Saturday, February 26, 2011

GMOs are not Sustainable Agriculture

The following link is to an excellent article written by Dr. Vandana Shiva, the preeminant authority and fighter against GMOs and the machinations used by Monsanto in spreading these organisms around the globe against the tenets of environmental democracy. My comments follow.

Don't Buy The False Promises Of Genetically Engineered Food

Everywhere in the world you go people are against GM crops mainly because they are neither sustainable or agriculture. Sustainable Agriculture is a natural system that works with the Earth and the seed (that unlike GM seeds can be saved) to sustain the bounty derived from it in a way that is not detrimental to water, soil, humans, and other species. It is an integrated system of farming that respects and nourishes life while building yield and sustainability over generations because it preserves biodiversity. Biotechnology that includes GM crops is no such system. It is a test tube generated system that invades the natural processes in order to produce monocultures for profit that do not respect biodiversity, soil health or the health of other species.

Also, since its inception yield has not been on the level purported nor has it saved anyone starving. The problem of food scarcity in developing areas of the world is not due to lack of GM crops or food in general in many instances. It is due to a lack of "access" to food. We have more food than necessary in this world, but the poor in developing countries are kept from having access to it through market speculation driving up prices, using crops for biofuel and animal feed instead of food, and World Bank policies that leave many countries indebted to them to use their crops as exports to Europe rather than having it to use for themselves.

Obesity is also skyrocketing in the US and other westernized countries, so why is that if it is not a problem of access and also effects of climate change? GM cannot solve this, and as a matter of fact has exacerbated both climate change and food scarcity by transgenic contamination perpetuating loss of biodiversity through monoculture, overuse of pesticides resulting in "superweeds" and health effects in places such as Paraguay and Argentina where soy monoculture leaves their land degraded from overspraying of pesticides and deforested, with debt to farmers through expensive imputs that require repurchasing seed yearly rather than being able to save them.

GM backed by only a few corporations that are toxic chemical makers and not farmers only seeks to further monocultures to streamline production costs and is basically only a mechanism of control and indebtedness, not true food sovereignty. There are currently no such crops doing anything to feed the billion people currently in need of food. It will take more than a crop to solve the problems of food scarcity and access, and study after study has shown that access to local sustainable methods of farming are best for these areas of the world.

As to the broad consensus on their safety, there are no true tests on humans showing they are guaranteed safe, and there are studies put out by scientists in France, Norway, and Russia indicating through testing that BT corn causes liver and kidney damage in mammals and that the bacteria used in these plants can infect other parts and organisms of the plant to escape into the wild. Independent testing not done by the companies or their benefactors is woefully inadequate. GM is the opposite of anything resembling sustainable or agricultural. It is a mutation for profit and one that is unnecessary and a great threat to the biodiversity we and other species need to survive. Local sustainable agriculture that squesters CO2 in the soil and uses organic methods instead of fossil fuels is what we need now to save our soil, our biodiversity, our developing economies, our climate balance and our health.

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