everything that is natural in order to make short-term profit from huge monocultures of the genetically modified products that they are falsely marketing as our saviors from world hunger and poverty. [1]

India is one country that has been severely hit by the bio-tech industry with accompanying disasters.

What follows after the farmers change over to GMO seeds after millennia of planting and making a livelihood in organic farming is a horror story of bad harvests, huge debts, increased costs for herbicides and fertilizers (in spite of the companies’ promises of lower costs), and the suicides of thousands of farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala – among the Indian states that are hit the worst.

This has been going on for decades and if it were not for a lot of activism being focused on this problem, there is no chance that anything would change, since the corporations are tied in firmly with the governments in the heavy-handed corporatism that rules the world today. The farmers are lured into buying the GM seeds because of low-interest loans and obscene propaganda about giant harvests, less work and lower costs. Bio-tech PR claims there is no need for pesticides and less need for fertilizers, all of which has proved to be inaccurate. Added to this, these seeds are not adjusted to the eco-systems where they are being planted. They frequently need more water than is available and the results are disastrous.

One woman is in the forefront of the fight against the bio-tech industry. Her name is Vandana Shiva and she is based in Delhi.

Dr. Vandana Shiva, a former particle physicist, has for the past three decades done more than anyone else as an activist to attract the attention of the world to the deadly corporate horror story of genetically modified products. She attacks the problem from all angles, educating and organizing protest demonstrations through her organization Navdanya.

Navdanya means “nine seeds”, and is a movement promoting diversity – fighting against the privatization of water, campaigning against Basmati biopiracy and generally leading a fight for the rights of rural farmers to a decent livelihood, uncompromised through biopiracy such as is taking place in India and all over the world. Biodiversity, the way farmers have been cultivating the land for millennia is her central argument and monocultures at the giant industrial farms are her principal enemy. She talks about food fascism and the bio-tech industry see her as their most prominent enemy in their vicious attempt of controlling the world’s food supply.

Vandana Shiva says on her Navdanya website:

“When I found that dominant science and technology served the interests of [the] powerful, I left academics to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), a participatory, public interest research organisation.

“When I found global corporations wanted to patent seeds, crops or life forms, I started Navdanya to protect biodiversity, defend farmers’ rights and promote organic farming.

“Navdanya/RFSTE’s journey over the past two decades has taken us into creating markets for farmers and promoting tasty, healthy, high quality food for consumers. We have connected the seed to the kitchen, biodiversity to gastronomy. And now we have joined hands with Slow Food to celebrate the quality and cultural diversity of our food.”

SIU [2] magazine writes about Vandana Shiva:

“In fact, listening to her may make you rethink many of the world’s established social and political paradigms.

“For example, the generally acknowledged argument that the Green Revolution, at the very least, led to an increase in food production is one of them. ‘No, it did not increase production. Wheat and rice production increased, not the overall food production,’ argues Shiva, and launches into a lecture that concludes that whatever increase there was had nothing whatsoever to do with the Green Revolution, and that overall it has been a disaster for agriculture and food security in India.”

The Mealy Bug, the deadly gift from Monsanto

The latest horror news on GMOs is the Mealy Bug that has been said to be “the deadly gift from Monsanto to Vidarbha, set to destroy all crops and plants”. Vidarbha is the eastern part of Maharashtra state, in western India. It is India’s most developed and urbanized state.

In a press note Kishor Tiwari, President of ‘Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti’ – a farmers advocacy group – writes that the Mealy Bug is a virus that is imported with the Bt Cotton sold by multinational corporation Monsanto. In the coming summer season it will have an effect on a larger area covering almost all crops and next year it will be set to destroy not only cotton crops but all other food crops as well.

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) has urged the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to ban Monsanto Bt. Cotton seeds in the agrarian crisis that has hit West Vidarbha. This is of the most urgent importance in order to save more than 3 million distressed and debt-trapped Vidarbha cotton farmers.

The London based Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) posts the following from Ram Kalaspurkar, organic farmer, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association, Yavatmal, Maharashtra, India

“I am an organic farmer residing at Yavatmal in the state of Maharashtra. Our organisation, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association, has been propagating organic farming since 1994. We have been helped a lot by Dr Vandana Shiva. She was the first person to tell us about terminators. Right now, we are working for her organisation Navdanya.”

ISIS on their web site has published a letter from Ram Kalaspurkar who refers to a study where they have found that ‘Organic Cotton Beats Bt Cotton in India’. They firmly recommend a return to organic cotton, saying that Bt cotton is a trap that has to be avoided. In the article published by ISIS there are photos of plants infested by mealy bugs.

All the infested plots had the Bollgard label, which is supposed to control pests. It is made clear that the mealy bugs have never been found in the region before BT cotton seeds were introduced. (The mealy bug had, however, been found in China two years earlier.)

After the death of the cotton plants, the bug goes over to nearby plants and it has already shifted to Congress weed and many other weeds and plants in fields close by.

The Monsanto website claims:

“Bollgard II technology offers cotton growers efficient, effective pest control with fewer pesticide applications than in conventional cotton crops.”

This is just one example of what has proved to be the totally false propaganda pumped out from Monsanto.

Rhea Gala reports from Andhra Pradesh – from VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI (the following quoted passages are excerpted from the same VJAS source)

“In the fertile regions of Andhra Pradesh ‘white gold’ monocultures of the high-yielding hybrids of ‘Green Revolution’ cotton had turned the state into the pesticide capital of the world even before the advent of genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton. Now, however, the revolution is turning full circle as more and more farmers are opting for low input organic methods that are healthier and economically far more rewarding.”

The message is now

“Return to Organic Cotton and Avoid the Bt Cotton Trap
No more debt, pesticides and suicides for Indian cotton farmers who avoid Bt-cotton and regain livelihood, health, independence and peace of mind with organic methods.”

Several Non-Governmental Organizations are working in many villages promoting non-pesticide management (NPM). The government has until now supported high-chemical-input cotton production at national and state level and this has sent the wrong messages to farmers. GM cotton is falsely promoted as the answer to reducing pesticide use, and it is one of many reasons why farmers are giving in to the pressure to grow GM cotton.

“Farmers initially saw the system of industrial production as timesaving and requiring far less knowledge of soils and pests; however it soon proved to be a relentless treadmill. It degraded the soil, depleted scarce water resources and proliferated cotton pests beyond the farmers’ worst nightmares, as both yield and profit progressively diminished.”

Research backs up the case for NPM and organic cotton.

A report entitled “Bt cotton vs. Non Pesticidal Management of cotton: Findings of a study by the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture 2004-05 compares Bt and NPM cotton in Andhra Pradesh.”

The findings are unequivocally in favor of organic cotton. There are vast numbers of beneficial insects that get killed off from GM Bt cotton. Those insects are predators that attack and kill off most of the harmful insects and pests.

“It reports conclusively that Bt cotton is more prone to pests and diseases and that beneficial insects are more prevalent on NPM cotton. It also reports that the cost of pest management of Bt cotton is 690 percent higher than in NPM farming systems and that seed cost of Bt cotton is 355 percent higher than conventional varieties (‘Organic cotton beats Bt Cotton in India’ SiS 27)”.

Recreating the natural balance of predators and pests

“The skill of managing pests without recourse to synthetic pesticide requires knowledge of life cycle and behaviour, vigilance, an armoury of pest specific deterrents, and a healthy community of natural predators of pests. To control pests such as the spotted bollworm, American bollworm, tobacco caterpillar, pink bollworm, aphids, jassids, thrips, white fly and mites, each of which is capable of causing between 30 and 50 percent damage to a crop, natural predators are the most effective year after year.”

Conclusion

Vandana Shiva [3] by no means limits her activism to Bt cotton. She sets as her goal to recreate natural biodiversity in rice and all the other crops that the bio-tech companies are trying to take over with their GM seeds and products. There exist 100,000 varieties of rice evolved by Indian farmers and the diversity and the ‘perenniality’ have to be kept alive if we want to save our environment. Genetically modified seeds will lead to increased use of agri-chemicals and will thus increase environmental problems as well as human health problems.

Vandana Shiva addresses principally the dangers of GM farming in India, but the danger to the environment and to the livelihood of millions of people is obviously world-wide. Biodiversity represents the sustenance and livelihood base of small farmers all over the world and a sane environment is naturally the key to the continuation of healthy lives for the billions of people in the world.

Footnotes:

[1] The problem is global, but strong resistance to GMO seeds and foods contaminated by GMOs is taking place in Europe. Corporate-friendly governments are trying to follow in the steps of U.S. pro-GM policies. The European Commission is ambivalent on the issue, but the people of Europe represented by numerous NGOs are leading the fight against this scourge of industrial GM farming in order to save the world from the dangers to people’s health and from the destruction of the earth’s eco-systems.

See report from ISIS – “Dr. Mae-Wan Ho warns that further indulgence in GMOs will severely damage our chances of surviving the food crisis and global warming; organic agriculture and localised food systems are the way forward”

2] The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU) is a Norwegian agency that promotes international cooperation in education and research.

[3] For more information on Vandana Shiva and her activism, see Monocultures, Monopolies, Myths and the Masculinisation of Agriculture

© Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com


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