The fine print of food wars

The fine print of food wars

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By Vandana Shiva *

From ecology and the new biology we know that life is a complexity organized by itself: it builds itself, it cannot be manufactured.

This also applies to food production using the new science of agroecology, which gives us a deeper scientific understanding of ecological processes at the ground level, live seeds, and live food. The promises of the biotech industry - higher yields, reduced chemical use, and weed and pest control - have not been kept. Last month an investment fund sued DuPont for $ 1 billion for promoting herbicide-resistant crops, knowing they would fail to control weeds and would instead contribute to the emergence of superweeds.

By creating seed ownership through patents and intellectual property rights, and enforcing it on the planet through the World Trade Organization, the biotech industry has established a monopoly empire over seeds and food. In addition to claiming ownership of the seeds it sells and collecting royalties on safety checks and balances, the biotech industry systematically destroys national and international laws regarding biosecurity, claiming that its products are as nature created them.

It is ontological schizophrenia!

Biosafety is the multidisciplinary evaluation of the impact of genetic engineering on the environment, public health, and socioeconomic conditions. At the international level, biosafety is international law enshrined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. I was appointed by a group of experts to develop the framework of the United Nations environmental program, in order to put into force article 19.3 of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Monsanto and its friends have tried to deny citizens the right to healthy food by opposing Article 19.3 since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. These days they are trying to dismantle national laws on biosecurity in India, Pakistan, the European Union and all of Africa and Latin America. In the United States, they distort the Constitution by filing lawsuits against state governments that have enacted laws to label genetically modified foods, alleging that the right of citizens to know what they consume is inferior to the right of the biotechnology industry to impose dangerous foods on uninformed consumers. which they handle as freedom of expression of a company, as if it were a natural person. They deploy their propaganda machinery to attack researchers working in biosafety, such as Árpád Pusztai, Ignacio Chapela, Irina Ermakova, Éric Séralini and myself with unscientific arguments.

Many journalists lacking scientific training have lined up as soldiers in this propaganda assault. Privileged white men, like Mark Lynas, Jon Entine and Michael Specter, with no practical agricultural experience, armed only with bachelor's degrees and linked to consortium-controlled media, are used to undermine the true scientific findings about the impact of GMOs on our health and ecosystems. The biotech industry uses its propagandist puppets to sustain the fallacy that GMOs are the solution to world hunger. This refusal to a genuine scientific debate about how living systems evolve and adapt is supported by an intensive and massive assault of propaganda, including the use of intelligence agencies such as Blackwater.

In 2010, Forbes named me one of the seven most powerful women on the planet for putting women at the forefront and at the center of solving the issue of food security in the developing world. In 2014, journalist Jon Entine wrote an opinion piece, in which he argued that I have not studied physics. In addition to having studied a postgraduate degree in physics and my PhD on the fundamentals of quantum theory, I have spent 40 years studying ecology in farms and forests in India, where nature and the wise farmers were my teachers. That is the basis of my experience in agroecology and food security.

Good science and proven technologies don't need propaganda, intelligence agencies, or corrupt governments to prove facts. If the unsubstantiated attacks by a non-scientist on a scientist from a developing country are one of their instruments for shaping the future, they have completely missed. They do not realize the growing public outrage against the Monsanto monopoly.

In sovereign nations, where the power of Monsanto and its friends is limited, the people and governments reject their monopoly and failed technology. But the propaganda machine suppresses this news.

Russia has completely banned GMOs; Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned: If Americans like GMO products, eat them. We don't need them; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food. China has banned GMOs in military food supplies. Italy has just promulgated a law, Campo libre, which punishes the planting of GMO crops with a prison term of one to three years and a fine of 10,000 to 30,000 euros. The Italian Minister of Agriculture, Nunzia De Girolamo, said in a statement: Our agriculture is based on biodiversity, quality, and we must continue to aspire to them without adventures that, even from an economic point of view, would not make us competitive.

The propaganda pieces in Forbes and The New Yorker cannot stop the awakening of millions of farmers and consumers to the true dangers of genetically modified organisms in our food, and the downsides and flaws of the industrial food system destroying the planet and our Health.

* Executive Director of the Navdanya Fund

Translation: Jorge Anaya


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