A few years back Monsanto developed genetically-modified crops that could tolerate direct exposure to its cancer causing herbicide, RoundUp. Since then, many noxious weeds the chemical was designed to combat have developed an immunity to glyphosate, the key ingredient in RoundUp.
The next thing I have to say may seem a bit odd coming from an atheist like me, but I can’t think of a better way to say it.
We need to stop playing God!
Humans today simply do not understand genetics well enough to be messing around with the results of billions of years of natural evolution. All the various life forms on the planet evolved together of thousands of millennia in a delicate balance, and we’re foolish to try and work against it. Too bad the oligarchs at the top of the Big Ag pyramid scheme can’t figure that out.
Dow Agrosciences (sic) has developed a strain of corn that it says will solve the problem. The new genetically modified variety can tolerate 2, 4-D, which will kill off the Roundup resistant weeds, but leave the corn standing. Farmers who opt into this system will be required to double-dose their fields with a deadly cocktail of Roundup plus 2, 4-D, both of which are manufactured by Monsanto.
To the greedy sociopaths at the top of Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto, the solution isn’t to admit the failure of their experiments in genetic engineering – not to mention the dangers – but to push even harder and re-introduce a chemical known to cause cancer and birth defects. 2, 4-D was one half of the infamous Agent Orange herbicide used during the Vietnam War. If you don’t know the ugly history of Agent Orange, I invite you to take a stroll through a few links. Its some very scary stuff.
Researchers say that the effect of 2,4-D on human health is still not fully understood. But it may be a risk factor for conditions like non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which was often found in Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange. The EPA has stated that the chemical has “endocrine disruption potential” and interferes with the human hormonal system. It has also been shown to be toxic to honeybees, birds and fish according to research conducted by the US Forest Service and others.
Conventional large scale farming requires ever-larger applications of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. As earthworms and vital microorganisms are killed off by the poisons, more and more chemical inputs are required, making chemical-based industrial farming similar to the way a heroin junkie needs a bigger and bigger fix to get high.
Herbicide use in industrial farming steadily increases as weeds develop resistance to the toxins they are repeatedly exposed to. To compound the problem, groundwater is often contaminated, compromising the health of animals and humans who relay on local water supplies, not to mention cross contamination from consumption of crops and animals saturated with poison.
US Department of Agriculture figures reveal that herbicide use rose by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008. Significantly, nearly half of this increase (46 percent) took place between 2007 and 2008 as a result of the hawking of new herbicide resistant crops like the new corn hybrid developed by Dow.
Nobody knows what effect introducing this hybrid would have on the health of American consumers. Corn laced with high levels of 2,4-D could taint everything from breakfast cereals to the beef of corn-fed cattle. Given that corn and high-fructose corn syrup are key elements in so many processed foods, some public health experts warn that all Americans will soon be guinea pigs in an ill-conceived mass experiment with one of the staples of our food supply.
This is insanity!
Viable alternatives to chemical intensive farming exist, and are based on techniques going back thousands of years in some places – crop rotation, cover crops, and integrated weed management, to name a few. So what’s the problem? Why haven’t we as a society found the will to move back toward a more sustainable way of farming? Because big corporate interests have nothing to gain from natural, low-tech solutions, There’s no money in it for them, and as long as there are are no laws to stop them, companies like Monsanto and Dow will continue to buy congressmen, senators, and presidents willing to facilitate their crimes in the name of profit.
Monsanto, Dow, and many other corporate giants will continue to get away with murder until we decide enough is enough and demand an end to their influence and insanity.