Friday, November 22, 2013

GMOs for Profit: The Missing Context of Industrial Agriculture

By Curt Ries, Truthout | Op-Ed 

It is not what GMOs are that should demand so much attention but, rather, what they do: They lead to corporate control over the food system.
An editorial in Science from September 2013 has come out in strong defense of GMO biotechnology, criticizing the destruction of experimental GM Golden Rice fields in the Philippines by protesters, or "vandals." Since then, the blogosphere has erupted with condemners and defenders once again accusing each other of ascribing to bad science, being ideologically driven and profiteering from their respective movements.

But while the narrow debate rages on about the inherent safety or harm of GMOs to humans and the environment, the more fundamental issue of the specific role GMOs play within the greater context of a globalized and industrial agriculture is left without comment.

The editorial, titled "Standing Up for GMOs," is sponsored by 11 scientists and focuses on the potential utility of Golden Rice, ultimately using it to portray GMO technology in general as a valuable tool that society should use because of its "potential to save millions of impoverished fellow humans from needless suffering and death."

This type of narrow analysis, focusing almost singularly on the dormant ability of GM crops to feed and nutritionally supplement the world's growing population is astoundingly selective and therefore significantly misleading. It is a far cry from seeing how GMO technology actually functions within the broader framework of industrial agriculture, a model of production that is completely focused on profits, efficiency and yields, rather than the health of people and places.

Ignorance of this broader framework is revealed in the editorial when its writers claim that "precisely because they benefit farmers, the environment, and consumers, GM crops have been adopted faster than any other agricultural advance in the history of humanity." Although it is certainly true that GM crops have been "adopted" rapidly the world over in recent decades, it is a mistake and a deception to claim that this is because of supposed benefits to farmers, consumers or the environment. A look at the general characteristics and history of agriculture in the past half century quickly sets the record straight.

Farmers and Consumers
It is difficult to fathom at this time how GMO technology could be construed to be a boon to farmers. For decades, the American countryside has been gutted of its farmers and farming communities by the relentless march of agribusiness' imperatives to produce more food, more efficiently, whatever the human or environmental costs. In his book Deep Economy, Bill McKibben drives the point home: "Since the end of World War II, America has lost a farm every half hour. … The number of farmers has fallen from half the American population to about 1 percent." [1]

This mammoth feat of rural Diaspora has been achieved by replacing diverse small family farms with homogenous industrial monocultures as the basic unit of agricultural production. Monocultures are (usually enormous) fields or farms that grow only one thing at a time, with minimal crop rotation implemented between seasons, maintained by tractor power and high doses of chemical inputs. GMO technology has played no small role in facilitating and capitalizing on the transition to monoculture, because GM crops are most often genetically manipulated to do one of two things: a) resist potent broad-spectrum chemical herbicides, like Monsanto's Roundup, which is designed to kill any and all non-modified plant life, or b) harbor bacterial genes that produce toxins lethal to pests that consume the GM crop.

Both of these biotechnological innovations provide invaluable services to the industrial model of agriculture because they remedy - in the short term - inherent vulnerabilities of monoculture production. Continual tilling, watering and fertilizing, as well as leaving broken soil bare without cover, invariably will lead to weed problems. Similarly, planting the same one or two crops in constant repetition invariably will lead to pest and disease problems, something diverse farms with a deliberate crop rotation strategy easily can mitigate. Thus GMO biotechnology, as it is most commonly applied, is wrapped and bound within the context of the industrial monoculture, which by its own inherent qualities of lacking diversity, eroding, compacting and depleting soils, and requiring enormous quantities of petroleum for fuel and chemicals, is deeply destructive and unsustainable. These monocultures have forcibly replaced the energy and intelligence of farmers with the energy of oil, the insights of biotechnology and the shortsighted profit-seeking of agribusiness, resulting in millions of farmers being driven off the land by capitalist economic imperatives for growth, efficiency and maximum production.

As a further insult to farmers, GMO biotechnology has evolved along parallel lines with a set of legal protections that have codified GM seeds as intellectual property, that is, as the patented products of the GM seed and chemical companies that developed their genetic modifications. These multinational corporations make enormous profits selling farmers their GM seeds year after year and yet more profits off the royalties charged for the use of their seed at the expense of farmers, who now cannot legally save their own seed, making them entirely dependent upon a private corporation for the most fundamental part of their livelihoods.

This perverts a tradition central to agriculture, which has existed since its inception: seed-saving. Farmers, saving seeds from plants that displayed favorable traits and replanting those seeds season after season, have developed diverse varieties specific to the climatic and socio-cultural needs of nearly every bioregion on Earth. GMO patents, along with the economic pressures of a modern market that demands high yields at the expense of diversity, effectively have ended this tradition for the vast majority of farmers working in industrially developed nations, and are making great headway in accomplishing the same in the "developing" world. This undermining of seed diversity renders agriculture radically more vulnerable and less resilient to ecological and climatic variations, thus endangering global food supply and narrowing the component crops of that supply to what is profitable rather than what is healthy or culturally and ecologically appropriate.

Finally, it is difficult to imagine the benefits farmers and consumers may enjoy from consuming herbicide residues like those from Monsanto's Roundup (developed specifically for Roundup Ready GM seeds), with its active ingredient glyphosate being strongly linked to an increased rate of birth defects and with even one of its "inert" ingredients now shown to be capable of killing human cells. For farmers and farmhands, brief exposure to herbicides containing glyphosate may result in minor or moderate symptoms such as eye, skin, nose and throat irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, while chronic exposure may be connected to increased rates of cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Also difficult to imagine is the benefit consumers enjoy as they are fed increasing amounts of cheap, heavily processed GM "foods," often made up of little more than various chemical recombinations of GM corn, soy and wheat that are remarkably and obviously deficient in the various micro and macro nutrients required for human health.

But it is not just nutrient deficiencies that render GM foods inadequate or even dangerous to health, but also nutrient excess. The overwhelmingly abundant quantities of sodium (salt) found in processed foods, which accounts for about 75 percent of our total sodium intake, is likely to result in high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

On top of salt, there is sugar. With the glut of cheap GM corn that our industrial food system relies upon, food scientists have created high-fructose corn syrup, which, because it is so cheap (because subsidized corn is so cheap), is put in just about every processed food and drink one may come across, to make it sweet. The result is that Americans are consuming far more sugar than they ever have before, increasing their chance of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and more.

The Environment: Soil, Water and Air
The claim that GM crops have benefited the environment is perhaps even more absurd than that they are a boon for farmers or a blessing to consumers. The negative environmental effects of industrial monocultures are staggering, radically endangering the planet's soil, water and air.
By compacting and eroding soils with heavy tractors and machinery, destroying soil microbial and invertebrate life via the spraying of toxic chemicals (again, often used in explicit association with GM crops) and replacing organically derived fertilizers that would replenish the soil's organic matter with synthetic fertilizers that over time negatively alter soil composition, monoculture farming systematically depletes the soil, a process that ultimately ends in desertification.

To summarize with some figures taken from John Jeavon's How to Grow More Vegetables*:
"Current agricultural practices reportedly destroy approximately 6 pounds of soil for each pound of food produced. United States croplands are losing topsoil about 18 times faster than the soil formation rate. This loss is unsustainable. In fact, worldwide, only about 33 to 49 years' worth of farmable soil remains." [2]
That point bears repeating: This loss is unsustainable, for the soil, for the ecosystems of which they are part, for the planet, which those ecosystems collectively form, and for us humans, who live and thrive or fail on that planet.

The damage done to the Earth's soil as a result of industrial agriculture is closely tied to the contamination of its waters. Erosion caused by excessive tilling with heavy machinery, exacerbated further by bringing under the plow more lands adjacent to streams and rivers in the attempt to maximize efficiency, means that mammoth amounts of topsoil, synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides are being dumped into Earth's waterways, wreaking havoc on aquatic ecosystems on their path to ocean, where they continue to cause environmental harm.

Even if soils are not tilled too often and farmers leave ample space between croplands and waterways, the chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are so heavily used and relied upon by industrial monocultures will still end up polluting watersheds. This is because most of modern agriculture’s contribution to water pollution is what is called "non-point source pollution," that is, pollution that is not traceable to a determinate source, precisely because the source is broad and diffuse. The water from rainfall and snowmelts run through and over fields, creating runoff that deposits chemical fertilizers and pesticides, as well as natural pollutants, into rivers, lakes, aquifers, estuaries and, eventually, the sea. Effects of this runoff include serious health problems for humans and livestock who eat the crops irrigated or sprayed with contaminated water and the destabilization of watershed-based ecosystems.

Air pollution is axiomatic to industrial agriculture. Heavy applications of chemical pesticides, usually sprayed from planes or tractors, results in pesticide drift, the movement of pesticide droplets to areas outside the field, including nearby neighborhoods and wildlife habitat, where they endanger the health of humans and animals who may breath in the droplets or absorb them through their skin.
Furthermore, monoculture operations help drive global warming and escalate climate catastrophes by emitting massive quantities of three of the most common greenhouse gases into the atmosphere: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, which together help make agriculture responsible for up to one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

On the farm, tractors spew tons of CO2 into the air as they make pass after pass over immense seas of commodity crops, plowing, disking, mowing, tilling, cultivating, planting, spraying, harvesting and applying fertilizers. Manufacturing those fertilizers for farmers across the globe accounts for up to 575 megatons of CO2-equivilant emissions per year. And of course the fleet of transport vehicles and masses of processing machinery and refrigeration needed to prepare and carry the harvest to the distant corners of globe emit a formidable amount of CO2.

Most of the methane produced by agriculture is a result of the normal digestive processes of farm animals and thus may seem of little concern to an analysis of industrial agriculture. But it is precisely because meat and dairy production have become industrialized, fixed upon objectives of efficiency and profitability, that we have seen small pasture- and animal-oriented farms almost disappear, replaced by contained animal feeding operations (CAFOs), more commonly known as factory farms. CAFOs completely depend upon the cheap GM corn and soy surpluses of the monoculture system to inexpensively and unnaturally fatten the animals for slaughter. The result is a meat industry that can profitably sell huge quantities of its product at artificially low prices, kindling further demand for cheap meat, which in turn justifies and encourages further factory farm production. Meanwhile, the severely mistreated animals are spewing unnumbered tons of methane into the air, while their waste accumulates into a toxic mass, which itself releases yet more methane, as well as nitrous oxide, another potent greenhouse gas.

Nitrous oxide is released into the atmosphere mainly as a result of applying synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to farmland to supplement soils being systematically depleted by industrial monocultures growing GM commodity crops like corn, soy, wheat, rice and cotton.

The dominant conversation about GMOs is missing the point. To speak about GMO technology as such - its inherent harms, risks, or safety - might be an interesting and important discussion to have, but it is certainly not the most immediately relevant to our moral and political discourse. It is not what GMOs are that should demand so much attention buy, rather, what they do, what they allow and facilitate.

In our system of industrial agriculture, their role is unambiguous. To help destructive monocultures become even more productive and, thus, even more destructive to soils and communities; to make farmers increasingly dependent upon and indebted to profit-obsessed corporations; to put at risk the diversity and resilience of our food supply; to facilitate the propagation of disease from agricultural pollutants and unhealthy foods; to contaminate ecosystems and contribute to climate change.
These are the real and present functions of GMO biotechnology. They are not saviors of the poor and the hungry, nor are they gifts to farmers, consumers or the land. They are tools to grow biotech profits and consolidate corporate control over the food system.

[1] Bill McKibben, Deep Economy, p. 54, 64
[2] John Jeavons, How to Grow More Vegetables*, p. 1-2. Figures "developed from U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics," from P. Buringh, "Availability of Agricultural Land for Crop and Livestock Production" and "statistics from the United Nations" (p. 13)

 "Copyright, Reprinted with permission"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Five Reasons GMOs Must Be Labeled!

On Tuesday, residents of Washington State will vote on I 522- an initiative which would make Washington the first state to require the mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms -  GMOs.* Over 340,000 in the state signed a petition to get I 522 on the ballot. 

Over 90% of Americans want GM food to be labeled. Naturally, they want to know what they are eating and feeding their families. 

In Washington, 66% were in favor of labeling, until Monsanto and friends launched a $22 million campaign to frighten, confuse and misinform the public. Sadly, their endless, negative advertising is narrowing the gap between those for and against labeling. We still have a narrow lead, but time is short! Please share our five reasons GMOs Must Be Labeled - Yes on 522!

1. Three Billion Have the Right to Know if They Are Eating GMOs, But We Do Not

The rest of the industrialized world has demanded and won the right to know what they are eating and feeding their families, but in the US, we are kept in the dark, not only about what is in our food, but also about the consequences of eating GMOs.

2. Outside Big Corporations are Funding No on 522

Only four individuals, giving a total of $500, have given to No on 522. The rest of No on 522 donors are corporations, like Monsanto (that has contributed close to $10 million to deny you your right to know in CA and WA). The No side's average donation is 20,000 times larger than the average donation for labeling. Over $2.6 million given to Yes on 522 came from Washington State. Only $500 of over $22 million raised by No on 522 came from the state! Over 13,000 people; farmers, doctors, teachers, business owners, moms and dads and regular folks like you and me have contributed to Yes on 522.

3. All the Claims Made by No on 522 Have Proven False 

They say it will raise grocery prices, but labeling laws have been instituted in 64 countries with no price raises. They say labeling will contain misinformation and confuse customers. The biotech/chemical companies and big food manufacturers whose products are filled with GMOs are the ones misinforming and confusing the public. They say it will hurt farmers. That has also been proven false. For a complete debunking of  the myths and misconceptions of I 522 click here.

It really is not surprising the No on 522 is running such a dishonest campaign. Monsanto, one of the largest contributors, has been sued successfully here and abroad for deceptive advertising (they said RoundUp was safe, long after they knew it caused birth defects). Monsanto also tells us GMOs are safe, but they said that about their other products too, like; DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, Aspartame and  Bovine Growth Hormone rBGH. None were. They have infiltrated every level of our government, writing legislation like the Monsanto Protection Act, which is now dead thanks to the public outcry. Also, the Indian High Court has reinstated criminal proceedings against Monsanto for bio-piracy in India. Is this really the company you want to trust with your food? 

4. You Have a Right to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Products that Can Cause Harm. 

Contrary to the claims of the biotech industry, GMOs have NOT been proven safe. Over 200 scientists and physicians just signed a letter saying "there is no scientific consensus on GM safety." There are many animal feeding studies that have shown organ damage, infertility and premature death from eating a GM diet. There have been NO long term, human feeding studies. The only short term, human feeding study showed that GM plant DNA persist in our bodies. No follow-up studies were done.

“Given the scientific evidence at hand, sweeping claims that GM crops are substantially equivalent to, and as safe as, non-GM crops are not justifiable." Prof Elena Alvarez-Buyllla, coordinator of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of Plant Development and Evolution, Institute of Ecology, UNAM, Mexico

5. Processed Foods Have Hidden GMOs   

About 80% of the foods in your grocery store contain GMOs. This is because Monsanto has genetically modified about 90% of the corn, soy, canola, sugar beets and cottonseed in our country and many of these crops, or their derivatives, are found in processed food, ie high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar (if it just says sugar, it is probably beet) cottonseed oil, MSG and many more.  Because they are so prevalent and unlabeled, the typical American consumes nearly 200 pounds of GMOs a year! Since their introduction in 1996, chronic diseases, allergies, obesity, autism, Alzheimer's. Parkinson's and more have all skyrocketed.

The big food companies like Coke, Pepsi, Nestle, Hershey's and more that donated to No on 522 tried to use a money laundering scheme with the Grocery Manufacturers Association to hide their donations (and No on 522 just broke the law again). Supporters of No on 522 know they do not have a popular, or rational argument. You know you have lost when even Fox News runs a segment talking about the dangers of GMOs and the need to label them!

Monsanto cannot have it both ways- they can't say their products are substantially different from conventional crops and therefore require patents, but when it comes to labeling, say they are the same and that we have no choice whether we eat them or not. It is un-American for big corporations to force their products on us without our knowledge. We demand transparency and true freedom of choice. Tell Monsanto, "If you think your products are so great, then label them and let us decide."


*Connecticut and Maine have passed labeling laws, but need other states to also do so, before going into effect. Hudson Valley for No GMOs will be working to pass a GM labeling law in NY in 2014. is spearheading the effort. There are similar bills in about 30 other states. GM labeling is inevitable! Let's start with a win Tuesday in Washington.

 You can help. Make some calls today! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oct 12 March against Monsanto in New Paltz!

The world came together as one yesterday to stand for seed freedom, safe, healthy food and a liveable planet! New Paltz was again well represented with about 200 marching down Main Street to say no to GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the contamination of the world food supply by Monsanto and the biotech industry.

We thank our speakers; Tom Sharrard of, Joel Tyner, Dutchess County Legislator, (aka MC Whitebread!) and Linda Borghi, Abundant Life Farm. Thanks too to Tim Hinter who led us in song. Beth and Barb, who organized the march, also spoke.

It was wonderful to see so many young people in attendance and the level of enthusiasm and passion for creating a non-GMO future was high. Both Tom and Joel spoke of our need to pressure state legislators to back NYS GM Labeling, which Hudson Valley for No GMOs is making a priority. Stay tuned for future actions to make this a reality in 2014! To be on our mailing list send your email to You all sure look great in the photos below!


All photos above by B Upton
This and photos below by Jodiah Jacobs

Thanks to everyone who came! Special thanks to Joe and Russell for helping to set up, to Saul Rozinsky and Tom of the Beacon Sloop Club for bringing the super-duper, solar-powered sound system, to all who volunteered to lead chants and marshal (you did great) and to Gomen Kudasai for the delicious organic samples!

We need help growing this movement. Please invite your friends to like us on Facebook- We need more to join one of the biggest grassroots movements in history to take our food back!

Other marches around the world-

Please support the Supporters and Sponsors of Our Marches against Monsanto and of Hudson Valley for No GMOs!

Barthels Farm
Climate Action Coalition
Evolutionary Organics Farm
Four Winds Farm
Gomen Kudasai
High Falls Food Co-operative
Hudson Valley Seed Library
Huguenot Street Farm
Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter
Liberty View Farm
Meadow View Farm
National Organic Coalition
New Paltz Women in Black
Occupy New Paltz
Occupy Poughkeepsie
Occupy Northern Dutchess
Occupy South Ulster
Saunderskill Farm Market
Scarborough Fair
Taliaferro Farms
Slow Roots Farm
The Cheese Plate
Tweefontein Herb Farm
Veterans for Peace, Hudson Valley Chapter
WORD- Women Organized to Resist and Defend
Beth and Barbara of Hudson Valley for NO GMOS

Photos on the national MAM site from all over- we are represented! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Five Reasons to March against Monsanto this Saturday!

1. Monsanto Harms You and Your Family
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine prescribes a non-GMO (genetically modified organism) diet saying "several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption".
The consensus of scientists at the FDA in the 1990's was that GM food could produce allergies, new toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems and that they required further study before being brought to market. They were overruled by a political appointee named Michael Taylor, who before writing the FDA policy on GM foods (saying they were the same as any other food) was an attorney for Monsanto. After his FDA stint, he was rewarded by being made vice-president of Monsanto, He is now our "food safety czar". Because of corruption in high places, GMOs are now in over 75% of the foods in our supermarkets.

There has never been a long term feeding study on the effects of eating GM foods on humans. Not one. In animal feeding studies, GMOs have been linked to organ damage, infertility and premature death (65 health risks of GM foods).

Fact: GMOs have been put in our food for the past 17 years with NO studies to see if they are safe if consumed for longer than three months.

Last year, for the first time, researchers looked at the consequences of eating a GMO diet over a lifetime. The study by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen was published in the peer-reviewed Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal.

The landmark Séralini study showed that rats fed GM, RoundUp Ready corn had an increase in mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage and that 50% of the males and 70% of the females died prematurely.  In Séralini's two year study, the damage did not start showing up until the rats had eaten GMOs for four months, one month after Monsanto's studies all abruptly end.

As they always do, Monsanto and industry-linked GM proponents attacked Séralini viciously, but their criticisms have proven false. For instance, they criticized the type of rat Séralini used, but he actually used the same rats used by Monsanto in their studies. More are speaking out about the orchestrated campaigns of harassment directed at independent scientists and hundreds of scientists and academics signed a letter praising Seralini's methodology and results. Also the  European "FDA" recently reversed course and said future experiments about the long-term effects of GMOs on animal health should adopt Séralini's methodology, "affirming that the study is, in fact, valid."

Sadly, the effects of eating GMOs for a lifetime are not pretty and cannot be ignored.

2.  Monsanto Harms Our Earth
Monsanto's RoundUp is Poisoning Our Land, Air, Water and Us.

You know you are in trouble when glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp, is found in 60 to 100% of air and rain samples in farming regions in Mississippi and Iowa. Imagine that - it is so prevalent that it permeates the air we breathe and poisons the rain. Glyphosate is a known endocrine disruptor and has been linked to birth defects since the 1980's. Our country is drenched in this herbicide. It kills everything in its path, except for the RoundUp Ready plants that are genetically modified to survive massive amounts of the toxic herbicide and not die. They are left standing, but are less vital, nutritionally inferior and have higher concentrations of RoundUp  that is in the plant itself and cannot be washed off ! It destroys beneficial organisms and promotes virulent ones in the soil and in you.

Monsanto likes to repeat the lie that GM crops reduce pesticide use, but because of the explosion of super weeds and super bugs that have grown resistant to glyphosate, GM crops have actually increased pesticide use by over 400 million pounds and more lethal pesticides are now required. We are now spraying the main ingredient of Agent Orange (2,4-D) on our food and the biotech industry has created Agent Orange Ready crops! * Monsanto has already planted "ground breaker" demonstration plots of 2.4-D and dicamba resistant crops. Both 2.4-D and dicamba are highly volatile and are known to drift (up to 100 miles!) putting fruit, nuts and vegetables at risk for severe damage.

"In April, a peer-reviewed report from MIT linked glyphosate, to gastrointestinal diseases, obesity, allergies, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infertility, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, depression, autism and more. That it is linked to so many diseases shows the systemic effect it has on our bodies. Glyphosate attacks good bacteria and allows pathogens and their toxins to overgrow and take over. This causes chronic inflammation that leads to chronic disease." Hudson Valley for No GMOs 6/24/13

3. Monsanto Harms Our Farmers and Our Communities
"Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use and cannot sell." North Dakota farmer, Tom Wiley

Monsanto has been aggressively suing family farmers in America since the mid-1990s. About 1,000 farmers have been sued for alleged violations of Monsanto's patented seed technology, even if their crops were contaminated by seed and pollen drift of GM crops from neighboring farms. Monsanto's dreaded "seed police" have been known to show up in "the middle of farmer's fields, making accusations, brandishing surveillance photos and demanding to see the farmer's private records or to be handed over their hard drives." For more on Monsanto's ruthless war on small farmers- read Vanity Fair's, Monsanto's Harvest of Fear

We also can learn from the hard lessons experienced by communities around the world that have suffered the devastation that accompanies GM crops.

In India, over 250,000 farmers, most of them growing Monsanto's Bt cotton, have committed suicide. They reached a state of desperation when Monsanto's promises of higher yields failed. They also became debt slaves to Monsanto, having to buy GM seeds that increased in cost every year. This is one of the greatest, under-reported tragedies of our time.

Monsanto and others in the biotech industry have been gobbling up seed companies (they control half the seeds in the world) and are now phasing out conventional seeds. In 2009, nearly half of the farmers in Illinois did not have access to non-GE corn. It is next to impossible to find non-GM soy seed in Brazil or South Africa. This has nothing to do with "feeding the world" and everything to do with "maximizing profits at any price".

Argentina provides another cautionary tale. They embraced RoundUp Ready soy in the late 90's and it now covers over half of their cultivated land. "In 2002, two years after the first big harvests of RR soy in the country, residents and doctors in soy producing areas began reporting serious health effects from glyphosate spraying, including high rates of birth defects as well as infertility, stillbirths, miscarriages, and cancers." 

4. Monsanto's Harm Lasts Forever
“If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.” — Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development.
"If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food or a biosphere free of GM. Its a one way choice...once it's made it cannot be reversed." Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development

At a conference in 1999, Arthur Anderson (found guilty of criminal charges in 2002) asked Monsanto executives what an ideal world would look like in 15 to 20 years. The executives replied, a world in which 100% of all commercial seed is genetically modified. And based on Monsanto's lies and predatory business practices, we know they will pursue that goal by hook, or by crook. 

In just over 15 years, they have been able to genetically engineer 90% of US corn, soy, sugar beets, canola and cotton; ingredients that are in virtually all the processed foods you eat and feed your family.  But you don't know, because we are also one of the few industrialized nations on earth that does not label GMOs. 

In 2006, two varieties of GM rice (never approved for cultivation in the US) extensively contaminated the US rice supply. In Canada, organic canola has been destroyed by contamination. In Spain, GM maize is making the existence of organic corn nearly impossible. In Mexico, 150 unique varieties of corn have been contaminated by GM corn and Monsanto has no idea where GM wheat came from in a field in Oregon. To see the growing number of cases of contamination check out the GM Contamination Register.

Monsanto says the co-existence of GM and conventional and organic is "peacefully occurring around the world." What they are really saying is that they are getting closer to their goal of genetically modifying the entire world food supply.
some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.” — Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development.
“If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.” — Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development.
“We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.” — Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicologist

“We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.” — Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicologist
5. We Are the Ones Who Can Stop the Harm Caused by Monsanto
Thanks to activism, the Monsanto Protection Act is dead. Stopping TPP and getting labeling of GMOs in NYS are next on the agenda!

May 25 New Paltz March against Monsanto                                                                                                        B Upton
Last May, the first global March against Monsanto woke the world with a voice over 2 million strong that said we will not allow the poisoning of our food supply! It was exhilarating to see so many in all parts of the world were rising up for food safety, food choice and for an end to RoundUp pollution killing our earth.

About 400 attended the rally and march in New Paltz!  We were especially motivated to make a strong public statement because congress had just anonymously snuck in the "Monsanto Protection Act" in the dead of night, that said Monsanto could plant GM crops even if it was shown they were approved illegally and could cause public or environmental harm.  That was the last straw. Hundreds of thousands alerted Congress that this was not going to be tolerated. Thanks to champions like Senators Merkely D-OR and Mikulski D-MD, it died a quiet death in the Senate on September 27th. Activism works!

The New "Monsanto Protection Act" is the "TPP- The Terrible Plutocratic Plan"
Unfortunately, although it has not gotten as much attention as the "Monsanto Protection Act", The TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership is much worse. Monsanto is heading up the agricultural division of this huge trade treaty which is more about the consolidation of corporate power over all of us rather than trade.

The TPP is a Trojan Horse that gives Monsanto the right to sue any state or country that dares say that GMOs must be labeled. Monsanto, under the TPP, could sue, saying such labeling could hurt their future profits. All cases would go before a panel of three judges, who are corporate attorneys! Guess who wins? The TPP strips the US of its sovereignty, democracy, public safety, environmental protections and more. It must be stopped. The first step is awareness- please read more and share.

TPP the Global Monsanto Protection Act
GMO Labeling and Consumer Protection Under Threat
The TPP- The Terrible Plutocratic Plan in the News

So it is even more urgent than last May that there are strong showings at the Marches against Monsanto here in New Paltz and around the world! Please sign up for our New Paltz Rally and March- this Saturday, 2PM at Peace Park in New Paltz-
You can print our our flier and help spread the word too!

For marches world wide go to

Feel free to make a sign (some will be provided and some can be made there) and if you like, dress up for the march! You can come as an endangered butterfly or bee, a Zombie from eating too many GMOs, a money grubbing Monsanto exec, a pesticide -producing ear of corn- use your imagination and have fun with it! See you there!

*March against Monsanto is teaming up with children of Vietnam Veterans whose fathers were sickened or died from Agent Orange. Just like in Vietnam the suffering continues. The children and grandchildren of the vets suffer higher numbers of birth defects and illnesses. For the first time they are speaking on the same day and all are speaking out against GM foods made by the company that sickened their fathers and hurt them.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

TPP- The Global Monsanto Protection Act

Corporations "are carefully crafting the TPP to insure that citizens of the involved countries have no control over food safety, what they will be eating, where it is grown, the conditions under which food is grown and the use of herbicides and pesticides." Nation of Change 9/13/13

 Fight Back!
"Stop the Global Corporate Coup!
Tuesday, Sept 17, noon
721 Broadway, Kingston 12401
In front of Congressman Gibson's office

All of our efforts to label GMOs could go up in smoke if the Trans Pacific Partnership is passed. This secret, corporate power grab threatens our health, our safety and our very democracy. Nation of Change lays out what we can expect if this corporate coup d'etat is allowed to happen.

"If the TPP is adopted the door will be open wider for human rights and environmental abuse.  Some of the things we should expect to see include:
  • more large scale farming and more monocultures;
  • destruction of local economies;
  • no input into how our food is grown or what we will be eating;
  • more deforestation;
  • increased use of herbicides and pesticides;
  • increased patenting of life forms;
  • more GMO plants and foods; and
  • no labeling of GMOs in food."
That's right. Under TPP, food labels, like labeling GMOs, and even country of origin labels would be considered barriers to trade and banned.

No surprise the person heading agricultural negotiations for TPP is a former Monsanto lobbyist. As consumers begin waking up, demanding to know what they are eating and feeding their families, Monsanto and the biotech industry have found a backdoor way to impose their products on a powerless public.

Under the TPP, a corporation can sue a nation, state or local government for any laws that they say would reduce their future profits. Fracking bans, GMO labeling, laws for consumer protection and food safety and more could all be null and void if TPP becomes the law of our land.

TPP sets up foreign tribunals to challenge laws the multinationals don't like. Corporate attorneys would be the "judges" and their decisions final. If that isn't corporate tyranny, what is? Legislation to protect the environment and public health would open countries to ruinous lawsuits. Such suits are already happening under NAFTA and WTO. They have sky rocketed since 2011 and the US has lost 95% of them. This is already having a chilling effect on legislation designed to protect the environment and public health and safety. Billions in tax payer dollars could be transferred to corporations under TPP. 

TPP is The Global Monsanto Protection Act!
We have to stop it. Please join the thousands of citizens rising up on Tuesday, September 17 to expose the dangers of TPP and to demand that it not be Fast Tracked through Congress! Fast Track, which is being pushed by the Obama administration would usurp the responsibility of Congress to review and amend trade treaties. Obama would sign it and Congress would only be allowed an up or down vote, with little debate, no public hearings and  no ability to make amendments. We need our Congressman to vote No Fast Track for TPP!

Please join us Tuesday in front of the Congressman's office. I spoke to his office in Washington today. I learned that Rep Gibson is usually for free trade treaties. Unfortunately, "free trade" has come to mean a free for all for multinationals at the expense of the rest of us. We are for Fair Trade that ensures that all have access to decent work, with living wages and that we have a liveable world to pass on to future generations. I mentioned that TPP is a direct threat to the sovereignty of our nation as corporations could override domestic laws. This could be a problem for the Congressman according to the staff person I spoke to -so there is hope that he may be persuaded to say no to Fast Track.

A big turn out is crucial, so we hope you will make a sign and bring your good energy and join us this Tuesday. Most Americans still don't have any idea what is being negotiated in our names that would hurt us on so many levels. We haven't even mentioned the fact that TPP would incentivize the off shoring of millions more American  jobs, increase the costs of medicine, make it harder to regulate banks, ban "Buy American" procurement policies, force the importation of foods that do not meet our food safety standards and more!

Let's expose the TPP to the light and demand our representatives put the brakes on this Terrible Plutocratic Plan! Sign up here- On Facebook, the event page is under "Stop the Corporate Global Coup, Stop the TPP, a Danger to Your Health and Safety"

On a related matter, this past week, the House of Representatives ignored the will of the people and quietly extended the odious Monsanto Protection Act. At the last minute it was slipped into the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for 2013. As you know, the Monsanto Protection Act also undermines our judicial system, by saying courts cannot stop the planting of potentially hazardous GM crops- even if they were approved illegally. Sen Jeff Merkley, D-OR has vowed to fight this "reenactment" that "nullifies court orders that are protecting farmers, the environment and public health".

Many organizations are also taking this on. Sign the petition at the Center for Food Safety and call your representatives through Food Democracy Now! Fred Upton R-MI, (God, I hope we are not related) is introducing a bill that would make it illegal for states to pass laws to label GMOs.

The biotech industry knows public opinion has turned against them- so they are reverting to secret, global deals, sneaky legislative maneuvering and pumping big money into misinformation campaigns. We can stop them. It begins Tuesday in Kingston. Please be there.
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