If you think it’s tough sorting truth from industry propaganda and lies, get ready for even tougher times ahead. More than 50 front groups, working on behalf of food and biotechnology trade groups?Monsanto being the most prominent?have formed a new coalition called Alliance to Feed the Future.
The alliance, which is being coordinated by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), was created to “balance the public dialogue” on modern agriculture and large-scale food production and technology, i.e. this group will aim to become the go-to source for “real” information about the junk being sold as “food.”
The groups comprising this new alliance represent multi-national food companies, biotech industry, and chemical companies that generate hundreds of billions of dollars worth of revenue from food related sales every year. (more…)
Big Oil has deployed the “Tobacco Playbook” once again, this time in response to the release of “Gasland 2.”
It comes in the form of a documentary film titled, “FrackNation,” whose co-directors’ funding in the past came from Donors Capital and Donors Trust, referred to by Mothers Jones’ Andy Kroll as “the dark-money ATM of the right” and a major source of funding for climate change denial.
Both “Gasland 2″ and “FrackNation” cover hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the toxic horizontal drilling process via which unconventional oil and gas is obtained from shale rock basins around the country and world. Co-produced and co-directed by Irish couple Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, “FrackNation” purports to be “funded by the 99 percent to combat the misrepresentations by the 1 percent of urban elites who want to tell rural Americans how to work and live.”
McAleer and McElhinney also say they are independent journalists working independently of corporate funding. McAleer was referred to by the San Francisco Chronicle as “climate denial’s Michael Moore” and both McAler and McElhinney are listed as “experts” by the climate change-denying Heartland Institute. (more …)
While you were likely resting or enjoying time with friends and family over the Christmas break, the United States Food and Drug Administration was hard at work ramming through genetically modified salmon towards the final acceptance process. Despite the frankenfish actually being blocked by Congress last year over serious health and environmental concerns, the FDA is making a massive push to release the genetically modified salmon into the world as the FDA-backed biotech giant and creator of the fish AquaAdvantage screams for profits.
These fish of course threaten the very genetic integrity of the food chain when considering the fact that they will ultimately be unleashed into waters with other salmon and likely even the ocean at large. The AquaAdvantage genetically modified salmon have been engineered through genetic manipulation to grow double the size and weight of the average salmon. Hitting 24 inches instead of 13 and weighing in at 6.6 pounds instead of 2.8, the GM fish contains both a gene from another salmon known as the Pacific Chinook as well as an eel-like fish. (more…)
In another display of widespread grassroots support for GMO labeling following the suspicious failure of GMO labeling bill Prop 37 in California, a new petition calls upon the Obama administration to require the FDA to label GMOs within consumer products. Growing in popularity each hour, the petition is receiving thousands of signatures per day and currently stands at over 13,390. The petition comes as more and more activists have been taking to the streets and labeling GMO-containing products for themselves using printable warning stickers. (more…)
Forecasters say Hurricane Sandy is a rare, hybrid super storm created by an Arctic jet stream from the north wrapping itself around a tropical storm from the south. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground, warns that such a “Frankenstorm,” as it is called, is an outgrowth of the extreme weather changes caused by global warming. “When you heat the oceans more, you extend the length of hurricane season,” Masters says. “There’s been ample evidence over the last decade or so that hurricane season is getting longer — it starts earlier, ends later. You’re more likely to get these sort of late October storms now, and you’re more likely to have this sort of situation where a late October storm meets up with a winter low pressure system and gives us this ridiculous combination of a nor’easter and hurricane that comes ashore, bringing all kinds of destruction.” We’re also joined by climate scientist Greg Jones from Southern Oregon University.
Several thousand people flooded New York’s state capital Monday, delivering letters to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office containing pledges to take nonviolent direct action against hydraulic-fracturing, or fracking, should gas companies be allowed to drill the state. Since taking office in 2010 Cuomo has been weighing whether to open New York up for fracking, but a groundswell of resistance from environmental groups has so far held the frackers at bay.
At a rate of over a thousand per week, organizers are collecting the signatures of New York residents committed to resisting fracking. What happens here will likely have broader implications for the wider anti-fracking movement, which is gaining momentum across the country, as well as for the global struggle against climate change.
Fracking is a carbon intensive extraction method that involves pumping millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals like benzine and formaldehyde underground, in order to fissure shale rock and release methane deposits from within. The industry says fracking is safe, but the drilling technique has become synonymous with contaminated water, congested air and curdled soil in the 34 U.S. states where it has occurred. (more…)
Another report of genetically modified creations taking the lives of livestock has hit the media, and this time genetically modified grass has been identified as the culprit according to CBS News. Shockingly (and quite disturbingly), the GM grass actually produced toxic cyanide and sent the cattle into a life-ending fit that included painful bellowing and convulsions. The deaths have led to a federal investigation centered in Central Texas, where the cattle had resided.
Just east of Austin, the cows lived on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel. Abel says that the fields were used for over 15 years for cattle grazing and hay, and that the genetically modified grass was ‘tested’ previously and should have been ‘perfect’. The GM grass however, known as Tifton 85, appears have been producing toxic cyanide. Used as a genocidal agent in World War 2 by the Germans and considered to be an extremely dangerous substance internationally, it is extremely concerning that cyanide is now being produced by once harmless grass thanks to the modification process. (more…)
It was too perfect. And sad. On my way to see experts at Rio+20 speak about the growing waste problem in the developing world, I watched a man on his cell phone walk up to a recycling bin and dump his trash in the wrong receptacle. He walked off without even realizing what he had done. It perfectly encapsulated the challenge. If people with access to proper recycling and waste management services aren’t using them properly, what about countries without those services?
According to experts at Rio+20, the problem is far greater than the international community is recognizing. With global municipal solid waste set to double in by 2025 — mostly in developing countries without the capabilities to manage that waste — many say it’s one of the most pressing environmental problems of our time. “We are creating an environmental disaster that developing countries are ignoring at their own peril,” said David Newman, a board member with the International Solid Waste Association. (more…)
Monsanto may soon be forced to pay as much as 7.5 billion dollars back to the farmers who say that the mega corporation took their rightfully earned income and taxed their small businesses to financial shambles. It all started with a monumental lawsuit launched by over 5 million farmers against Monsanto looking to recover financial losses from ridiculous seed taxes that bankrupted many families.
Back in April, a Brazilian court ruled that Monsanto absolutely was responsible for paying back the exorbitant amounts of cash back to the farmers, ordering the company to issue back all of the taxes collected since 2004 — a minimum of 2 billion dollars. Afterwards, Monsanto appealed the decision and the case is now suspended until a further hearing is initiated by the Justice Tribune of the local court stationed in Rio Grande do Sul.
Recently, however, the Brazilian Supreme Court declared that any decision reached in a local court case should apply nationally. The result? Monsanto now faces even larger charges, due to the larger legal application on a national level. Now, the charges total or exceed 7.5 billion dollars. (more…)
Launching a lawsuit against the very company that is responsible for a farmer suicide every 30 minutes, 5 million farmers are now suing Monsanto for as much as 6.2 billion euros (around 7.7 billion US dollars). The reason? As with many other cases, such as the ones that led certain farming regions to be known as the ‘suicide belt’, Monsanto has been reportedly taxing the farmers to financial shambles with ridiculous royalty charges. The farmers state that Monsanto has been unfairly gathering exorbitant profits each year on a global scale from “renewal” seed harvests, which are crops planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest.
The practice of using renewal seeds dates back to ancient times, but Monsanto seeks to collect massive royalties and put an end to the practice. Why? Because Monsanto owns the very patent to the genetically modified seed, and is charging the farmers not only for the original crops, but the later harvests as well. Eventually, the royalties compound and many farmers begin to struggle with even keeping their farm afloat. It is for this reason that India slammed Monsanto with groundbreaking ‘biopiracy’ charges in an effort to stop Monsanto from ‘patenting life’. (more…)
A new generation of insect larvae is eating the roots of genetically engineered corn intended to be resistant to such pests. The failure of Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt corn could be the most serious threat ever to a genetically modified crop in the U.S. And the economic impact could be huge. Billions of dollars are at stake, as Bt corn accounts for 65 percent of all corn grown in the US. The strain of corn, engineered to kill the larvae of beetles, such as the corn rootworm, contains a gene copied from an insect-killing bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. But even though a scientific advisory panel warned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the threat of insects developing resistance was high, Monsanto argued that the steps necessary to prevent such an occurrence — which would have entailed less of the corn being planted — were an unnecessary precaution, and the EPA naively agreed. (more…)
What happens when Monsanto’s modified creations get out of hand and threaten the biosphere with mutated ‘super weeds’ that continue to suffocate farmland across the entire planet? Experts call upon farmers and government officials to return to traditional sustainable farming practices — the kind without Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. It was recently reported by the media (despite them always being quite, and NaturalSociety and others reporting on this extensively back in 2011) that a “fast-spreading plague” of the super weeds is spreading and they will not be stopped easily.
The super resistant weeds threaten not only independent family farmers and major agricultural businesses alike, but also the future of food production. Experts are now calling for a radical change in farming practices, with time-tested traditional methods being the ultimate goal. In addition, weed scientists seek to hold a ‘summit’ or panel of sorts to address the issue in Washington. As a leading task force member who is working with the USDA on the issue stated, this is a bi-product of rampant biotechnology that must be remedied by returning to traditional norms. (more …)
After experiencing the traumatizing death of her daughter to kidney failure just three days after her daughter was born, Sofia Gatica from Argentina became determined to find out what killed her daughter. Her conclusion? Monsanto’s genetically modified soy fields that surrounded her neighborhood, laced with damaging insecticides negatively affecting nearby neighborhood children and adults alike. Gatica began to detail how her small town was plagued with astronomically high birth defect rates, respiratory disease, and even infant mortality.
From this point, the courageous mother decided to take on Monsanto. Amazingly, she is not alone in her struggle against the biotechnology colossus when it comes to causing birth problems, as a large group of farmers — also from Argentina — have launched a lawsuit against Monsanto for causing ‘devastating birth defects‘ in children. Gatica was initially alone, however, when she first began her uphill battle. Forming a group of concerned mothers in her local area of Ituzaingó after hosting an event at her home to discuss her experiences, the mother would be one of the very few who has actually beat Monsanto. (more…)
Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations. Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects. It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet. (more…)