The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Anniston Alabama vs. Monsanto

dead-fish

This is old news, but I hadn’t heard about it until I read an article where the Anniston, Alabama case against Monsanto was alluded to.  I looked it up and found this informative piece by Maryam Henien at the HoneyColony blog:

From the ’40s to ’70s, Monsanto knowingly dumped millions of pounds of the now-banned industrial chemical polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the town’s landfill and creek. PCBs have been shown to cause cancer in animals and humans, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a frequently fatal form of cancer.
Some employees suspected danger as early as the 1950s, yet company management did nothing in response to their concerns. In 1966, Monsanto managers discovered that fish submerged in the Choccolocco turned belly-up within 10 seconds, spurting blood and shedding skin as if dunked into boiling water. They told no one.
Three years later, they found fish in another nearby creek with 7,500 times the legal PCB levels. However, they concluded that there was no point in “going to expensive extremes in limiting discharges.” In 1975, yet another company study found that PCBs caused tumors in rats. Managers ordered the report’s conclusion changed from “slightly tumorigenic” to “does not appear to be carcinogenic.”
In 2003, Monsanto finally confessed and agreed to pay $700 million to more than 20,000 residents in the first civil suit of its kind. Thousands of pages of Monsanto documents—many marked “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy”—proved that, for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew.
“This is a classic case of corporate abuse as well as a violation of public trust,” says Jay Feldman, executive director of the health and environmental group Beyond Pesticides. “Even as the signs piled up of its dangers and adverse effects, the company continued to ignore the warnings.”

You can find the entire post here.


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Live Streamed Lecture by Vandana Shiva

Arts-Vandana Shiva poster

Internationally renowned eco-feminist, philosopher, and activist Vandana Shiva will be paying a visit to Winnipeg this weekend, and while her ticketed event is now sold out, local organizers have arranged an alternate, free live-streamed teach-in.

Shiva will be speaking to a group of paying attendees on the evening of March 28 as part of the “Fragile Freedoms” lecture series, presented by the University of Manitoba’s centre for professional and applied ethics, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the CBC.

On March 29, Shiva will be giving a lecture about Earth democracy from 90 Sinclair Street, which will be broadcast as a live-streamed teach-in to other locations across Canada, including a secondary location in Winnipeg.

The organizers of this event state that “there is no lecture hall or community centre with the capacity to hold everyone who should hear her inspirational and empowering message,” which is why they are offering this free, live-streamed event “in the spirit of decentralized knowledge-sharing and radical self-education.”

The notion of radical education, and radical self-education, is part of a larger movement to create spaces of knowledge-sharing outside of formal educational structures.

British scholar David Hicks believes that in its current form education “inevitably reproduces the social, political and economic norms of the dominant ideology. In the west this is capitalist, technocratic, individualistic, materialist, and patriarchal.”

In contrast to the Fragile Freedoms event, the teach-in on March 29 is free, and organizers of the second Winnipeg location—the University of Winnipeg Womyn’s Centre and the Women’s and Gender Studies Students’ Association—are attempting to make it as accessible as possible.

Free snacks, coffee, tea, bus tickets, and childminding are all offered as part of the event. It’s also being offered in a wheelchair accessible room in proximity to accessible washrooms.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the concept of Earth democracy, organizers of the teach-in provide a definition to use as a starting point before hearing Shiva’s thoughts: “Earth democracy is the worldview that we as humans can be part of a healthy planet, but we must take action to protect peace and swaraj (sovereignty) for all living beings: Let us learn about our right to water, our right to seed and to food, and our right to life.”

Join in the live-streamed teach-in at 7:00 p.m. on March 29 at room 2M70 at the University of Winnipeg.


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Organic Seed Banks Preserve Genetically Diverse Food Supply

Seed Activism
In a recent study titled “Seed Freedom: A Global Citizens Report,” Shiva’s research showed the ways that genetic contamination is rapidly spreading and, specifically, how India has lost organic cotton seed varieties due to contamination by Bt Cotton. The report also points to other places, like Mexico, facing similar challenges.
“Mexico, the historical cradle of corn, has lost eighty percent of its corn varieties,” according to the report. It is in the face of this global scourge, Shiva hopes, that organic seed banks will help create a different future.
Worldwide, these banks operate on various scales, with distinct forms of operations and funding. SeedSavers.org, for instance, offers an alternative model to biotech-fueled agriculture through “participatory preservation of organic seeds” among its members to ensure the planet maintains a “genetically diverse food supply.” The group, headquartered in Decorah, Iowa, operates one of the largest seed banks in North America where it works with farmers and gardeners to secure heirloom varieties of seeds. Continue reading


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Monsanto Seed Patents Create Modern Day Zamindari System

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In an interview with Darshan Kakri at the Mahesh Chandra Regmi Lecture series, Vandana Shiva was asked, “Why should countries like Nepal with a predominantly traditional agricultural base be concerned about the entry of a company like Monsanto in its territory?” Regardless of how you feel about the safety of their genetically modified seeds, Shiva’s response provides one of the best reasons why the products of companies like Monsanto should be categorically rejected.

 Monsanto has a history in making war chemicals like Agent Orange (also called Herbicide Orange) which was used in Vietnam War, not in working with seeds or agriculture. In 1972, university scientists first discovered the recombinant DNA technology, in which you can take the gene from one species and transfer them into another. A few years later, the scientists who evolved those techniques put a ban on it themselves as they decided that they did not know its consequences. This is called the Asilomar Declaration. But the companies thought otherwise. This new technology made it possible to insert human genes into cows, cow genes into wheat as they are doing in England or scorpion genes into cabbage or bacterium genes, which is the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), into maize or cotton. Therefore, a group of companies like Monsanto got together and formed the intellectual property committee of industries. They thought if seeds could be patented, they could make trillions of dollars, as every farmer will have to pay them royalty. Just like in a zamindari system, the peasant works on the land and the landowner gets the revenue. In a life zamindari, which is what patents on life are, the seeds are the peasants and with a little tinkering, companies like Monsanto collect royalties. Continue reading


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Is Genetically Modified Food Bad for Health?

Md Nasir Ahmed, a Noah Project reader, has written an informative and well-researched article about GMO’s   I’ve posted it below.  You can also find it at GreenMagz.info.

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, basically it means food made in the laboratory which refers to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicide or improved nutritional content. For example, Plant geneticists can isolate a gene responsible for drought tolerance & insert that gene into a different plant. The new genetically-modified plant will gain drought tolerance as well. Not only can genes be transferred from one plant to another, but genes from non-plant organisms also can be used. The best known example of this is the use of B.T., or Bacillus thuringiensis genes in corn and other crops, enabling the corn to produce its own pesticides against insects such as the European corn borer. Continue reading


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GMO Corn Causes Sterility in Farmer’s Pigs

Jerry Rosman, a pig farmer in Iowa, was cultivating GMO corn,(Roundup Ready and BT) and fed this corn to his pigs.
Result: his sows became infertile, and then after one year he went bankrupt.
See the whole interview here: http://vimeo.com/20237421


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Monsanto Drawing Opposition Across Globe

Increasingly Monsanto is drawing opposition across the globe.  In The Times of India Laxmi Prasanna reports on a recent conference held in Thiruvananthapuram that attracted green activists and scientists from around the world.

As part of the global call against Monsanto, participants including green activists from 400 cities across the world including Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram will organise protest marches and rallies on October 12, calling for Safe Food to prevent contamination of food by genetically modified crops and toxic pesticides. “We have no crisis in food security, it is crisis in distribution of safe food and the government has to address that,” Green activist Sridhar Radhakrishnan told TOI on Friday.
Later in the day leading freshwater conservation biologists got together calling for concrete strategies to conserve freshwater biodiversity in a symposium on ‘Aichi Targets and freshwater biodiversity conservation in the Western Ghats’. Though freshwater ecosystems occupy less than one per of the Earth’s surface, it harbors 10 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity. Yet they are one of the most poorly protected ecosystems on earth and face various threats including pollution, overexploitation and alien invasive species.
Dr. Jorg Freyhof, Scientist at the Leibniz Institute of Inland Fisheries in Berlin, Germany stressed the need for larger holistic data bases to convince and prioritise arguments for biodiversity conservation. He said policy makers and conservationists need to collate data that is easily available including species description, ecological trait data, threatened biodiversity, Red List assessment, protected area network and priority areas for restoration.