Okay, motivated by my mom’s articles and a recent deluge of GMO-related emails from organizations like Organic Consumers Association (OCA), I have taken action and thrown my considerable weight (insert laughter here) behind several petitions and campaigns to oppose the growing use of GMO products—despite the proven negative effects of previously approved products like maize and cotton—and the continued influence of former Monsanto executives on our agricultural philosophy and policy. So, as part of this weight throwing around stuff, I thought I’d lay out a very brief case against GMOs and the poster child of GMO infiltration, Monsanto.
I want to preface the rest of this polemic against Monsanto and its ilk by saying that I’m not against agricultural innovation, or even GMOs (sorry, mom), per se. What I am against is bad science, unethical (and illegal) business practices, and a blatant disregard for health and human rights. Study after study has proven the ineffectiveness of GMO products to date, the real and potential harm they cause to the environment and animals (including humans), and the real costs of additional pesticides, fuel, and labor required to use them—costs with no demonstrated returns.
It’s worth noting (and even emphasizing) that it’s not like there is lack of innovation in other modalities, specifically the field of organics. For instance, the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted a comparative study of crop yields and found that
Organic [my emphasis] and low-external-input methods (which use reduced amounts of fertilizer and pesticides compared to typical industrial crop production) generally produce yields comparable to those of conventional methods for growing corn or soybeans. For example, non-transgenic soybeans in recent low-external-input experiments produced yields 13 percent higher than for GE soybeans…. 1
This puts paid to the idea that we need GMOs to feed the world. What we need to do is utilize the most effective proven methods available. Those methods exclude GMOs. And Monsanto. And therein lies the rub. Monsanto needs to make money on its investment in GMO research, regardless of its efficacy.
It’s also worth noting that the coalition against GMOs cuts across political, cultural, and philosophical backgrounds. Some of the most vocal opponents of Monanto (and often the recipients of their lawsuits and mafioso tactics) are small farmers and seed companies. There are a multitude of examples. Here are a few from such varied sources as Democracy Underground, OCA, and the AP.
I could go on for many more paragraphs. But I’ll save you from the torture. Instead, I encourage you to follow the links below, sign the petitions, and get educated and involved. I can think of few other things as important as protecting one of the Big Three: food, water, shelter
Whew. All right, I’m climbing off my soapbox and walking away from Speaker’s Corner. For my next post I promise an optimistic and lighthearted topic!