Monday, 14 October 2013

March Against Monsanto

On Saturday 12 October, demonstrators in an estimated 400 cities in 50 countries took to the streets to protest against the corporate psychopathic organisation - Monsanto.

How many people out there still don't know who Monsanto are and why those of us that marched feel so moved to do so?

Monsanto are one of the main players behind the GM seed.  In the thousands of years that we have been farming on this planet, these farmers have never needed genetically modified seed.It has never been about a monoculture system of farming.  When I was at school in the 70's, we learnt the importance of crop rotation and why it was important to do this to allow the land to recover and not to replant the same crop in the same place year in and year out. Farmers for thousands of years have been following these rules and working in harmony with nature. But now we are the age of the monoculture, and so we have had to become the age of the nutrient depleted food - the land does not recover, it does not support more than one crop - it is stripped of its nutrients and destroyed with stronger and stronger pesticides.

Our health suffers as a result of that nutrient depletion. Iodine is scarce in soil these days - is this a factor in the rising number of under active thyroid cases in people and all the knock on effects in the body that brings?

For the last 20 years or so, we have had to contend with the idea that genetically modified seeds are the way forward. Yes they are if you are the pesticide corporation and have the technology to make a seed resistant to your pesticide, even if that means crossing genes in nature that would never naturally be crossed.

Creating a GM seed gives the corporation the right to patent it. Nature provided seeds for free and in abundance, she did so that food was there for everyone. Even William the Conqueror ensured everyone had a strip of land to grow their own food on.  If the likes of Monsanto and Bayer and Syngenta have their way, there will only be their sterile seeds, you won't be able to save them, you will need to buy more and more each year.

It is so well documented just what that has meant to the farmers in India with the BT cotton.  Sold by Monsanto as the seed that will yield more and pest resistant - well if only that was true. Farmers went from growing crops that reproduced themselves to a sterile seed that yields less and needs buying again every year.
Like the over use of antibiotics, we have viruses that are resistant to anything we can medically throw at them, so man has done the same to pests. The over use of pesticides has created resistance to them in the pest.  Nature will keep evolving to ensure survival, be it pest or predator.

The long term effects on the livelihoods of farmers has been devastating in India, with nearly 300, 000 taking their own lives as they can not meet the rising cost of Monsanto's products and the yield is less.

We might think that we kicked Monsanto out of Europe, but GM is in the food chain.  One of these monoculture GM crops is corn....despite the fact that cows are designed to eat grass not grain,  Cattle is so often grain fed and that is where the GM enters the food chain.  Buy organic grass fed beef and meats!

But it means we are not free of GM. Imported goods, especially from the US.  We need to know what is in our food, what is the food chain.

It is important we don't lose the rights over nature that were given to us all.  Nature is about abundance and not about profit and creating shortage.

The GM argument is that with rising populations we need GM food.  How will producing sterile seeds help in the 'abundance of food' we need to feed the rising population. Nature has it covered. From one plant, thousands of seeds come and from that thousands more. The shortage argument is redundant then.

The London march was impressively organised and good humoured. We held up the traffic on the Embankment, up to and around Trafalgar Square, onto the green outside Westminster where we treated to a host of great speakers and of course Vandana Shiva,

How come this global event has not been covered by the news?

Click on the first link to see a message from Vandana and on the 2nd link to see some great videos, pictures and comments on the forum.  You can see Vandana's whole address to the crowd on there also.

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