Sewage treatment plants demonstrated to help create and circulate new mutant microbes

Last July David Cameron warned that the world could be soon cast back into the dark ages of medicine if we do not find a way to deal with newly evolving bacteria that is becoming resistant to antibiotics.

One has to make the connection between antibiotic resistant microbes and the increasing changes of life forms including important ecosystem supporting microbes to genetically engineered (Round-up ready, etc.) food crops. GE Trees that are designed to boost the so called “green” economy are rapidly expanding dangers. These frankenplants are modifying ecosystems and the biosphere in ways that we have not even begun to understand. Ok, well maybe we have begun to understand.

Cameron has urged the world’s drug companies to “accelerate” the discovery of a new generation of antibiotics.

One can be sure that this will be done in the context of profitability.  Disaster capitalism knows no boundaries except profit, -not even when that conflicts with human health and sustainability. This is the same context that corporate influenced governments are using to rush to develop so called “green” strategies to climate change. Profit is the first principle–and unfortunately this is viewed through the smoked glasses of the near term quarterly reports. Complex science problems can be overwhelming even for the most talented and diligent scientists, engineers, and thinkers. We know that we don’t know enough. We know that we are moving along into a dark tunnel. We also know that many of us are organized to strongly advocate for common sense as opposed to simplistic economic growth without a thorough analysis of the consequences..

We urge a precautionary approach as a real first step in all science and in what we work for–stopping release of potential synthetic ecosystems, or radically out of control synthesized ecosystems,  without a whole lot more research. We believe our species has a responsibility to do adequate risk assessments for any developing product. We demand these concepts  be first. We do not endorse nor wish to endure watching humanity follow the money like a moth drawn to a candle. We hope that Cameron can help us find our way through the dire delima that is described below, but we have our doubts.  We know, as you do, that these issues are barging into where you live and have proven to not treat humans kindly. The dark ages of medicine is just one way to characterize our future. Shouldn’t we be demanding system change?

The article below is from July of 2014,  and helps to contextualize the out of control mutations issues that we face with the release of GE crops.

Discovery in the UK reveals role of sewer plants in creating mutated microbes that are resistant to antibiotics

UK discovery reveals role of sewer plants in antibiotic-resistant microbes (Keith Williams, Creative Commons via The Independent)


Drug-resistant bacteria: Sewage-treatment plants described as giant ‘mixing vessels’ after scientists discover mutated microbes in British river

Steve Connor  The Independent

Superbugs resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics in the medical arsenal have been found for the first time in a British river – with scientists pinpointing a local sewage-treatment plant as the most likely source.

Scientists discovered the drug-resistant bacteria in sediment samples taken downstream of the sewerage plant on the River Sowe near Coventry. The microbes contained mutated genes that confer resistance to the latest generation of antibiotics.

The researchers believe the discovery shows how antibiotic resistance has become widespread in the environment, with sewage-treatment plants now acting as giant “mixing vessels” where antibiotic resistance can spread between different microbes.

A study found that a wide range of microbes living in the river had acquired a genetic mutation that is known to provide resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, a class of antibiotics used widely to treat meningitis, blood infections and other hospital-acquired infections.

Read the whole piece here 


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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Synthetic Biology, Water

October is Non GMO month

Launched in 2010 by the Non GMO Project, Non GMO Month raises awareness about genetically modified organisms by hosting events, offering free giveaways and providing educational opportunities at natural food retailers across the United States. The goal, according to the project’s website, is to empower individuals to make healthy Non GMO food choices year round.

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Participating retailers can register their stores so that shoppers can find them easily online. They can also post their store events to a public calendar in the Non GMO Month website, as well. Another calendar specifically for daily giveaways is available, too. Conversations covering everything from the ethics of food to recipes with Non GMO brands are popping up all over Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #NonGMOMonth.

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“Until the Rulers Obey”: co-editors of new collection gathering together the voices of contemporary Latin American social movements at Burning Books tonight

unnamedBuffalo’s Burning Books is hosting Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein tonight, October 1st at 7 PM.  Ross and Rein will be discussing their new book, Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements.

This volume features sixty-seven interviews with leaders and grassroots activists from fifteen countries presenting their work and debating pressing questions of power, organizational forms, and relations with the state. These interviewees have mobilized on a wide range of issues: fighting against mines and agribusiness and for living space, rural and urban; for social space won through recognition of language, culture, and equal participation; for community and environmental survival. The book is organized in chapters by country, each introduced by a solidarity activist, writer or academic with deep knowledge of the place.

Upside Down World recently ran a fascinating excerpt from their introduction.

Until the Rulers Obey: Learning from Latin America’s Social Movements
By Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein. Upside Down World. September 24, 2014.

A wave of change rolled through Latin America at the turn of the twenty-first century, sweeping away neoliberal two-party governments, bringing calls to re-found the states based on broad participation and democratically drafted constitutions. The power and motion of this wave, often referred to as the “Pink Tide,” came from the social movements that had been gathering force for over a decade—rebuilding in spaces opened by the fall of US-backed military dictatorships, rethinking in the spaces opened by the crumbling of the Soviet socialist models.

These movements galvanized long-silent—or silenced—sectors of society: indigenous people, campesinos, students, the LGBT community, the unemployed and all those left out of the promised utopia of a globalized economy.  They have deployed a wide array of strategies and actions to some common ends. They march against mines and agribusiness; they occupy physical spaces, rural and urban, and social space won through recognition of language, culture, and equal participation; they mobilize villages, towns, cities and even nations for community and environmental survival.  They are sloughing off the skin of the twentieth-century bipolar world, synthesizing old ways of working and finding new paths into an uncertain future.

Read the whole excerpt here!

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Filed under Events, Latin America-Caribbean, South America

New Experimental GE Wheat Contamination in Montana Puts Wheat Farmers at Risk

Our friends at The Center for Food Safety issued a press release earlier this week calling out the USDA and the biotech industry on its failed policies to protect farms and the ecosystem from contamination from GE crops.

Center for Food Safety calls “coexistence” a failed policy, demands moratorium on open-air field trials- photo courtesy CFS

Center for Food Safety calls “coexistence” a failed policy, demands moratorium on open-air field trials. Photo courtesy of CFS

Center For Food Safety Press Release

September 26, 2014 (Washington, DC)–The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that experimental genetically engineered (GE) wheat was discovered in July, 2014 at a Montana research facility that has not legally grown the variety since 2003.

“Once again, USDA and the biotech industry have put farmers and the food supply at risk,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety. “Coexistence between GE and non-GE crops is a failed policy that fundamentally cannot work. Genetic contamination is a serious threat to farmers across the country.”

Read the whole press release here


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Continued arrests in Ferguson, MO, call for a weekend of protests

Just outside of St. Louis, the town of Ferguson, MO, lit up after the chilling shooting of an unarmed African American teenager named Mike Brown on August 9, 2014. The incident solidified a truth many minority Americans have known for decades — that racial tension and police brutality are still very much alive and present in the United States.

Police action morphs Ferguson, MO, from a city in a democracy to a hostage in a military state. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Police action morphs Ferguson, MO, from a city in a democracy to a hostage in a military state. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Protests erupted after Brown’s murder, and continue to this day. Police in military-grade riot gear plowed through unarmed and emotional protestors. Though the media attention has since dulled, the severity of the situation is still an active reality. Viewers can keep up with the protests, police reaction and other events in real time via livestreaming and live feeds. In an afford to raise awareness about the seemingly limitless power of police, as well as unite citizens in solidarity for Ferguson, a Weekend of Resistance is planned for Oct. 10-13, 2014.

From the Weekend of Resistance website:

We are in a movement moment.

Droves of people, many of them young and black, took to the streets of Ferguson to demand justice for Mike Brown. Millions stood in solidarity as protestors were met by a brutal and militarized response by local police departments.

Our country can no longer deny the epidemic of police violence facing Black and Brown communities. Mike Brown is now part of a long list of people like John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant and countless others who have been unjustly killed by police. Their lives mattered.

Join Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment and our partners in Ferguson from October 10-13th for a weekend of resistance. We’re hosting a series of public events—marches, convenings and panels— to build momentum for a nationwide movement against police violence.

We will gather in Ferguson, but the world will hear our call for change.

Visit the website to learn more about the events occurring Oct. 10-13, 2014, in Ferguson, MO.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Events, Media, Political Repression

Monsanto opens center in Mexico, claims GMO corn will save us as the world warms

During the successful campaign by Mexican beekeepers to keep Monsanto soybeans out of Yucatan, Greenpeace activists and Mayans formed a human chain to spell out the words ‘ma ogm’, which translates as ‘no gmo’ (genetically modified organisms). Photograph: Arturo Rocha/Greenpeace via The Guardian

During the successful campaign by Mexican beekeepers to keep Monsanto soybeans out of Yucatan, Greenpeace activists and Mayans formed a human chain to spell out the words ‘ma ogm’, which translates as ‘no gmo’ (genetically modified organisms). Photograph: Arturo Rocha/Greenpeace via The Guardian

This story was sent to us from a longtime supporter and ally who offered succinct and trenchant context for it:  “Troubles with acceptance in the U.S…..Europe…..Hey!…..Why not force the issue on Mexico? It’s a mad, mad world.”

The center for GMO corn could very well be part of Monsanto’s push into Mexico, which has already been fought back by farmers and other members of the public there (see photo above and story attached to it).

But, note the real weirdness here in messaging: Monsanto is calling this a “global” center and claims that the goal of the center is to create new corn crops that can handle the “diseases and stresses….caused by global climate change.” Really? Monsanto comes to rescue again: Just ask the farmers in India, Brazil or Iowa how grateful they already are! I think they’d say that they’re busy enough fighting the diseases and stresses caused by Monsanto.

By Gabriel Stargardter. Reuters. September 29, 2014.

MEXICO CITY, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Global seed technology giant Monsanto said on Monday it has launched a global center in Mexico for developing new hybrid and genetically modified strains of corn, part of the company’s push to boost output of the planet’s most widely produced grain.

The center, based in Tlajomulco de Zuniga on the southern fringe of the western city of Guadalajara, will be used to centralize development of Monsanto’s corn seed research, mainly for the U.S. market, the company said.

“The aim is to create new varieties tolerant to diseases and the stresses that affect maize cultivation all over the world due to growing negative conditions caused by global climate change,” the company said in a statement.

Read the whole article here! 


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Filed under Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization

“The UN will not deliver”: Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch, on the UN Climate Summit Proposals

Photo taken at Flood Wall Street by Rachel Smolker.

Photo taken at Flood Wall Street by Rachel Smolker.

Rachel Smolker, co-director of Biofuelwatch and an organizer with Energy Justice Network, wrote this excellent essay reflecting on the proposals from the UN Climate Summit and the events in NYC around the summit, which include everything from the Climate March to a private sector lunch where the CEO of Saudi gas company Aramco announced a new “Oil and Gas Climate Initiative.”

Smolker draws on her years of work fighting false solutions to climate change to put the most recent proposals into sharp perspective.

Corporations Are Not Going to Save Us From Climate Disruption
By Rachel Smolker, Truthout. September 29, 2014.

This past week in New York saw some remarkable actions around climate change. The massive People’s Climate March was perhaps the main media spectacle, but it was not the only, or necessarily the most important event. Another important one: the Climate Justice Summit, which featured the voices and testimonials of people all around the country and the globe who are on the frontlines, bearing the brunt of both ruthless extraction and destruction of their lands and livelihoods, and also experiencing most directly the impacts of climate change itself. Many were tearful as they described lives and lands laid to ruin by tar sands, fracking, coal, uranium mining and more. The brutal, relentless and rapacious greed of corporate profiteers in the fossil fuel industries, big agribusiness and forestry and financial sectors seems almost unfathomable.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Biofuelwatch, False Solutions to Climate Change

Hearst Newspapers uncover GMO apple tree plots in Washington State

How do you like them GMO apple trees? Obviously, we don’t.

Hearst uncovered information showing that heavy rains washed out or otherwise damaged test plots, raising the specter of unwanted dispersal of genetically engineered trees and crops.

Hearst uncovered information showing that heavy rains washed out or otherwise damaged test plots, raising the specter of unwanted dispersal of genetically engineered trees and crops.

Using the Freedom of Information law, Hearst Newspapers recently uncovered hindreds of infractions with genetically engineered crops and trees, including the location of an experimental apple tree plot run by Gebbers Farms in Brewster, Wash. According to an article in the Seattle Pi, the little-known U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service halfheartedly issued the farm with a few superficial citations for planting genetically engineered apple trees too close to natural one, thereby risking contamination.

Bill Lambrecht’s article “Gene-altered apple tested in Washington state” lists the Gebbers cover-up along with other startling GMO-related infractions that were poorly penalized, including issues with field trials, noncompliance from Monsanto, permits issued to plant GMO crops in environmentally-sensitive areas and animals that stumbled upon, and subsequently ingested, GE test plots.

These findings unearth more instances of the U.S. government concealing layer after layer of misinformation about genetically engineered crops and trees. This all comes at a time when public opinion and government propaganda about genetically modified foods are clearly at a stand off. Why is it so hard for the U.S. and other governments to back off from GMOs and GE trees when the majority of the population, their constituents, are clearly against it? By letting these pro-GMO companies off lightly, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service continues to serve as another reminder of the wasteful spending in U.S. government and the unacceptable corporate greenwashing that influences public policy.

Gene-altered apple tested in Washington state

by Bill Lambrecht, Seattle Pi, Sept. 5, 2014

An inspection of an orchard of experimental, genetically modified apples in central Washington last year turned up a troubling finding – gene-altered trees flowering less than 100 feet from conventional apple trees.

The grower, Gebbers Farms of Brewster, Wash., previously had been cited for conducting a field trial too near conventional apples, failing to keep good records and making no effort to keep animals away from the plot.


Among the findings of Hearst’s investigation:

  • Minimal penalties: The Agriculture Department issued just two civil penalties for field trials infractions since 2010 despite sending out nearly 200 notices of non-compliance – incidents from minor paperwork violations to lost seeds to modified plants sprouting where they shouldn’t.
  • Monsanto mistakes. The Missouri-based biotechnology pioneer, which has conducted about a quarter of all the field trials in the United States, received at least 35 notices of non-compliance from 2010 through 2013, more than any other company. In 2010, the company paid a civil penalty after accidentally ginning experimental cotton two years earlier in Texas, an error that led to unapproved cottonseed meal and hulls consumed by livestock and exported to Mexico for animal feed.
  • California “pharming”: APHIS is approving permits for pharmaceutical corn in an environmentally sensitive area along the Central Coast even though the head of the company founded another company that contaminated Midwestern crops with genetically modified organisms (GMOs.)

Read the full article here.


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Filed under Biofuelwatch, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, GMOs, Synthetic Biology, Tree Plantations