Monsanto

Posted by Alice in Wanderlust on 5/7/10 in Uncategorized

File 1110Hey yoga family across the globe! 

I was all ready to write my post this week on what it means when you land in a yoga class you just don't vibe with.  What is it calling you to do in your practice?  How is it speaking to your life off the mat?  Well, after hearing this piece of news about Monsanto, the leading producer of Roundup and the provider of 90% of the GMO (genetically modified) seeds used here in the States and sent far and wide abroad, that post got pushed until next week.  Stay tuned for my thoughts on not feeling your yoga class.  In the meantime, let's talk GMOs and the Supreme Court...

Wanderlust means not only exploring physical places and spiritual states but also ideas.  For the past few years, one issue I can't stop reading about late into the wee hours of the night is food.  Eating locally.  Organics.  GMOs.  Food policy.  Even cookbooks.  I'm a food geek on so many levels.  Monsanto is mighty controversial in the world of food policy and food justice.  The company promises that their GMO seeds will save the world by providing enough food to a growing human population facing land and water shortages.  Both the UN and the Gates Foundation have bought their argument and send Monsanto's seeds across the globe as part of their hunger relief programming.

Opponents of the multinational corporation argue that these biotech seeds destroy soil, require chemical fertilizer to thrive (and thus degrade the Earth), breakdown local agricultural traditions and models (particularly by making trading and saving seeds illegal), and put our biodiverse agricultural world at risk by turning it into a monoculture.  For an amazing debate on Monsanto, check out Michael Pollan versus Monsanto's CEO Hugh Grant here.

GMOs are still unregulated by the US government despite their potential environmental risks.  Monsanto, known for it's serious lobbying dollars on the Hill in DC, is now in the Supreme Court working hard to keep their Roundup Ready alfalfa unregulated in the market.  They were taken to a local court by Geertson Seed Farms and Trask Family Farms who felt that Monsanto's alfalfa seeds needed to be regulated until they were thoroughly tested for environmental impact.  As mentioned, GMOs degrade soil.  There is also the scary reality that once you plant GMOs, you can never grow organic in the same soil again.  And, they're all over the place, taking over the soil and seed market in the States despite a lack of USDA research on their health and eco impacts.  The local court ruled there was a definite need for a USDA evaluation of GMO seed use to keep them so freely ruling the US seed market.

This local Roundup Ready alfalfa case has moved it's way to the Supreme Court this week where its predicted Monsanto's seeds will keep their free, deregulated status.  Big scale ag and specifically Monsanto have a ton of lobbying power on Capitol Hill.  Justice Scalia acted like keeping GMO seeds freely flowing was nothing, stating during the hearing, "This isn't the contamination of the New York City water supply," No, no it's not. He continues, "This isn't the end of the world, it really isn't."

We will see, Scalia.  If Monsanto has free reign in the market they will undoubtedly continue to spread GMOs, an irreversible eco move whose health and soil impacts we won't really know for years to come.

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