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:
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.
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.