Imagine an invisible cloud of a cancer-causing weedkiller drifting slowly across your state. Well, one just blew 100 miles across California, from Merced County, nestled at the northern tip of the Central Valley, as far south as Kern County (one county stop before Los Angeles) according to farm press.
Anniston, Alabama: another case where a chemical corporation ran above the law, and left tragic consequences for generations to come. The families of West Anniston live with the legacy of a Monsanto plant, and the toxic soil Monsanto left behind. Now the science shows that residents have diabetes from exposure to chemicals (PCBs, in particular) in that soil. Those with diabetes are mostly African American, and mostly women. Truly, their health has been taken away, even as safer alternatives to compounds such as these exist.
Twenty years ago this week Dan Quayle went against scientific consensus to publicly proclaim that genetically engineered foods were “substantially equivalent” to non-GE food, and that he would therefore work to ensure that GE food would not be “hampered by unnecessary regulation.” In the pivotal 1992 FDA ruling that Quayle then proudly claimed as part of his “regulatory relief” agenda, the flood gates for GE were opened.
We’ve been living in that wake ever since because a small clutch of biotech “true believers,” ideologically anti-regulatory government officials and industry lobbyists have kept that flood gate open against great odds.
I’ve been hearing through the grapevine that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was startled by the public uproar over Dow AgroScience’s application for approval of its controversial new GE corn, designed to be used with the infamous and highly hazardous weedkiller, 2,4-D.
By quietly opening the public comment period on December 21, 2011, the agency had apparently hoped to slide this one by without attracting public attention. Instead, a vocal and growing movement of people from all walks of life has emerged to challenge the Big 6 pesticide/biotech companies’ introduction of this new generation of toxic pesticide-seed combinations.
Two years ago, on January 21, 2010, a Supreme Court panel that included ex-Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas made a decision that has since changed the face of election campaigning. The landmark ruling in Citizens United v. FEC declared corporations to be people and, under the guise of the First Amendment, permitted the pumping of unlimited amounts of corporate money into politics, opening the floodgates for a corporate buyout of democracy. The decision, which undid over a century of campaign finance reform, passed 5-4. Monsanto’s Clarence Thomas provided the critical vote.
Last month global experts released yet another report linking industrial agriculture with the dramatic degradation of soil, water and other natural resources currently threatening our ability to feed ourselves.
Just how much evidence do we need? I posit that like the banking crisis, the causes of the food production crisis are actually quite clear. A very few large and powerful beneficiaries of the current system (and their lackeys) continue to vociferously defend the status quo, while ample data show that it simply doesn't work. Meanwhile, growing numbers of farmers around the globe demonstrate viable, safer and necessary alternatives.
Paul Towers, Pesticide Action Network
December 7, 2011
“Big 6” Guilty of Human Rights Violations
Citing Systematic Human Rights Violations, International Court Hands Down Verdict to Six Largest Pesticide Manufacturers