tagged w/ profits over people
An interview conducted by Bill Moyers with Chris Hedges describing “Sacrifice zones” - endless cycles of poverty, powerlessness, and despair as a direct result of capitalistic greed - have been destroyed for quarterly profit.
Click on this link to view the interview: http://www.nationofchange.org/chris-hedges-capitalism-s-sacrifice-zones-1343144069An interview conducted by Bill Moyers with Chris Hedges describing “Sacrifice... more
Well well, President Obama is rubbing elbows with Hugh Grant CEO of Monsanto today at this symposium as well as other chemical polluters like Syngenta. If you read the list of sponsors it reads like a who's who of biotech/pesticide pushers (including Dupont, Syngenta and Walmart.) And of course, sponsored by the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation as well, which like their counterparts are salivating to push these poison seeds onto the people of Africa against their will for profit. Now, what distracting bit of news is the media concentrating on today to hide this? This administration is in bed fully with these corporations intent on a contaminated monoculture world where nature itself is patented and farmers are indebted to them for LIFE. I can only hope resistance to this gets even stronger.Well well, President Obama is rubbing elbows with Hugh Grant CEO of Monsanto today at... more
WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE?
This video and beautiful powerful song made by Makana was done as a result of a vote in Hawaii that refused to give people the right to know about GMO. Powerful lobbyists in Washington DC representing the purveyors of monoculture and environmental contamination for their own profit used that money to corrupt those who put the interests of the few above the many. But this is not the end. We have voices. We have passion. And we have the truth on our side.
Occupying our food system now in any way we can do so be it on a street, in a garden or on a modem is essential and crucial now. There is no more time left for petty distractions. Monsanto, DOW Chemical, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta, et al have drawn the battle lines. Their goal is clear: control your seeds in order to control your life. And make no mistake, this is a war they are waging against nature itself. So please watch this video and contact those mentioned who came down once again on the side of those who care nothing about your planet, your food, or your health. Let them know they will no longer get away with putting their own interests ahead of the biodiversity of this planet. WE ARE THE MANY, THEY ARE THE FEW.
Thank you, Hawaii. MahaloWHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE?
This video and beautiful powerful song made by Makana was... more
The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it was denying a petition to ban BPA from all food and drink containers, saying the science does not show an immediate cause for such action.
However, the federal agency cautioned that this ruling does not declare bisphenol A, or BPA, as safe. The agency says it is continuing its assessment of the chemical, which is used in the lining of most canned food and drinks.
Friday's action comes as a response to a petition filed in 2008 by the Natural Resources Defense Council claiming that the chemical poses a serious threat to human health.
"The FDA denied the NRDC petition today because it did not provide the scientific evidence needed to change current regulations, but this announcement is not a final safety determination and the FDA continues to support research examining the safety of BPA," said FDA spokesman Douglas Karas.
Karas said the FDA's recent research thus far indicates:
Exposure to BPA of human infants is from 84% to 92% less than previously estimated.
The level of BPA from food that could be passed from pregnant rodents to their unborn offspring is so low that it could not be measured. Researchers fed pregnant rodents 100 to 1,000 times more BPA than people are exposed to through food, and could not detect the active form of BPA in the fetus eight hours after the mother's exposure.
People of all ages process and rid their bodies of BPA faster than the rodents used as test animals do.
The FDA continues to study the effects of BPA and will make any necessary changes to BPA's status based on the science, Karas said.
Sarah Janssen, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, criticized the federal agency for failing to ban BPA.
"BPA is a toxic chemical that has no place in our food supply," she said.
"The agency has failed to protect our health and safety - in the face of scientific studies that continue to raise disturbing questions about the long-term effects of BPA exposures, especially in fetuses, babies and young children."
Chemical industry lobbyists praised the government decision.
"FDA's decision today, which has taken into consideration the best available science, again confirms that BPA is safe for use in food-contact materials, as it has been approved and used safely for four decades," said Steve Hentges, senior scientist with the American Chemistry Council.
While the chemistry council is characterizing Friday's move as the government "closing the books" on the petition, it does not mean that the FDA has decided once and for all that BPA is safe.
BPA, a synthetic estrogen developed more than 70 years ago, came into wide use in the 1960s and 1970s to make polycarbonate plastic for such things as baby bottles. It is also used as an epoxy resin to line metal cans. BPA can be found in cellphones, dental sealants, eyeglasses, as a coating for cash register receipts and hundreds of other household items.
It has been detected in the urine of more than 93% of Americans tested.
Karas said FDA regulators had "serious questions" about studies that found harm to human health.
The FDA is working toward completion of another updated safety review on BPA this year to include all relevant studies and publications.
The agency's move Friday was criticized by Environmental Working Group, which has lobbied to remove BPA from food and food containers, particularly baby bottles and infant formula.
"The next decision the FDA should make is to remove 'responsible for protecting the public health' from its mission statement," said Jane Houlihan, senior vice president for research at the Environmental Working Group. "It's false advertising. Allowing a chemical as toxic as BPA, and linked to so many serious health problems, to remain in food means the agency has veered dangerously off course."
Scientists first became concerned about BPA in the 1990s when rats stored in polycarbonate cages began miscarrying and showing other signs of reproductive failure. Since then, thousands of studies have linked BPA to health problems.
BPA is regarded by scientists as particularly concerning for fetuses and infants. The effects have been found at low doses, hundreds of times smaller than governmental regulatory agencies have determined to be safe.
Industry revenue from BPA is estimated at more than $6 billion a year.
Chemical makers maintain the chemical is safe for all uses.
Warning: Chemicals in the packaging, surfaces or contents of many products may cause long-term health effects, including cancers of the breast, brain and testicles; lowered sperm counts, early puberty and other reproductive system defects; diabetes; attention deficit disorder, asthma and autism. A decade ago, the government promised to test these chemicals. It still hasn't.
More at the linkThe Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it was denying a petition to... more
Last week, the London Olympics were wrapped in fresh embarassment and controversy as Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘ethics Tzar’ resigned live on BBC Newsnight over fears that her ethics and sustainability concerns with regards to sponsors simply weren’t being listened to. In an interview with Jeremy Paxman she announced that her position at the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) was no longer tenable in light of the LOCOG’s continued relationship with and defence of the Dow Chemical Company.
The moment: Meredith Alexander appears live on the BBC's Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman to announce her resignation from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012
“By coming on air tonight, I’m taking the decision to resign my position and stand up for my principles… I feel that I was part of a body that has been used to legitimize Dow’s involvement in the games.” Dow took over Union Carbide Corporation in 2001, but neither company have addressed the ongoing issue of water and soil contamination in Bhopal that continues to kill thousands and afflict even more with chronic illnesses.
Coverage of the ongoing Bhopal tragedy, and the controversy over Dow and London 2012, went through the roof and Meredith acquired overnight celebrity status in India. Her resignation live on British television resulted in an outpouring of hope, gratitude and optimism from those still living in Union Carbide and Dow’s toxic shadow.
This week, the Bhopal Medical Appeal caught up with Ms. Alexander for a chat…
BMA: What were the main reasons for your resignation from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) ?
MA: All the evidence I have read has convinced me that Dow Chemicals is responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 people in the aftermath of the Bhopal gas leak. The assets and liabilities of the company involved at the time – Union Carbide – are in Dow’s hands. Londoners, and other people, who are rightly excited about the London games, should not have this toxic legacy on their conscience.
BMA: At what point did your position became “untenable” and why?
MA: The tipping point for me, was the correspondence between Amnesty International and Lord Coe [Chair of LOCOG]. The latest response from Amnesty, just last week, pointed out how LOCOG have become apologists for Dow, falsely legitimising Dow’s stance that it bears no responsibility to the victims of the disaster and their families. I feel that the Olympic bodies are supporting Dow’s line and have failed to take the victim’s views into consideration.
BMA: Last week, Sebastian Shakespeare published a controversial column in the London Evening Standard with the bold headline “The Olympics should be no place for ethics.” Have you read it, and if so, what did you think?
MA: I have read it. And I actually submitted a letter to the editor yesterday about it. I think most Londoners share my view that ethics and sport can and must go hand in hand. Yet as things stand, the enjoyment of the Games risks being hampered by the toxic legacy of one of the sponsors: Dow Chemicals. When London bid to host the 2012 Games, we made a promise to the world that it would be most sustainable Games ever. [Read Meredith's whole letter to the ES newspaper here.]
BMA: Based on your resignation, can you further tell us why you think that ethics, morality, and sustainability are an important part of the Olympics? Why shouldn’t we just accept that commercial sponsorship is inevitable and ‘get over it.’
MA: I think it’s important to remember that there was absolutely no need for the London 2012 organisers to award anyone the contract for this wrap. It’s a completely optional item that is not essential to the design of the stadium. It will not help a single athlete run faster nor will it help spectators have a better view. Dow’s connection to the Olympics is a slap in the face to the victims of Bhopal, but the fact that this wrap is unnecessary makes this particular deal even more galling for those who have spent decades fighting for justice.
More of the interview at the linkLast week, the London Olympics were wrapped in fresh embarassment and controversy as... more
Did a recent scientific study just change the way we should think about the safety of genetically modified foods? According to Ari Levaux at the Atlantic, the answer is a resounding yes.
The study in question, performed by researchers at China’s Nanjing University and published in the journal Cell Research, found that a form of genetic material — called microRNA — from conventional rice survived the human digestive process and proceeded to affect cholesterol function in humans.
Levaux argues that this new study “reveals a pathway by which genetically modified (GM) foods might influence human health” which should cause us to completely revisit the question of GM crops’ safety. And he’s right to be alarmed, just a little off on the reasoning.
Let’s take a closer look at how this study applies to current GM technology, shall we?
I would argue that several studies have already suggested that existing GM foods might present a health risk. For example, this study in The International Journal of Biological Sciences found evidence that Monsanto’s Bt corn causes organ damage in lab animals. Then there’s this one which showed that GM soybeans can alter mice on the cellular level — an indication that genetically modified material survives digestion and is active in animals that consume it.
Of course, advocates of genetically modified foods will observe that the phenomenon of genetic transfer through consumption applies to all plants and that GM foods are therefore “substantially equivalent” to non-GM foods. As Levaux explains at length, this concept of substantial equivalence has been used by the biotech industry as well as our government to push GM foods through safety testing with minimal scrutiny. What’s Monsanto’s defense of all this? On its website, the company claims:
There is no need to test the safety of DNA introduced into GM crops. DNA (and resulting RNA) is present in almost all foods … DNA is non-toxic and the presence of DNA, in and of itself, presents no hazard … So long as the introduced protein is determined to be safe, food from GM crops determined to be substantially equivalent is not expected to pose any health risks.
So the fact that the Chinese team found active genetic material going from plants to humans isn’t really new and doesn’t really change what we know about how existing genetically engineered crops might affect us.
But what is new — and what Levaux missed — is that the Chinese study happens to involve exactly the kind of genetic matrieral — microRNA — that biotech companies hope to use in their next generation of genetically modified foods.
Today’s GMOs are almost entirely based on adding new genes to crops like corn, soy, and cotton in order to alter the way the plants function. And even then new functions are mostly limited to making plants either able to tolerate herbicides or to produce their own. But if biotechnology companies are successful in their efforts, there may soon be genetically modified foods that use microRNA — simply put, snippets of RNA whose potency were only discovered around a decade ago — to target, and block the function of specific genes in pests.
Thus the news that plant microRNA can survive digestion and affect human systems brings into question the wisdom of pursuing this kind of technology in food.
As explained to me by Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists and expert in genetically modified foods, microRNA technology is an area that biotech companies are actively pursuing. Monsanto itself has a whole web page devoted to the technology, which they call RNA interference.
Gurian-Sherman notes that the Chinese study — though requiring confirmation and follow-up research — raises “an initial red flag.” It calls into question “any general statement that [microRNA] technology would be inherently safe,” he adds.
He observes that humans and insects share a surprising amount of DNA material — evolution favors reusing and recycling genes even among creatures as different as insects and humans. If this research bears out, then it’s entirely possible that microRNA meant to target a specific insect gene will also have an effect — possibly unpredictable — in humans. This is especially true because, for technology like this to work as a pesticide, the microRNA must be present in high levels in the plant, which makes it even more likely the genetic material will make it all the way into the human gut.
UPDATE: Dr. Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers Union wrote to me after this post was published with an important point about the significance of the Chinese study. While he agreed that the main implications relate to the possible risk from microRNA-based GM foods, he also felt that this study did make a new and somewhat startling finding regarding how plant genetic material affects humans. As he put it, the study “showed that the miRNA not only survived digestion [in humans] but also was taken up and moved to other parts of the body where a specific impact was noted. The studies you cited — from Seralini’s lab and Malatesta’s lab — only show that GE crops can have an adverse effect on animals.”
more at the linkDid a recent scientific study just change the way we should think about the safety of... more
Martek Biosciences claims that its Life'sDHA and Life'sARA are non-GMO, but their patents reveal that their DHA and ARA are produced through the use of genetic engineering.
Hundreds of grocery items, including many certified "USDA Organic" infant formulas, baby foods and dairy products, contain Life'sDHA and Life'sARA.
Tell the National Organic Standards Board to Reject Martek's Petition for Life'sDHA and Life'sARA!
Take Action Now!
In 2009, a front page Washington Post article, "Integrity of Federal 'Organic' Label Questioned." explained how Martek Biosciences' synthetic DHA and ARA ended up in organic infant formula. In 2006, National Organic Program staff told Martek that its synthetic DHA and ARA couldn't be used in organic because they were synthetic and not on the National List. But, Martek's lawyer, J. Friedman, was able to get their decision reversed by NOP director Barbara Robinson, with just a call and an email. He told the Washington Post, "I called Robinson up, I wrote an e-mail. It was a simple matter."
This might be how the 1% get things done in Washington, but it sure isn't legal!
The National Organic Program is trying to remedy this situation by requiring Martek to formally ask permission to use its DHA and AHA in organic.
But Martek's products should never have even been considered for use in organic in the first place. According to patents uncovered by the Cornucopia Institute, all of Martek's DHA and ARA products are produced through genetic engineering and processed with solvents like hexane, two things that are expressly banned from USDA Organic.
The Cornucopia Institute also found documents submitted by Martek to the FDA, in which the company claimed their DHA was just like Monsanto's. A Martek representative clarified that its DHA was not developed by Monsanto, but that Monsanto did briefly own the technology before it reverted back to Martek.
Martek's patents for Life'sDHA states: "includes mutant organisms" and "recombinant organisms", (a.k.a. GMOs!) The patents explain that the oil is "extracted readily with an effective amount of solvent … a preferred solvent is hexane."
The patent for Life'sARA states: "genetically-engineering microorganisms to produce increased amounts of arachidonic acid" and "extraction with solvents such as ... hexane."
Martek has many other patents for DHA and ARA. All of them include GMOs. GMOs and volatile synthetic solvents like hexane aren't allowed in USDA Organic products and ingredients. Tragically, Martek's Life'sDHA is already in hundreds of products, many of them certified USDA Organic.
Please demand that the National Organic Standards Board reject Martek's petition, and that the USDA National Organic Program inform the company that the illegal 2006 approval is rescinded and that their GMO, hexane-extracted Life'sDHA and Life'sARA are no longer allowed in organic products.
More at the linkMartek Biosciences claims that its Life'sDHA and Life'sARA are non-GMO, but... more
If Oregon allows GM sugar beets to be deregulated, we may not stand a chance against full federal deregulation of all GM crops.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A public hearing is being held in Corvallis, Oregon this Thursday, November 17th to determine if Genetically Modified sugar beets will be deregulated in Oregon.
Meanwhile, the public comment period maybe just a local distraction giving way to full federal deregulation without any representation of organic and conventional crop farmers.
Let us not forget that the U.S House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture held a formal hearing on Genetically Modified (GM) Alfalfa on Jan 20, 2011.
The hearing corresponded with an open 30-day comment period, designed to provide relevant testimony with regard to deregulation of Genetically Modified Alfalfa.
The democratic process neglected to include a single organic or conventional farming representative. Throughout the two hour hearing various legislators publicly humiliated the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak for even suggesting any compromise through talks with the organic and conventional communities. They all but ordered him to stand down his conversations with anyone but pro-GM enthusiasts (1:43:16).
Representatives left no seed unturned in honor of their allegiance to biotech crops and complete penetration into all foreign and domestic markets. In fact, Minnesota's Representative Collin Peterson referred to organic producers and consumers as "our opponents"(12:29).
Vilsak, even with his ties to Monsanto, was attempting negotiation with "so called Option 3" containing a minimal stop gap as an alternative to absolute contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa. In essence, planting barriers would have been implemented to maintain protective measures for the integrity of all seed varieties. Legislators blatantly mocked him and even pulled rank, saying that the Secretary of Agriculture does not have the authority to do anything but fully deregulate the crop without further ado. (35:38, 1:25:50, 1:29:15, 2:18:47)
It can be noted that Vilsak testified no less than three times that we were in the midst of the 30 day comment period, and in his opinion, the talks among all sides were providing necessary elements worthy of analysis for all agricultural markets concerned. (29:00, 1:44:00, 1:51:54)
The theme of the hearing centered around the economic burden of GM farmers if full deregulation didn’t go forth immediately (1:44:00). It was insisted by every representative that their loyalties were to the biotech community and that full deregulation was unquestionable without consideration for any form of barrier to protect other crops from cross contamination.
In regard to preservation of non GM crops, Texas Representative Michael Conaway begs the question, "how much of this is a definitional issue"? He questions organic standards and even insists that he "suspects that Genetically Engineered seeds will become the new organic". He blatantly suggests that legislative steps be considered to modify the language and thus re-define organic standards so that Genetically Modified crops can freely contaminate without restriction. He insists that it is merely a marketing issue and not an issue of health and safety. Conaway asks if we are just "hung up on the phrase organic, meaning something we grew ourselves in the backyard with whatever?"(2:33:00).
Concern was expressed by a number of speakers that GM crops are being promoted throughout the world as being no different than conventional crops, and if word got out that we established restrictive planting barriers, then it might be assumed that the GM crops were somehow different. That could put a damper on GM producers and their marketing potential. (30:45, 1:58:17, 2:18:47)
It was apparent, by the end of one sided discussion, that full deregulation and contamination remains unquestionable from the perspective of our democratic leaders. In other words, it is most notably a flagrant case of Contamination without Representation.
If Oregon allows GM sugar beets to be deregulated, we may not stand a chance against full federal deregulation of all GM crops. Public comments are being heard on Thursday from 4 PM – 9 PM at LaSells Stewart Center Construction and Engineering Hall 875 Southwest 26th St., Corvallis, Oregon.
Please see the full length video of the U.S House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture forum on GM Alfalfa, Jan 20 2011.
http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1269If Oregon allows GM sugar beets to be deregulated, we may not stand a chance against... more
1.National Biodiversity Authority to prosecute Mahyco/Monsanto and collaborators
2.'Development of Bt brinjal a case of bio-piracy'
1.National Biodiversity Authority to prosecute Mahyco/Monsanto and collaborators for promoting Bt Brinjal in violation of Biodiversity Protection Law
ESG India, 11 August 2011
In an unprecedented, though much delayed, decision, the National Biodiversity Authority of India (NBA) has decided to initiate legal action against M/s Mahyco/Monsanto and their collaborators for accessing and using local brinjal varieties in developing Bt Brinjal without prior approval of the competent authorities. The official resolution giving effect to this decision was taken in the NBA's meeting of 20th June 2011, the minutes of which were released only on 11 August 2011.
The decision of the NBA reads as follows:
"A background note besides legal opinion on Bt brinjal on the alleged violation by the M/s. Mahyco/M/s Monsanto, and their collaborators for accessing and using the local brinjal varieties for development of Bt brinjal with out prior approval of the competent authorities was discussed and it was decided that the NBA may proceed legally against M/s. Mahyco/ M/s Monsanto, and all others concerned to take the issue to its logical conclusion." (Emphasis supplied)
(Official copy of these minutes may be accessed here: http://www.nbaindia.org/meetings/meeting.htm )
The "alleged violation" referred to by NBA is based on a complaint filed by Environment Support Group before the Karnataka Biodiversity Board on 15 February 2011 (copy attached). Subsequently, the Board thoroughly and systematically investigated the matter and submitted in its 28 May 2011 letter to NBA that “six local varieties for development of Bt Brinjal” have been accessed in Karnataka by M/s Mahyco/Monsanto and their collaborators “without prior approval from State Biodiversity Board/National Biodiversity Authority”. Furnishing a variety of documents in support of its contention, the Board has sought “further action” by the Authority on the basis of ESG's complaint. (Emphasis supplied).
NBA subsequently sought "legal opinion” and decided to "proceed legally” against all involved in this case of biopiracy and "take the issue to its logical conclusion”. This should involve, as per law the Biological Diversity Act, initiation of criminal prosecution of key representatives of M/s Mahyco/Monsanto, University of Agricultural Sciences-Dharwar, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University-Coimbatore, Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (representing the consortium involving United States Agency for International Development and Cornell University-USA) and others for fundamentally violating Sec. 4 and related provisions of the Biological Diverstiy Act.
ESG's complaint specifically charges these agencies for criminally accessing at least 10 varieties of brinjal in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu without in any manner seeking prior and informed consent from the National Biodiversity Authority, State Biodiversity Boards and applicable Local Biodiversity Management Committees as required. Such a rigorous process of appraisal is mandatory to protect loss of biodiversity due to misuse or overuse, theft of biodiversity and to secure biodiversity from contamination when transgencis are involved. In addition, the law mandates that when biodiversity is to be accessed in any manner for commercial, research and other uses, local communities who have protected local varieties and cultivars for generations must be consulted and if they consent benefits must accrue to them per the internationally applicable Access and Benefit Sharing Protocol.
Clearly aware of these laws that were fully in operation when Monsanto and its collaborators initiated research in developing Bt Brinjal in 2005, they deliberately chose to sidestep conformance with this critical legislation. When tackled by the Board during the investigation, Mahyco in its letter dated 25 June 2010 to the Board has categorically stated that it is "not in violation of any of the provisions of the Act" and claimed that the Bt Brinjal was developed by University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad. On its part the University has claimed in its letter dated 17 May 2011 that it has secured all permissions from various government departments, but does not produce any evidence of clearance under the Biodiversity Act. The extent to which Monsanto is dismissive of India's biodiversity protection laws is evident from a press release made by Dr. Usha Barwale Zehr, Joint Director, Research of Mahyco who claimed that “The Genetic Engineering Action Committee (GEAC), which is going to meet a 19 member Expert Panel on April 27, 2011, may accept the proposal for introduction of Bt Brinjal in the country.”1 Thus completely belittling biodiversity protection laws of India in which offences are cognisable and non-bailable. (A copy of the Act may be accessed here.)
more at the link.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_EKM-1o0J3yk/S-7UrJ7QW3I/AAAAAAAAAj8/VLJHUadLSYw/s1600/Picture+6.png1.National Biodiversity Authority to prosecute Mahyco/Monsanto and collaborators... more
As suburbs engulfed the rural landscape in the boom following World War II, many family farmers found themselves with new neighbors who were annoyed by the sound of crowing roosters, the smell of animal manure, or the rumble of farming equipment. In defense of family farming, Massachusetts passed the first "Right to Farm" law in 1979, to protect these farmers against their new suburban neighbors filing illegitimate nuisance lawsuits against them when, in fact, the farms were there first. Since then, every state has passed some kind of protection for family farms, which are pillars of our communities and the backbone of a sensible system of sustainable agriculture.
However, in the past few decades, intensive corporatization of farming has threatened both the future of family farming and the ability of neighbors to regulate the development of industrial agricultural operations that have transmogrified many farms into factories. Small-scale farms that resembled Old MacDonald's farm (with an oink oink here and a moo moo there) have increasingly disappeared or been turned into enormous livestock confinements with literal lagoons of liquified manure and urine, super-concentrated smells that could make a skunk faint, or vast fields of monoculture crops grown with a myriad of chemicals and pesticides and sometimes even sewage sludge. For example, the decade before the first right to farm law was passed, it took one million family farms to raise nearly 60 million pigs but by 2001, less than ten percent (80,000 farms) were growing the same number of pigs.
Capitalizing on the sentiment of protecting traditional farming, giant agribusiness interests have convinced some states to revise their Right to Farm laws to stealthily protect the most egregious of industrial farming practices from legitimate nuisance suits. The Center for Media & Democracy has recently exposed and analyzed a cache of bills voted on by corporations and politicians behind closed doors and then introduced in state legislatures without any notice to the public of the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bill factory in the production of the legislation and no disclosure of the fact that corporations pre-voted on the bills, let alone disclosures of the names of those companies. In 1996, ALEC suddenly took an interest in expanding right to farm laws. ALEC's corporate backers, unsurprisingly, hale from the factory farm side of the equation.
ALEC's Corporate Backers
ALEC's corporate members and funders have included a number of agriculture interests, including Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Cargill, and DuPont, as well as industry organizations like the National Pork Producers Council, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, and the Illinois Soybean Association. Cargill is the nation's second largest beef processor, third largest turkey processor, and fourth largest pork processor. In three other areas, flour milling, soybean crushing, and production of animal feed, ADM joins Cargill as the biggest in the industry. Chemical giant DuPont is one of the world's largest makers of numerous pesticides, and in 1999, it purchased seed giant Pioneer Hi-Bred, the world's top seller of corn seeds, including genetically engineered seeds.
Unlike the corporations, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is actually led by farmers ... and lobbyists for multinational pork processors, like Don Butler, past president of NPPC and lobbyist for Smithfield Foods, the largest pork processor in the world. The farmers who lead NPPC tend to own farms similar to that of NPPC president Doug Wolf. Wolf's farm produces 24,000 hogs per year - and it also has a beef feedlot and 1,200 acres of corn, soy, and alfalfa.
Perhaps the most surprising "agribusiness" donor to ALEC is the most powerful of all: Koch Industries. It turns out that an early part of the Koch empire was the Matador Cattle Company, founded in 1952. To this day, Koch Agriculture Company retains Matador Cattle Company, which has about 15,000 cattle. However, in the 1990's, Koch Beef Company was the nation's 10th largest cattle feeder, with feedlots that held up to 165,000 cattle. Koch bought a new feedlot in 1996 and, among other things, decided to expand its capacity by adding 20,000 more cows. The neighbors did not think that was a good idea:
Some businesses and farm owners expressed concerns over the health of their employees, some of whom would be housed within 300 feet of Koch's cattle pens. Other neighbors cited concerns over the potential for groundwater pollution, the amount of dirt, insects, and odors added to the area contributing to health problems, a decrease in the quality of life for nearby residents, and the possible devaluation of land.
Koch overcame their objections with the ruling of a friendly regulator in Texas, winning the right to expand. With all these corporate interests in limiting regulation of factory farming, thank goodness their pals at ALEC approved a model version of a Right to Farm bill in 1996!
Why Corporations Care About Laws For Farmers
While nearly all farms in the United States are technically "family farms" (a tiny fraction are owned directly by corporations), multinational agribusiness corporations have a major stake in how these farms are operated. Often family farms take the form of Wolf L & G Farms LLC, the farm owned by the family of Doug Wolf (mentioned above). Particularly for chickens and hogs, individual farmers often contract with meatpackers like Cargill, Smithfield, or Tyson. In contract farming arrangements, the corporations provide the animals, medications, and feed to the farmers; the farmer is responsible for the animals' housing, manure, and the bodies of animals that die prematurely. When the animals are fully grown, they are picked up by the corporation, which slaughters, processes, and markets the animal and plays the farmer for the weight the animal gained in his or her care. The farmers have most of the debt and risk and the corporation has most of the power and profit.
More at the linkAs suburbs engulfed the rural landscape in the boom following World War II, many... more
On the public opening day of the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle, local activists called attention to the negative aspects of the Foundation’s agricultural development efforts in Africa. Although farmers, activists, and civil society organizations throughout Africa and the US have pointed to fundamental problems with the programs of the Foundation and its subsidiary, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Foundation has been non-responsive to these concerns.
“The technologies that are promoted by the Gates Foundation in Africa are not farmer-friendly or environmentally friendly. Some of them have not been tested fully to determine their effects on the environment and consumers. African farmers are seeking food sovereignty, not imposed unhealthy foods and GMOs!”
– Kenyan farmer and director of the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), Samuel Nderitu
The majority of the projects funded by Gates promote high-tech industrial agricultural methods and market-driven development – privatizing seed, lobbying for genetically modified crops, increasing farmer debt alongside corporate profits, and encouraging land consolidation. The Foundation’s “theory of change” acknowledges that this approach will ultimately push many small-scale African farmers off of their land, driving them into the cities to swell the numbers of unemployed and marginalized – but seems unperturbed by such consequences. Thus, the agricultural development agenda on the continent is being determined from Seattle instead of locally, and control over African food systems is being transferred from farmers to transnational corporations.
Local activists emphasize that they support drawing on traditional and indigenous agricultural knowledge, as well as incorporating new technologies into African farming; however, those technologies need to be small-scale, not dependent upon foreign capital, and environmentally and socially sustainable – in other words, agroecological. “To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available,” says Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and author of a report issued two months ago. “Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live – especially in unfavorable environments.” De Schutter goes on to stress that agroecology is not anti-technology: “Agroecology is a knowledge-intensive approach. It requires public policies supporting agricultural research and participative extension services.”
This echoes the earlier findings of a 2008 study sponsored by the World Bank and the UN. The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is the most comprehensive scientific assessment of world agriculture to date, relying on the expertise of more than 400 international scientists and endorsed by fifty-eight countries in the global North and South (though not the United States, Canada or Australia). The IAASTD found that small-scale sustainable agriculture, locally adapted seed and ecological farming better address the complexities of climate change, hunger, poverty and productive demands on agriculture in the developing world than industrial agriculture and high-tech fixes like genetic engineering.
Unfortunately, the Foundation’s outdated approach remains to be harmonized with the growing body of scientific literature in support of agroecological farming. Instead, as observed by Kenyan farmer and director of the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), Samuel Nderitu, “The technologies that are promoted by the Gates Foundation in Africa are not farmer-friendly or environmentally friendly. Some of them have not been tested fully to determine their effects on the environment and consumers. African farmers are seeking food sovereignty, not imposed unhealthy foods and GMOs!”
http://gmoreport.blogspot.com/On the public opening day of the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus in... more
To our dismay, and the nation’s detriment, self-described climate change deniers – strongly supported by fossil-fuel interests — continue to mislead Congress and the public.
In late January, we joined 14 other leading scientists in writing a letter to every member of Congress, asking our elected representatives to separate science from policy. We called attention to the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change, urging Congress to “address the challenge of climate change, and lead the national response…” We want Congress to understand that, with each passing day, the problem worsens.
Our letter was certainly not the first plea to Congress to address climate change, and it won’t be the last. An open letter just last May from 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences urged similar actions. But the race to run away from the problem is nothing short of staggering.
Nothing exemplifies this more than a bill by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), to overturn the scientific finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that greenhouse gases are harmful to human health.
We are saddened and disturbed that Upton is apparently planning to hold a vote in committee very soon to overturn a science-based determination absent any scientific justification for doing so.
This science-free approach serves only the interests of oil and coal producers and other big polluters who don’t want Congress — or the American people — to know what decades of scientific research have revealed about current climate trends and the growing future risks we face.
Science is the Achilles heel for those who try to perpetuate the myth that climate change is not occurring, or that the massive build-up of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is not the main reason the climate is changing. There is no serious disagreement in the scientific community that global temperatures are increasing, sea levels are rising, the oceans are becoming more acidic and that fossil fuel combustion is the primary cause.
In addition, the rapid shrinking of Arctic sea ice and the pattern of extreme weather and climate — including widespread drought, extraordinarily intense rainstorms, heat waves and wildfires — reflect more than just natural climate variability.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50842.html#ixzz1G2N1WHePTo our dismay, and the nation’s detriment, self-described climate change deniers... more
Yank the husks off ears of corn grown in the mountains of southern Mexico, and you may find kernels that are red, yellow, white, blue, black or even variegated.
It's only one measure of the diversity of the 60 or so native varieties of corn in Mexico. Another is the unusual adaptation of some varieties to drought, high heat, altitude or strong winds.
Plant specialists describe the native varieties of corn in Mexico as a genetic trove that might prove valuable should extreme weather associated with global warming get out of hand. Corn, one of the most widely grown grains in the world, is a key component of the global food supply.
But experts say Mexico's native varieties are themselves under peril — from economics and genetic contamination — potentially depriving humans of a crucial resource.
Farmers are punished at the marketplace for selling native corn, and some types are dwindling from use. Perhaps more significantly, genetically modified corn is drifting southward and mingling with native varieties, potentially bringing unexpected aberrations and even possible extinction.
At stake may be more than just curious and exotic types of corn, grown in small fields alongside beans and then ground into tortillas after harvest.
"With climate change," said Aldo Gonzalez, an indigenous Zapotec engineer with long, flowing black hair who's at the forefront of protecting native varieties, "new diseases could occur, and the only place in the world where we can look for existing varieties that might be resistant is in Mexico.
"These varieties of corn might at some point save humanity."
Corn is not only a crucial crop in Mexico but also a symbol in a nation that's the birthplace of the grain. Maize likely originated from a grass-like, tasseled plant, teosinte, in southern Mexico. Scientists say humans domesticated corn 7,000 to 10,000 years ago.
In the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the ancient Mayans, gods create humans out of cornmeal, allowing the "people of corn" to flourish.
Through the centuries, varieties of corn adapted to different soils, altitudes, temperature conditions and water availability, and Gonzalez said the seed stock handed down in his village in this corner of the Sierra Juarez range in central Oaxaca state probably wouldn't grow well just a few miles distant.
"In the sierra here, there are varieties of corn that grow as high as 3,000 meters," Gonzalez said, or nearly 10,000 feet. "There are varieties that can be planted in swampy land or that you can plant in semidesert areas. They may not be very productive but they have allowed people to survive."
Native varieties of corn have fed humans for millennia in Mesoamerica.
"The elders understand the importance of various types of corn because they had their fields in different places under different conditions," said Lilia Perez Santiago, an agricultural engineer who works for a state forestry bureau.
Perez was among the activists behind a petition in 2000 to the Montreal-based Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a panel created under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The petition claimed that genetically modified corn, altered to be pest resistant or herbicide tolerant, had drifted to southern Mexico and begun contaminating native varieties.
Four years later, the panel recommended to Mexico that it suspend modified corn imports and adopt strict labeling rules to allow the public to identify food products that contained such corn. Mexico ignored the recommendations, arguing that the ruling came into conflict with its obligations to open markets under trade pacts.
In late 2009, the government permitted a subsidiary of a U.S. conglomerate, Monsanto, to test genetically modified corn on isolated plots of about 240 acres in Sinaloa and Tamaulipas states in the north.
The head of Monsanto Mexico, Jose Manuel Madero, said at a news conference two weeks ago that the federal government demands further tests before allowing commercial farming of the genetically altered corn.
Madero said modified corn was in use in 20 countries around the world and would help Mexico raise agricultural productivity, cut its reliance on food imports and slash the use of herbicides, thereby protecting the environment.
Several scientists have joined a Mexican grass-roots campaign, known as Sin Maiz No Hay Pais, or There Is No Country Without Corn, to oppose the import or harvest of genetically changed corn.
"We have a nationwide survey that shows genetic contamination in Guanajuato, Yucatan, Veracruz and Oaxaca (states). We also know of some large-scale plantings in Chihuahua," said Elena Alvarez-Buylla Roces, a molecular geneticist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
She said lab analysis showed that some native varieties already carried altered genes.
"There is no possibility of coexistence without contamination," Alvarez-Buylla said. "One gene can make a large difference. Do we want to run the risk?"
Black-market brokers already sell genetically modified seed corn to farmers in the north of Mexico, opponents say, and bags of unmarked genetically altered corn have been found in the far south.
"The bags of corn are not secure. During transport, some bags break open and fall out. So there are many possible ways of contamination," Perez said.
The vast majority of farmers of native varieties select seeds each year to save for the next harvest, thus making what Alvarez-Buylla described as "active, dynamic genetic elements" prone to aberrations from genetic drift of altered corn.
Scientists don't know which varieties could prove useful for climate change.
"We don't really know if there is a variety with the most promise. Promise for what?" Alvarez-Buylla said, adding that future climate conditions are unknowable.
While the government maintains seed banks for native corn, Alvarez-Buylla said, "This is not a diversity that can be preserved in a laboratory."
Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/02/02/107954/mexico-cradle-of-corn-finds-its.html#ixzz1Cxc4CThDYank the husks off ears of corn grown in the mountains of southern Mexico, and you may... more
Almost exactly one year ago, on Jan. 28, 2010, Andrew Wakefield, the doctor whose 1998 research sparked international concern over whether childhood vaccines cause autism, was found guilty by a British panel of acting unethically in his research on autism. Shortly afterward, The Lancet, which originally published his findings, reviewed his original study and issued a complete retraction.
In May Wakefield was stripped of his license to practice medicine in the United Kingdom. Then last week an editorial in the BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal) called his actions not merely poor research but "deliberate fraud."
Just when it seems the scandal can't get any worse, it does.
According to new research published in today's BMJ, Wakefield's motive for the fraud was money -- and lots of it. Wakefield "planned secret businesses intended to make huge sums of money, in Britain and America, from his now-discredited allegations," according to a BMJ press release.
Conspiracy theorists are fond of saying "follow the money," and that's exactly what investigative journalist Brian Deer did.
In "Secrets of the MMR scare," the second part of a BMJ series of special reports on the Wakefield scandal, Deer shows how Wakefield's institution, the Royal Free Medical School in London, supported him as he sought to exploit the vaccine scare for his personal financial gain.
Deer reveals how Wakefield met with medical school managers to discuss joint business deals even while the first child to be fully investigated in his research was still in the hospital. Wakefield planned to make a fortune developing his own supposedly safer vaccines and diagnostic testing kits once the public's confidence in the safety of current vaccines was shaken.
According to Deer, Wakefield expected to earn over $40 million each year from selling his diagnostic kits -- a fact at odds with Wakefield's portrayal of himself as a selfless researcher whose only motivation was helping children harmed by vaccines.
Wakefield's research has been questioned for years, and many large-scale studies have found no evidence of any link between vaccines and autism.
Still, Wakefield remains a hero to a small group of conspiracy theorists who claim that the medical establishment is trying to silence this supposedly brave doctor who dared to speak the truth.
The parents of children who have been needlessly injured (or even killed) as a result of Wakefield's fraud may feel differently.
http://news.discovery.com/human/anti-vaccine-doctor-planned-to-profit-from-scare.htmlAlmost exactly one year ago, on Jan. 28, 2010, Andrew Wakefield, the doctor whose 1998... more
In 1998 and 1999, former Health Canada scientist, Dr Shiv Chopra, along with two co-workers, Drs. Margaret Haydon and Gerard Lambert, testified to the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry that they were pressured by senior supervisors to approve drugs of questionable safety, including the genetically engineered cattle drug, Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST) – then produced by Monsanto and Eli Lilly.
In return for their whistleblowing, the scientists were fired from their government positions.
Since then, Chopra has been an outspoken critic of corporate agriculture and its pocket regulators. In this interview by natural health advocate Dr Joseph Mercola, Chopra discusses the five toxic elements of the food supply that should be banned immediately. GM foods are one of them. Chopra also talks inspiringly and from practical experience about how ordinary people can reclaim the food production system from the control of the corporations.
The Toxic Five: Why Are They Still in Our Food?
A Special Interview with Dr. Shiv Chopra
By Dr. Mercola
DC: Dr. Shiv Chopra
DM: Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO
Video of interview plus transcript at:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/14/chopra-interview-july-2010.aspxIn 1998 and 1999, former Health Canada scientist, Dr Shiv Chopra, along with two... more
The choice of healthy food and to grow food as you see fit is a human right. Access to food is a human right. I am a firm believer in food sovereignty and the right to farm sustainably and am appalled to see how it is slipping away in America, a land that claims to be about freedom. FOOD RAIDS? When we have bankers and government agencies robbing us blind daily in collusion with companies like Monsanto that toxify this planet with disease and death going scott free?
As you celebrate your Thanksgiving this year in whatever way you do, not only be thankful for your food, but aware that the freedom to grow, process, distribute, and eat what you want is being sacrificed to industrial agriculture and factory farms in collusion with food chains looking to make big money from eroding the very principles that made this country what it once was.
Farmageddon is hopefully going to be released next year. It is a 90 minute documentary on the dwindling food sovereignty we see in America and the extreme measures being implemented to attack farmers who are growing healthy food. All I can say about this is: What the hell happened to our country?The choice of healthy food and to grow food as you see fit is a human right. Access to... more
Adding a new twist to the controversy over genetically engineered (GE) salmon, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) revealed today that, in recent hearings on transgenic fish, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knowingly withheld a Federal Biological Opinion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prohibiting the use of transgenic salmon in open-water net pens pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“This adds further evidence that in fact GE salmon pose a serious threat to marine environments and is another compelling reason for the FDA not to approve the fish for commercial use,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. “While the FDA applauded the company’s choice of land-based containment as responsible, it never revealed that it is illegal in the U.S. to grow genetically engineered salmon in open-water net pens.”
The Biological Opinion and supplemental information, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, challenge claims by AquaBounty Technologies, the developer of the GE salmon, that the transgenic fish pose no threat to marine environments. The GE Atlantic salmon under consideration was engineered with growth hormone genes from an unrelated Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and DNA from the anti-freeze genes of an eelpout (Zoarces americanus).
The Biological Opinion issued by FWS and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2003 expresses concerns that transgenic salmon would threaten and adversely affect wild Atlantic salmon, currently on the Endangered Species List. Federal agencies are required by Section 7 of the ESA to consult with the expert fisheries agencies when any action may impact a protected species. As part of the consultation, the expert agencies draft a Biological Opinion explaining under what circumstance the proposed activity would not endanger the survival of the protected species. The Biological Opinion here analyzed the authorization of net pen salmon aquaculture and required:
“The prohibition on the use of transgenic salmonids at existing marine sites off the coast of Maine” in order to “eliminate the potentially adverse disease and ecological risks posed by the use of transgenic salmonids in aquaculture.”
Despite this knowledge, it appears that FDA has not consulted in depth with the expert fisheries agencies regarding the current Aquabounty GE salmon. FDA acknowledges that “preliminary” discussions have been held. However, the documents released today by CFS also include an email from FWS staff to NOAA further revealed that:
Shortly after the Atlantic salmon was listed as endangered, several of us from USFWS and NMFS spent 2 days down in Maryland meeting with Aqua Bounty and FDA about development of genetically modified salmon and discussion around the need for FDA to engage in Section 7 consultation with the Services. We never heard a peep out of FDA or Aqua Bounty after that.
“The recent developments only add to the increasing concerns raised by the public, members of Congress and the FDA’s own Advisory Committee,” said Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Food Safety. “The documents received make clear that some data was even kept from FWS and NMFS scientists who would not sign the confidentiality agreements requested by the FDA. If the FDA won’t even share confidential company data with government scientists, what else is it keeping secret from the public?” added Hanson.
cont.Adding a new twist to the controversy over genetically engineered (GE) salmon, the... more
Billed as "a political thriller on GMOs and freedom of speech", this film by the German film-maker Bertram Verhaag tells the stories of two scientists, Dr Arpad Pusztai and Dr Ignacio Chapela, whose research showed negative findings on GM foods and crops. Both suffered the fate of those who challenge the powerful vested interests that dominate agribusiness and scientific research. They were vilified and intimidated, attempts were made to suppress and discredit their research, and their careers were derailed.
Pusztai found that the internal organs of rats fed GM insecticidal potatoes either increased in size or did not develop properly compared with controls. His experiments turned up no less than 36 significant differences between GM-fed and non-GM-fed animals. Pusztai, encouraged by his research institute, gave a 150-second interview on British TV in which he summarised his findings and said it was unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs for GM foods.
For two days, Pusztai was treated as a hero by his institute. But following a phone call from UK prime minister Tony Blair to the institute's head, Pusztai was fired and gagged under threat of a lawsuit. His research team was disbanded and his data were confiscated. Lies were circulated about his research that he could not counter due to the gagging order, lifted only later when he was due to appear before a Parliamentary Committee. For Pusztai’s co-researchers, the gagging order remains in place for life.
Pusztai's results threatened the GM industry because they showed that it wasn't the insecticide engineered into the potatoes that damaged the rats, but the genetic engineering process itself. So the problem wasn't just with these GM potatoes but potentially with all GM foods on the market. The only solution for the industry and its friends in government was to shoot the messenger.
Traumatic though this was for Pusztai, it wasn't the biggest shock he had to face regarding GM foods. That came when he was asked to review safety submissions from the GM industry for crops we were already eating – and found that they were scientifically flimsy. "That was a turning point in my life," said Pusztai. "I was doing safety studies; they were doing as little as possible [in terms of safety testing] to get their foods on the market as quickly as they could."
Another scientist whose run-in with the GM industry is featured in the film is Ignacio Chapela, a molecular geneticist at UC Berkeley. His research, co-authored with David Quist and published in the journal Nature, revealed that Mexican maize had been contaminated with GM genes. The finding was explosive because Mexico is the centre of origin for maize and the planting of GM maize there was illegal.
Chapela found himself the target of a vicious internet campaign condemning him as more of an activist than a scientist and claiming that his paper was false. Nature's editor published a partial retraction of the paper. As Chapela points out in the film, the editor's action flew in the face of scientific method. In the normal way of things, a journal editor publishes a study that he and peer reviewers judge to be sound. It is for subsequent published studies to confirm or correct the findings. It is not for the editor to state that he would not have published a study had he known then what he knows now – without the benefit of further peer reviewed scientific input. The editor's move showed how the GM industry is rewriting the rules of science for its own ends.
To add insult to injury, the internet campaign against Chapela turned out not to have been initiated and fuelled not by his scientific peers but by fake citizens, "sockpuppets" invented by the Bivings Group, a public relations firm contracted by Monsanto.
Scientists Under Attack goes on to show how the GM industry has blocked the evolution of scientific knowledge. When Russian scientist Irina Ermakova's study found high mortality rates and low body weight in rats fed GM soy, and when Austrian government research found that decreased fertility in mice fed GM maize, the industry carried out its usual campaign of vilification. If the industry were interested in scientific truth, it would push for studies to be repeated with the alleged "flaws" corrected. But this never happens. Instead, GM companies use their patent-based ownership of GM crops to deny scientists access to research materials – the GM crop and the non-GM parent line control. So the original research showing problems with GM crops is buried under a deluge of smears and follow up studies are not done. For the public, the difficulty and expense involved in accessing full research papers makes it hard to find where the truth lies.
The film also highlights an extreme example of the corporate takeover of science – at University of California, Berkeley (UCB), where Chapela is a professor. In 1998, UCB entered into a $25 million research partnership with biotech company Novartis (now Syngenta). The deal provoked angry debate on campus and was criticized by a number of faculty members, including Chapela. Then in 2007, UCB entered into a $500 million research deal with oil giant BP. The partnership was negotiated in secret, without consultation even within the university. In return for its money, BP gained access to UCB’s researchers, control over the research agenda, and co-ownership of commercial rights over inventions. Chapela says of BP, "They decide what is called science."Billed as "a political thriller on GMOs and freedom of speech", this film by... more
Creative video remembering the ecocide that still goes on in the Gulf now being hidden by BP to avoid fines and a larger hit to their already oil soaked criminal reputation. Regardless of how much the media wishes to now hide this or spin it, the absolute lack of morality BP has shown and still exhibits must never be forgotten.Creative video remembering the ecocide that still goes on in the Gulf now being hidden... more