Reclaiming the future of food and farming

GE

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Pesticidemakers in paradise

To many, Hawai’i is a veritable paradise on earth. But trouble has been brewing as the Big 6 pesticide and biotech companies have begun staking their claim on the islands.

“Pesticide corporations and their seed companies are consuming Kauai’s resources — especially land and water — at dramatic rates,” reports PAN staff member Paul Towers. Last week, Towers toured the island of Kauai with members of Hawai’i SEED to learn first-hand about the community group's efforts to challenge Monsanto & Co. head on, and to advance their alternative vision of healthy farming systems. 

Pesticide Actio...
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Monsanto's endless pipeline of bad ideas

As if the disaster of RoundUp resistant superweeds sweeping our farmland weren’t enough, Monsanto is now preparing to launch an even greater disaster: a new soybean engineered to be resistant to the older, more toxic weedkiller, dicamba. The seed — which Monsanto plans to market in 2014 if approved — will also come stacked with the company’s RoundUp Ready gene, and is designed to be used with Monsanto’s proprietary herbicide “premix” of dicamba and glyphosate.

More dicamba-tolerant crops (corn, cotton, canola) are all waiting in the wings. If this new generation of GE crops is approved, then dicamba use will surge, just as it did with RoundUp. And we all know how well that didn't work out. 

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

China puts the brakes on GE rice

A raging public controversy over genetically engineered (GE) rice in China captured media attention in recent months, and has culminated in a surprising win. A few weeks ago, the country’s State Council released a new Draft Food Law1 that, if passed, would protect the genetic resources of China’s food crops and restrict the application of GE technology in its main food crops.

This is significant progress in the effort by farmers and campaigners in China and indeed across Asia to protect the genetic integrity, diversity and heritage of their rice.  

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Heather Pilatic's picture

What Gates gets wrong on GE, every time

Influential philanthropists like Bill Gates hold a responsibility to be well informed about the impacts of their spending — and their words. Late last month in his annual letter on his foundation's priorities, Gates asserted that lack of support for genetically engineered (GE) crops allows world hunger to endure. He is wrong. 

We engaged the editorial team at TakePart.com, which covered Gates' letter, in a dialogue to correct a few of the key points that Gates gets wrong about world hunger, the Green Revolution and the broken promises of GE. 

Heather Pilatic
Margaret Reeves's picture

2,4-D corn? Bad idea, and here's why.

There are many, many reasons that Dow's new strain of corn that's genetically engineered to withstand high doses of the herbicide 2,4-D is a terrible idea.

Since 2,4-D has been around for so long, there's plenty of evidence about how it can harm human health. Children, as usual, are most at risk, and USDA needs to know that ramping up use of 2,4-D in fields across the country is simply not acceptable.

Margaret Reeves
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Genetically engineered bourbon?! No joke.

More than 80% of the non-organic products in our pantries include genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Turns out, that even includes bourbon.

As Grist reported last week, GE corn  — also known as genetically modified, or GMO — has made its way into our liquor cabinets: "Bourbon gives us an interesting window into GMO grain because the spirit must by definition be made with at least 51 percent corn." Since about 85% of the corn in the U.S. is grown from genetically engineered seed, most bourbon is now made from GE corn.

Pesticide Actio...
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Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

German biotech giant flees Europe

Last week the giant German pesticide and biotech company (and largest chemical company in the world), BASF, announced its decision to pack up and flee Europe.

Why? For 13 years, ordinary Europeans have stood firm in challenging the right of biotech companies to dump their risky genetically engineered (GE) seeds onto their fields and have steadfastly rejected the intrusion of GE foods onto their plates. They built up an informed and powerful citizens’ movement that has made itself heard, even over the din of the monied GE lobby. For this, hearty congratulations are due to our cousins across the Atlantic!

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

The GE Emperor Has No Clothes!

On October 13, I joined fellow food democracy activists from around California at a press conference on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall. We were there to welcome the release of a new Global Citizens’ Report on transgenic crops, aptly entitled The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes.

As World Food Day approaches (Sunday, October 16), what better way to honor and support small-scale and family farmers around the world than by publicizing the report’s message: genetically engineered crops have utterly failed to deliver, it’s time to cut our losses, save our seeds, defend our rights and Occupy the Food System.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
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Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Mexican maize ready for climate change

Sin Maíz, No Hay País!” The chant is ringing out this morning across the fields, villages and towns of Mexico, in recognition of Mexico’s National Day of Corn, September 29. “Without corn, there is no country!” is the literal translation of this ongoing national campaign to celebrate and protect the cultural heritage and significance of corn to the Mexican people.

With the campaign entering its fourth year, Mexicans can also celebrate the good news that the maize that Mexican farmers have been cultivating in traditional farming systems for thousands of years already contains much of the genetic diversity they’ll need to weather the challenges of climate change in the coming century.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Monsanto's superweeds & superbugs

The ecological, economic and agronomic disaster accompanying herbicide-tolerant transgenic crops is by now well known: over 10 million acres of superweeds resistant to Monsanto’s weedkiller, RoundUp; farm machinery breaking on RoundUp-resistant pigweed thick as a baseball bat; Monsanto paying farmers to spray their fields with competitors’ herbicides; a new generation of transgenic crops in the pipeline engineered to withstand older even more dangerous chemicals like 2,4-D.

Last week brought more bad news for Monsanto: the same phenomenon is also occurring in insect pest populations that are developing resistance to transgenic “Bt corn” in the Midwest.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman

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