22 June, 2015

Protest Music

Neil Young's most recent album, “The Monsanto Years” is getting a lot of press for the themes it presents – including some replies from the corporations Young has singled out to criticize, including Starbucks, Monsanto, Walmart and stony silence from Chevron. Starbucks, in it's post-liberal, coffee drinking way, ditched the whole thing by asking for a 'national solution' which is about as likely as USDA or FDA doing anything to actually protect the American people who pay part of their salary – augmented liberally by the companies they have sworn, off camera, to protect.

But Monsanto published a statement on the album that bears some scrutiny because it shows the pattern of their public debate on this and other subjects of interest to any one who eats food:

Many of us at Monsanto have been and are fans of Neil Young,” the company said. “Unfortunately, for some of us, his current album may fail to reflect our strong beliefs in what we do every day to help make agriculture more sustainable. We recognize there is a lot of misinformation about who we are and what we do—and unfortunately several of those myths seem to be captured in these lyrics.”

“... make agriculture more sustainable.” Speaking of myths...

No Myth Here, Move Right Along

Any propaganda machine uses the exact opposite of what is happening to bolster their argument, so it is no surprise that Monsanto uses the term, “more sustainable” in their response. One wonders how in the world they define “sustainable!” Certainly no where near the way I, or millions of others, would define it! The non—myth list:

Use of GE (genetically engineered aka GMO) crops results in:
Less diversity in our food supply inviting disaster and shortages
More pesticide use; more poison in our food supply
Less habitat for wild birds and butterflies, therefore less wildlife
More corporate control over farmers
More corporate control over our food supply
Lower nutrient content in the food we eat
Resting our entire food supply on a non-tested technology
Corruption on an unimaginable scale throughout all levels of our governments
Lawsuits for farmers that do not tow the GE line
Compromise of all alternative food production because GE crops cannot 'peacefully co-exist with GE crops because pollen is spread by natural processes over which the GE producers have no control and do nothing to mitigate the contamination
Distortion of our legal system to protect the usurpers of our national heritage of plant genetics and seed supplies.
Loss of markets for US agricultural products
Bankruptcies of farmers world wide, culminating in suicides by Indian farmers on a scale that is an international scandal.

On the positive side of the ledger, it has made several chemical companies a enough money to bribe politicians throughout the US and in many countries abroad.

Myths Exploded

In some 30 years of being in the market, not one of these corporations has released a product that has any benefit to a consumer – not more nutrition, taste, availability, cost or convenience. All of the GE seeds have only one benefit: to make money for Monsanto and other chemical companies like them that have turned our food world into a jungle of pesticides and destruction. And yet there are a few well-meaning citizens that support them, having bought the propaganda lie about needing GE food to
  • feed the world (we waste 40% of the food grown, we can already feed a population that is doubled)
  • overcome global warming (they are a part of the problem because their model depends on OIL in every facet of the GE mode of farming, from the increased pesticides and fertilizer and the conventional model of food production)
  • reduce the use of pesticides (we've seen an increase in pesticides – besides, if the PLANT itself IS the pesticide, meaning all of it including the pollen, you have remarkedly increased the pesticides – how many birds and non-target insects are destroyed by your so-called “reduced pesticides?)
  • increase of yield (the Rodale Institute's 30 year study smashes that myth by showing even conventional agriculture out produces GE crops under any circumstance – even the USDA reports that US crop production rose on improvements in conventional agriculture and had nothing to do with the introduction of GE crops in any way – and that's a USDA practically paid for by Monsanto etc themselves!)

Included in the Solution 

I am no fan of the modern farming process. It is going to become unhinged in the very near future and we will have a lot of hungry mouths to feed. Our bet on technology is so huge while we have failed to hedge those bets. I am in strong concurrence with the FAO (Food an Agriculture Organization, an arm of the UN) that has repeatedly warned that our dependence on the BIG farm and big machines and new forms of technology are leading us towards a killing field. More than ever, we are selling out the only form of sustainable agriculture – most of which occurs in the third world. For all they lack, they may well have the key which we ourselves have thrown away. The solution is in technologies that don't make technology companies rich, ironically. The solutions HAVE to include:
  • rebuilding our soils and stopping erosion of that precious layer that is left
  • ceasing all uses of pesticides and fertilizers as we now know them
  • embracing nature into our farms and gardens
  • expectation of lower yields in current productive lands and moving into less desirable lands with smaller farms and dependence on human and animal power – less on fossil fuels
  • breeding of new plants that will grow without the chemical cocktail mix used today
  • improved distribution of the food that is grown
  • teach customers to value all produce not just the blemished free 'perfect' foods
  • more food growing nearer the consumer – deliveries by non-polluting, non-fossil fueled vehicles
  • more citizen control over the food we grow and eat – less corporate control

I would like a repeal of the plant patent laws, but I doubt that will ever happen. Why there is no religious outcry over patenting life, I cannot fathom. That has got to be a sin (probably with a capital 'S') in almost every major religion in the world, yet it is now the law of the land – a law we are hastily exporting world wide.

Rock on in the 'free' world, Neil Young! By the way, do you think Donald Trump has ANY idea about the lyrics of that song? That is an odd track to choose for a Republican candidate's campaign rally.  Really odd.


1 comment:

  1. New peer-reviewed paper exposes the attacks on the Séralini study on GM maize and Roundup as unscientific

    The paper below reviews the criticisms of the Séralini study (originally published 2012, republished 2014) on GMO maize and the Roundup herbicide it is grown with, and finds that they are unscientific and misrepresent published evidence.

    The paper re-evaluates the observation of increased and earlier occurrence of tumours in many of the groups fed GMOs and Roundup and concludes that this is likely to be significant.

    The author, Dr Ulrich E. Loening, is director of the Centre for Human Ecology and a molecular biologist in the department of zoology, both at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

    A challenge to scientific integrity: a critique of the critics of the GMO rat study conducted by Gilles-Eric Séralini et al. (2012)
    Ulrich E. Loening
    Environmental Sciences Europe 2015, 27:13 doi:10.1186/s12302-015-0048-3
    http://www.enveurope.com/content/27/1/13 (open access)


    This paper reviews the many criticisms of the publication by Séralini et al (2012) which has led to so much controversy, was retracted and then republished in this journal. Séralini et al found that a GM maize and its associated herbicide Roundup resulted in numerous chronic abnormalities in rats. The vehemence of the critics is not matched by their evidence; it is often based on entrenched assumptions and on mis-representing published material. The arguments have challenged normal healthy scientific dialogue, and appear to be driven by other motives. A further interpretation of Séralini et al's results on tumour formation is suggested. The probability that Séralini et al's results are significant is sufficient to justify further study.