GMOs and Dr. Vandana Shiva

Dr. Vandana Shiva, highly articulate ecofeminist, author of numerous books including Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis, challenges the false claims of a current advertisement by Monsanto.

9 billion people to feed. A changing climate. Now what? Producing more, conserving more, improving farmers’ lives. That’s sustainable agriculture. and that’s what Monsanto is all about.

You have seen the propaganda printed in countless magazines.  Shiva Vandana takes on Goliath, point by point, in “Climate Change and Agriculture: Biodiverse Ecological farming is the Answer, Not Genetic Engineering,” published this February, by Climate

A Changing Climate: Industrial globalized agriculture is heavily implicated in climate change by contributing to the three major greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and methane. Vandana Shiva quotes the specific increases from pre-industrial times to now, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Producing more: The claim of higher yields has been proved wrong by a recent study titled, Failure to Yield by Dr. Doug Gurian Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who was former biotech specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and former adviser on GM to the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Sherman states, “Let us be clear. There are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly there are no GM crops on the market engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.”

Conserving More: Contrary to their claims, the GMO industry is stealing, not conserving genetic information. Navdanya’s recent report titled, “Biopiracy of Climate Resilient Crops: Gene Giants are Stealing Farmers’ Innovation of Drought Resistant, Flood Resistant and Salt Resistant Varieties,” shows that farmers have long ago bred corps that are resistant to climate extremes. The industry claims of isolating a “drought tolerant” gene are also unfounded.

Vandana counters,  “Drought tolerance is a polygenetic trait. It is therefore scientifically flawed to talk of ‘isolating a gene for drought tolerance.’ Genetic engineering tools are so far only able to transfer single gene traits. That is why in twenty years only two single gene traits for herbicide resistance and Bt. toxin have been commercialized through genetic engineering. Furthermore, genetic engineering leads to soil carbon reduction when crops are herbicide resistant. Weeds are sprayed instead of turned under the soil or composted, thus soil carbon is reduced, not conserved.

Improving life for farmers: The painful fact of 200,000 Indian farmers committing suicide in the last decade is linked to debt created by the high cost of GMO cotton seed. Shiva provides statistics and compares prices.

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