Note: More stringent environmental review is no funeral pyre for genetically engineered (GE) crops. However, this news – in addition to another recent USDA decision delaying the deregulation process of ArborGen’s GE eucalyptus – suggests some promise for the efforts of the anti-biotech movement. Global Justice Ecology Project wouldn’t bet our horses on the USDA making the right decision, but for now, we can take it as a victory in the movement to end genetic engineering.
-The GJEP Team
By Andrew Pollack, May 10, 2013. Source: NY Times
Glyphosate, a herbicide, being sprayed on a field. Some weeds are now glyphosate-resistant. Photo: H. Rick Bamman/Northwest Herald, via AP
Genetically engineered crops that could sharply increase the use of two powerful herbicides are now unlikely to reach the market until at least 2015 because the Department of Agriculture has decided to subject the crops to more stringent environmental reviews than it had originally intended.
The department said on Friday that it had made the decision after determining that approval of the crops “may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.”
The crops in question are Dow Chemical’s corn and soybeans that would be resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D and Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans.
Many farmers say they would welcome the new crops because it would give them a way to kill the rapidly growing number of weeds that have become resistant to their main herbicide — Roundup, known generically as glyphosate. Most of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United States are genetically engineered to tolerate glyphosate, allowing farmers to spray the chemical to kill weeds without hurting the crops.
Note: Monsanto and Dow are bad enough on their own. Now they are combining powers to produce a plant that can resist corn root worm and the pesticide-resistant “super weeds” that Monsanto is responsible for in the first place. Solve a problem created by applying too much of one chemical by applying too much of another chemical. This thought process is otherwise know as insanity; doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
-The GJEP Team
By Georgina Gustin, April 11, 2013. Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Photo: Seth Perlman/AP
The world’s biggest seed company and the country’s biggest chemical company announced Thursday a cross-licensing deal intended to bring next-generation seeds and chemical mixes to farmers combating increasingly stubborn weeds and insects in the field.
Creve Coeur-based Monsanto Co. and Dow Agrosciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., said Thursday that Monsanto will allow Dow to use a corn technology Monsanto is developing to kill corn rootworm, a major agricultural pest. In exchange, Dow will give Monsanto access to its new Enlist brand corn technology, which enables crops to survive applications of the chemical 2,4-D.
The deal is the latest move in an emerging pattern that has seen major rivals in agricultural biotechnology license technologies to one another. The existing SmartStax corn product, for example, already contains eight biotechnology traits developed by Dow, Monsanto and Bayer CropScience.
February 12, 2013. Source: Center for Food Safety
Today, one week before the Supreme Court hears arguments in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS) – two legal and policy organizations dedicated to promoting safe, sustainable food and farming systems – will launch their new report, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.
The new report investigates how the current seed patent regime has led to a radical shift to consolidation and control of global seed supply and how these patents have abetted corporations, such as Monsanto, to sue U.S. farmers for alleged seed patent infringement.
Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers also examines broader socio-economic consequences of the present patent system including links to loss of seed innovation, rising seed prices, reduction of independent scientific inquiry, and environmental issues.
Debbie Barker, Program Director for Save Our Seeds and Senior Writer for the Report, said today: “Corporations did not create seeds and many are challenging the existing patent system that allows private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival, and that, historically, has been in the public domain.”
Note: As we enter the thirtieth year of genetic engineering of plants, the threat of GE trees is growing. While GE food crops (commonly called GMOs) are ubiquitous, the large-scale, commercial use of GE trees can still be prevented. To learn more about the STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign, and to join Global Justice Ecology Project in the fight to ban GE trees, visit http://nogetrees.org
-The GJEP Team
February 2, 2013. Source: Test Biotech
Mapuche woman protests outside of the Belgian Mission in Manhattan. Photo: Langelle
Today in Berlin a new report was published presenting a critical assessment of the consequences of the commercial cultivation of genetically engineered plants in the US. The first genetically engineered plants were created 30 years ago in Europe and the US. Commercial growing in the USA began almost 20 years ago, but in the EU, acceptance of these crops is much lower. Nevertheless, companies are asking for further authorisations for cultivation, including in the EU. In the light of this development, past experience in the USA was assessed and recommendations made for the future handling of this technology in the EU. Some of the principal findings are:
- Consequences for farmersBecause the weeds have adapted to the cultivation of the genetically engineered plants, farmers are experiencing a substantial increase in both working hours and the amounts of herbicide they require. Cultivation of insecticide-producing plants have led to “an arms race in the field” against the pest insects, which have adapted quickly. Genetically engineered plants have been created to produce up to six different toxins. Costs for seeds have increased dramatically, without there being a substantial increase in yields or significant savings in the amounts of spray required.
- Impact on the seed marketThe seed industry in the USA is largely dominated by agrochemical industries such as Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta. In future, it has to be expected that developments in the USA will be strongly influenced by the interests of agro-chemical companies pushing for the cultivation of genetically engineered plants.
- Consequences for producers who avoid genetically engineered cropsContamination with non-authorised genetically engineered plants has already caused billions of dollars worth of damage in the USA.
- Consequences for consumersConsumers are exposed to a whole range of risks regarding unintended substances from plant metabolism, from residues from complementary herbicides and from the properties of additional proteins produced in the plants. As yet, there is no way of monitoring the actual effects that consumption of these products might have.
- Effects on the environmentThe cultivation of genetically engineered plants is closely associated with a substantial increase in the amounts of herbicide required. In addition, there is also an increase in environmental exposure to certain insecticides. In particular, the cultivation of herbicide-resistant plants leads to a reduction in biodiversity. Genetically engineered rapeseed has already managed to escape from the fields into the environment from where it cannot be withdrawn, and from where it evades any adequate control.
The study was commissioned by Martin Häusling, Member of the Green Group in the European Parliament. The English version of the study is published by Testbiotech.
Note: Following this short update from Mexican farmers who planned a hunger strike to protest the introduction of GMO corn in Mexico is “The Maize Manifesto: No to GMO Maize,” which outlines the threats that GMO seeds pose to Mexican farmers and culture.
-The GJEP Team
January 23, 2013. Source: La Via Campesina
Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, head of government of the Federal District, has betrayed the peasants of UNORCA mounting anti-riot police operation at the Angel of Independence. It had been negotiated with the City yesterday, an agreement to allow a peaceful sit-in and hunger strike against the imminent commercial release of transgenic corn planting on a large scale in Mexico (see link below for more information) . Despite the alleged agreement, when hundreds of farmers of 20 states of the republic came to settle, they found hundreds of riot police with shields preventing access to the monument, in what is being called a betrayal and a “pre-eviction. “
Alberto Gómez Flores, a leader of the UNORCA and coordinator of Via Campesina North America, said: “it’s very symbolic because they are preventing people of this country from being in front of the Monument of Independence from Spanish colonialism, and thus they are really serving their current masters, the new colonialists of Monsanto, DuPont and Pioneer. “He continued, “here we are a few meters from the U.S. Embassy, which also serves the same masters.” And ” we will stay here in camp, as close as we can be to the Monument, and if they come to evict us we will sit peacefully in resistence . They will not take us away from here.”
Filed under Actions / Protest, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration
Note: Along with herbicide resistant corn and soy seeds, ArborGen’s cold-tolerant GE eucalyptus trees are also in the fast- track for approval, although no decision has been made yet. GE eucalyptus are highly flammable and invasive. Please sign GJEP’s petition to the USDA demanding a ban on the planting of genetically engineered trees here. With your help, we WILL stop GE trees from becoming a reality.
-The GJEP Team
November 13, 2012. Source: Pesticide Action Network
The “Big 6” pesticide corporations are moving quickly to push for USDA approval of their new wave of seeds genetically engineered to be used with older, more dangerous and drift-prone herbicides. Herbicide-resistant seeds now in the pipeline — including Dow’s 2,4-D corn and Monsanto’s dicamba soy — will drive up the use of these hazardous chemicals, destroying neighbors’ crops and creating unnecessary health risks to farmers, workers and rural communities.
Urge USDA to stop the GE pipeline; Dow’s application for 2,4-D-resistant corn is first in the queue, and 2,4-D soy andMonsanto’s dicamba-resistant soy are not far behind.
With a decision on the first application due any day, we need to speak up now. And loudly.
By Marc Lifsher, October 26, 2012. Source: LA Times
After losing a more than two-to-one lead from a month-long barrage of critical opposition TV ads, supporters of a genetically engineered foods labeling initiative have taken to the air.
The Yes on Proposition 37 campaign on Thursday launched a TV blitz of their own, starting out in the Southern California and San Francisco Bay Area markets. The ads, which cost “seven figures,” are expected to air statewide between now and the Nov. 6 election day, the Yes campaign said.
“We’re in it to win it,” said Yes campaign spokeswoman Stacy Malkan. “We believe that when people get the truth about what Proposition 37 is about, they’ll vote yes.”
A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday showed the two sides in the Proposition 37 fight in a dead heat, with 44% of those polled in support and 42% against.
August 9, 2012. Source: UK Tar Sands Network
OVERWHELMING POLICE RESPONSE TO CUSTARD POURING – ACTIVISTS RECRUIT THE BARD TO FIGHT CORPORATE CAPTURE
1. BP’s greenwash awarded silver
The results for the Greenwash Gold 2012 campaign – the public vote for the worst Olympic sponsor – were finally announced on Friday, in front of the Olympic clock in Trafalgar Square. BP came in second, Dow third, and Rio Tinto first. For good measure all three received gold medals, presented by a giant-headed ‘Sebastian Coe’. The award ceremony featured a ‘representative’ from each company having slimy green custard poured over their heads to recognise and reward their greenwash – in BP’s case for its decision to enter the tar sands and its refusal to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico disaster; Rio Tinto, which is sourcing metal for the Olympic medals, has been responsible for deadly air pollution in Utah and is poisoning precious water sources in Mongolia; Dow Chemical owns Union Carbide, the company responsible for killing 25,000 people in the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984, for which it is dodging criminal charges.
But the ceremony descended into chaos after the custard had been poured, when 25 police officers appeared and arrested the three ‘executives’, and several others who were cleaning up the few drops of custard that had landed on the ground. Jess and six others spent the rest of Friday in custardy in a bizarre end to an otherwise non-confrontational campaign!