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Navdanya Diary

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Welcome to Navdanya's Diary, an online journal of the spirit of Navdanya.
Updated: 40 min 14 sec ago

Gene drive extinction technology is a war against the planet and biodiversity

Sun, 12/10/2017 - 21:37

Navdanya International, 7 December 2017

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested by U.S. Military, companies and foundations on gene drives, a highly controversial technology aimed at genetic extinction.

This is what emerges in The Gene Drives Files a set of over 1.200 emails, obtained by civil society investigators under Freedom of Information requests. The emails document how the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the largest single funder in gene drives technology, as demonstrated by a stunning financing of some 100 million dollars already invested on accelerating the research. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also heavily invested in the development of the technology with a $1.6 million payment  to the Public Relations firm “Emerging Ad”  aimed at influencing the discussions on the subject at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (see recent article by Jonathan Latham on “Independent Science News”), and at repealing a call by a large number of civil society ngos, including scientist and academic institutions, that the CBD impose an international moratorium in keeping with the precautionary principle. The emails throw light on how the regulatory process, originally meant to protect the environment and the genetic integrity of species on our planet, is deeply influenced by the hidden interesets of proponents of the technology strategically recruited by the Gates Foundation.

Once again we find far reaching decisions on the future of our ecosystems being made without transparency and through secretive and unethical practices.  Gene drives have the potential to dramatically transform our natural world and humanity’s relationship to it, wiping out entire species, irreversibly damaging the planet’s life-sustaining biodiversity and altering the genetic balance of the ecosystem. But again we see that ethical considerations and ecological consequences are of no import to those who stand to profit hugely from the development of such a technology, be it militarily as a covert war instrument, or materially in the agribusiness and big pharma worlds of power and profit.

A recent article of the New York Times reports that Dr Kevin M. Esvelt, who was among the promoter of Crispr technology at Harvard University, has recently “discovered an unacceptable risk”  as “altered genes might spread to places where the species isn’t invasive at all, but a well-established part of the ecosystem”.

The same mindset, which led to the stockpiling of chemicals of war in our fields with the Green Revolution, later developed today’s failed genetically engineered herbicide resistant crops, such as Monsanto’s RoundUp ready soy and corn. But the same weeds that GM herbicide tolerant technology was supposed to control have been developing resistance to the extent that today approximately 92% of RR cotton and soybeans in the US south-eastern states are infested by superweeds like Palmer Amaranth.   In the meantime the consequent increased use of these chemicals in fields has led to  further contamination of our soils and the environment. Monsanto & Co – which includes investors, scientists, corporations, DARPA, and Gates Foundation – continues dogedly  to rely on this misguided ‘techno-fix’ approach, now with gene drives technology to solve the failures they have created themselves,  another tool on the path of unbridled profit and control.

This simplistic approach carries the risk of driving the whole Amaranth genetic population to extinction. The National Academy of Science of The United States, in its report titled “Gene Drives on the Horizon : Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values”,  sponsored by the same DARPA and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, itself indicates the risks: “Gene drives developed for agricultural purposes could also have adverse effects on human well-being. Transfer of a suppression drive to a non-target wild species could have both adverse environmental outcomes and harmful effects on vegetable crops, for example. Palmer amaranth in Case Study 6 is a damaging weed in the United States, but related Amaranthus species are cultivated for food in Mexico, South America, India, and China.” Thus our food security and health are once again knowingly being put at risk through the same blind technological mindset which led to the failure of the Green Revolution. 

It’s clear that the value of Amaranth as a vital, nutritious, sacred and ancient food crop in many areas and cultures of the world is not considered relevant by the “militarised minds” of single-minded scientists who only see solutions to problems through the act of killing (see Biodiversity, GMOs, Gene Drives and the Militarised Mind, by Dr Vandana Shiva, July 2016) and who chose to ignore the potential consequences on food security and health in their narrow perspective.

Under the guise of doing good for humanity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continues to undermine the scientific debate on the dangers of gene manipulation. Through biased and pseudo ‘science’, disguising public relations as science and directly targeting decision-makers, they directly increase their influence and pressure on governments and institutions. Similar patterns we have seen in the glyphosate risk assessment debate, which last week led to a 5 years renewal of the license in the EU, in spite of the concerns about loopholes, conflicts of interest, corporate interference and pressure on regulatory bodies as described in the  ‘Monsanto Papers.’

The failed industrial agriculture model that has brought us poisons, weedicides, Round-up ready crops, superweeds, is now bringing us gene drives. Gene drives technology is a rough tool, based on an outmoded mechanistic and reductionist paradigm and vision of science, which ignores and denies the self organized, evolutionary potential of living organisms as well as their complex, dynamic evolution. It is sad times indeed when philanthropy embraces such a short-sighted approach, knowingly putting at risk our health and our environment. To quote Dr. Vandana Shiva: “The one who uses public relations disguised as science for driving species to extinction and robs people of their commons, is not practicing philanthropy, but ecocide”.

Categories: Ecological News

Celebrating Seed Freedom and Agroecology – Indonesia

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 21:11

In October 2017, commemorating World Food Day, Navdanya and JAGA Indonesia organized an agroecology mobilization tour in collaboration with local partners in continuation to the mobilization kicked off in 2014 with Dr. Vandana Shiva’s visit to  Indonesia and subsequently in 2015, when eleven people from Indonesia attended the “A to Z of Agroecology and Organic Food Systems” course at Navdanya Earth University.

The initiative “Celebrating Seed Freedom & Agroecology” took place in three cities: Jember (October 28th-29th, 2017), Jogjakarta (October 31st, 2017) and Bali (November 4th, 2017). The Navdanya team consisted of Ruchi Shroff, of Navdanya International, Darwan Singh Negi, Navdanya’s Farmers’ Training Co-ordinator and Neha Raj Singh, of Navdanya Trust, India.

The rich dialogues, exchanges and presentations  with farmers, policy makers and citizens laid the ground for a transition towards an agroecological food system for food sovereignty, nutrition, climate resilience and economic security.

Of major importance to the success of the tour were the 3 agroecology practical training workshops which covered, among other practices, seed saving, natural seed treatment, soil fertility management and natural pest management. Using traditional knowledge Mr. Negi showed how in any natural environment it is possible to find the resources and ingredients to both control pests and weeds, as well as to regenerate soil fertility. As he stated: “We don’t need poisonous chemicals to kill pests and weeds, we have enough knowledge to control them”.

The first event was coordinated by Jaga Indonesia local team and held at Jember University with the participation of students, representatives of the academic community and of local farmers’ organisations. The core theme and title of the panel debate was “Local Food Sovereignty based on Farmers’ Self-Reliance”. Our team highlighted how the dominant industrial agriculture and food system is failing in addressing the multiple crisis we face today. This model, based on large scale monocultures, hybrid or transgenic seeds and a very high use of chemical inputs, is polluting the soil, air and water, eroding biodiversity, killing pollinator insects, increasing greenhouse gases emissions, giving us nutritionally empty food, pushing farmers off their land and disrupting the social fabric of local communities.

The agricultural food systems and policies that we need should not be based merely on the industrial goal of high production of commodities. As Navdanya’s studies and work show, a Biodiversity-based organic agriculture provides the answer to the issues which should instead be at the centre of the discourse regarding the future of our food – a model that works in harmony with the Earth, increases soil fertility and biodiversity, provides diverse, nutritious and poison-free food, contributes in mitigating and stabilizing climate change, as well as improves farmers’ livelihoods and revives the economy of local communities.

The program schedule at Ekoliterasi Jogja in Jogjakarta saw two days of intense capacity building workshops and inspiring discussions on “Seed: Threats, Challenges and Hopes” with some of the most committed activists, farmers and movements of the region. Representing the local group affiliated to Jaga Indonesia, activist Satriya Wibowo presented a workshop on the loss of biodiversity in Java following the green revolution.

As part of the effort of building networks to share knowledge on the importance of local seeds, the group based their survey and research on asking old farmers from the villages of the rural area of Java about how their farming methods and the varieties of plants they used had been developing and changing from the 1960s’ onwards. It resulted that, for example, in 1960 they used to have 43 carbohydrate sources which have now been reduced to 9, among which only 2 are local varieties and seven are new varieties. In the same year the number of vegetable sources was up to 29, which now have been reduced to 16, mostly hybrid varieties produced by companies that come with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Also, the 10 varieties of legumes present in 1960 have now been reduced to only 4.

In relation with the work which has been carried out with Mantasa and with other international partners on network building for Seed Freedom, Navdanya’s presentation was focused on showing the vision and achievements of the Global Movement for Seed Freedom and how support in solidarity with each other and timely intervention is vital to stop the corporate hijack of our seed and food, while protecting the Earth, our biodiversity and the well-being of our local communities. Discussions took place and knowledge was shared across different small working groups, from the comparison of the roots of the agrarian crisis in India, Indonesia and other parts of the world, to the importance of connecting citizens movements with farmers who cultivate diversity and of taking care of seeds and traditional knowledge as a community.

The third event was held at the Subak Museum in Bali, also to pay a tribute to the millennial tradition of Subak water system distribution in Bali, which well represents the invaluable importance of protecting and defending traditional knowledge. The panel discussion was coordinated by JAGA Indonesia and several other local organisations and saw the participation of farmers, students and local producers. Navdanya was represented both by Neha Raj Singh, of Navdanya Trust, India and Ruchi Shroff, of Navdanya International. The example of Navdanya’s program with farmers in India, and how keeping seeds, biodiversity and traditional knowledge in people’s hands as commons, has proven to be the basis to generate livelihoods both for farmers and local communities, as well as empower the ability of facing extreme climate change related events. In India the network of more than 122 community seed banks established by Navdanya was able to save more than 6000 climate resilient, salt tolerant, drought tolerant local farmers’ varieties of seeds, which were also used to meet the needs of areas hit by extreme floods and/or droughts.

Along the same lines, Navdanya’s team brought examples on how the Green Revolution and its development into large scale industrialised agriculture has generated a deep crisis in farmers’ livelihoods in India, as well as in Indonesia and in other parts of the world. This agriculture model is mostly hitting small farmers, who still are those who provide 70% of the food we eat globally and who hold the knowledge of seed breeding which was developed over millenia and has brought us the diversity of edible crops we know today. Those who promote this “agricultural transformation” of the ‘Green Revolution’ are often supported by government subsidies for farmers and come with promises of good outcomes. When farmers stop breeding their seeds, cultivating diversity and taking care of the soil by replacing these practices with a sponsored package of commercial hybrid seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, they start depending on the market as they no longer produce for their own needs and their communities, but  instead for the demands of the global market. Besides loosing seed and food sovereignty – and therefore their freedom, the consequences can also be seen in the impact that this system has on people’s health, on the environment, and on the future of our children. The work of Navdanya in the last 30 years has been about uncovering the underlying lies lies of the green revolution, backed by the richest corporations of the world, and claiming the power back into the hands of the farmers, as well as promoting the alternatives that are actually in the hands of rural communities. Farmers all over the world are realising the reality of what is happening, and they are organizing and fighting back. They are claiming back their seeds, their lands, their traditional knowledge and implementing ecological agriculture based on preserving biodiversity and soil fertility.

The event also featured a group of Balinese speakers, academics, policy makers, activists and farmers’ groups representatives. Many local producers, farmers and local organisations displayed their products and work at stands and demo stations in the dedicated market area.

It can be said that each event turned out to be highly motivating, rewarding and inspirational for all participants, including the organizing teams. The tour represented a unique opportunity to bring local and institutional organizations and initiatives together, to stimulate public awareness, including local authorities,  of the importance of agroecology to achieve sustainable food systems in the country, to fortify and broaden the practices and existing network of agroecology, including the local seed movement, to help define and support specific programs to build agroecology as the foundation of future food systems.

Related Campaigns and Publications


Poison Free Food and Farming

The Toxic Story of RoundUp: Freedom from the Poison Cartel through Agroecology

Seeds of Hope, Seeds of Resilience: How Biodiversity and Agroecology offer Solutions to Climate Change by Growing Living Carbon

Also read

Our biodiversity, our life, our future

By Dr Vandana Shiva – The Asian Age, 6 October 2017

How agricultural chemicals are poisoning our world. And all the (false) myths about them

By Ruchi Shroff – Lifegate, 18 September 2017

Food and farming: Two futures

By Dr. Vandana Shiva – The Asian Age, 12 July 2017

The Farmers’ Crisis

By Dr Vandana Shiva, 5 July 2017

Seeding the Future, Seeding Freedom, One Seed at a Time

By Dr Vandana Shiva, 8 February 2017

Categories: Ecological News

Bhoomi 2017: Listening to the Mountains

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 13:17

New Delhi, 1st October: Navdanya, in collaboration with India International Centre, concluded its annual festival Bhoomi, dedicated this year to Listening to the Mountains – listening to the message of the Rights of Nature flowing from the mountains, listening to the cry of the Mountains bearing the burden of climate change, and listening to the promise of agroecology and organic farming to stop the spread of poisons that spread disease and increase Greenhouse Gases that destabilise the climate. A book on the subject was also released.

Navdanya has been part of the movement for the Rights of Nature and promoting Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam, the Earth Family. At the Bhoomi festival Valerie Cabanes , eminent lawyer from France spoke about the necessity to recognise ecocide – the destruction of the Earth and the environment – as a punishable crime. Citing the Indian court’s judgment to declare Ganga as a living entity with rights, she spoke about how there is a need to implement such steps all over the world. Her book “Rights for Planet Earth: Ending Crimes Against Nature ” was released by Dr Vandana Shiva at the event.

The mountains are considered sacred in almost all cultures of the world and have been an inspiration of wisdom for societies across the world. At Bhoomi 2017, panel discussions, talks ad presentations were held by some of the global pioneers of mountain ecology conservation, activists and mountain farmers. Keys speakers at the event were Chief Minister of Sikkim Pawan Chamling, renowned environmentalist and founder-director of Navdanya Dr Vandana Shiva, Andre Leu, President of the IFOAM, Ulrich Veith, Mayor of Mals, Dr Saamdu Chetri, Director GNH Centre Bhutan, Dr Sonam Dawa, CEC, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Council, etc.

Communities in the Alps which have become pesticides free have joined with Himalayan communities that are chemical free to create a global network of poison free Organic zones.

Navdanya has worked to train farmers in Sikkim. Chief Minister of Sikkim P Chamling, who has declared Sikkim 100% organic state, gave the closing address and was requested to be an Ambassador of an Organic Himalaya and an Organic pesticide free world. Speaking on the occasion chief minister Chamling said, “We the people of mountains have a huge responsibility towards our country, because the Himalayas are the source of the water for billions of people and we have to take precious care of it. We need to listen to the mountains, if want our future generations to live.”

“Today, humanity is facing a great crisis because of a man made disaster, Climate Change. To combat this threat we have to adapt, and amend our ways. Even in our Sikkim climate is changing, longer summers, irregular climate patterns marked by heavy rainfall and landslides. We have to change now, we have to stop interference with nature and remove the poisons from our food and farms. I will play my part in the mission to make Himalayas 100% organic,” he added.

The festival also featured cultural performances which included theatre, songs, films on mountain ecology and organic farming. Ani Choying Drolma, “the Singing Nun” and UN Goodwill Ambassador to Nepal also performed at festival

Dr Vandana Shiva on occasion said, “Today is a historic moment as people from Himalayas to the Alps have joined hands to make a commitment to the Earth by stopping the use of poisons in our farms and not to allow toxic to pollute our rivers and spread cancer in our societies.”

Being the 30th year of the Navdanya movement, a special ceremony to honour the Navdanya family was also organised, which included seed keepers across the country, farmers, women processors, teachers and other individuals who have devoted their lives to make Navdanya evolve froma seed to a tree. 30 members of the Navdanya family were felicitated at the event .

Festivities ended by 8 pm with an organic dinner crafted by the Navdanya chefs. The menu featured nutritious and tasty dishes made from scratch with a mix of rare and common grains, mountain vegetables, herbs and was attended by gourmet food lovers of the city.

Press release by Indra Shekhar Singh

Live updates

#Bhoomi2017 Listening to the Mountains begins with Gandhi 's song Raghupati Raja Ram @drvandanashiva @NavdanyaBija pic.twitter.com/JHxD3TlDyf

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 lighting of the lamp by CM P Chamling, Mayor Veith @drvandanashiva, celebrating 30 years of @NavdanyaBija #Bijaswaraj pic.twitter.com/ov1w9oN4BX

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

5 men control wealth of the world, this is what GDP model gets you. Poverty, climate chaos & loot is by their design @drvandanashiva pic.twitter.com/mSXmb4n7pE

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 release of book Bhoomi: Listening to the Mountains by @drvandanashiva Saamdu Chetri & Maya Goburdhun pic.twitter.com/33SGPuRdXC

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 release of Valerie Cabanes's book Rights of Planet Earth in a special ceremony @drvandanashiva pic.twitter.com/j1yeuBHqAn

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 Bhutan, we thought we gave fresh water to Bengal, in reality today the villages of Bhutan don't have water #SaamduChettri #GNH pic.twitter.com/SDjk3jEpyR

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

En direct du #bhoomi festival avec @drvandanashiva @FondationRaja @ValerieCabanes @NavdanyaBija #EarthFestival #agroecology #womenrights pic.twitter.com/6DLwpqGlM5

— SOL (@SOL_association) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 @drvandanashiva honors #GNH director Saamdu Chetri with a #FibresofFreedom shawl, native seeds for his contribution to the Earth pic.twitter.com/YHl2qAUQXd

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 @NavdanyaBija family member Rukamini, from Uttrakhand takes the pledge to save billions of microorganism on our fields & in us pic.twitter.com/mA1HoWQTgm

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 'the wisdom of Indian traditions informs us that Indian sages were feminists- Anna pic.twitter.com/jYQPogE7JE

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 "we are listen to the earth, we hear the Mountains, so that the future generations can have a living world @drvandanashiva pic.twitter.com/HQZryBMxVr

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 Mayor Ulrich Veith of Mals, Italy speaks about the threat of pesticides & strategies to make areas poison & pesticide free pic.twitter.com/JSW66COMCl

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

Chief Minister of #OrganicSikkim, @pawanchamling5, speaking at #Bhoomi2017 @drvandanashiva @NavdanyaBija https://t.co/UtznGDea4L pic.twitter.com/lRRKmK4vdz

— Seed Freedom (@occupytheseed) October 1, 2017

#Bhoomi2017 @NavdanyaBija family honored by @drvandanashiva for their devotion and service of the Earth pic.twitter.com/CrPQGgjxSi

— Indra Shekhar Singh (@IndraSsingh) October 1, 2017

.@NavdanyaBija family with Alps & Himalaya communities joining hands for #PoisonFree Food & Farming https://t.co/vkyaFFIuqM @drvandanashiva pic.twitter.com/dH2uwRoowo

— Seed Freedom (@occupytheseed) October 1, 2017

Categories: Ecological News

How agricultural chemicals are poisoning our world. And all the (false) myths about them

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:38

By Ruchi Shroff – LifeGate, 18 September 2017 | Source

A world free from poisonous chemicals is possible. And it’s in our hands. The op-ed by the Director of Navdanya International, the organisation that protects nature, the Earth’s biodiversity and people’s rights to seeds and food.

Corporations are putting our lives and our environment at risk through a growing and improper influence over institutions, whose responsibility should be, instead, protecting people and the planet. The visible consequences have made it imperative to expose their devious tactics and their steadfast and corrupt lobbying, recently revealed in the Poison Papers (a compilation of over 20,000 documents obtained from federal agencies and chemical manufacturers about the toxicity of many chemical products, editor’s note). Up until this stark revelation, corporations have almost totally been absent from everyday news. What is increasingly clear to all is the impact of their “busyness” on our lives – an environment that is increasingly polluted and toxic, bad quality and unhealthy food, and an increase in disease, all of which too often aren’t directly linked to these companies and the consequences of their policies in the public debate.

The Poison Cartel

Evidence of the toxic consequences of the policies of these mega corporations, which we call the Poison Cartel, is however growing by the day – small farmers are losing their livelihoods, rural populations are being driven from their land to make way for industrial agriculture, biodiversity is fast disappearing to make way for monocultures, and consumers increasingly have no option other than to buy toxic food grown in increasingly contaminated, chemical infested soils.

Navdanya International‘s latest report, The Toxic Story of RoundUp, unveils this corrosive business and indicates, at the same time, the alternatives to the poison model of agriculture which can’t be considered sustainable or ethical from any point of view.

A poison-free world

Is a poison-free world possible? We believe it is, which is why we must denounce the alarming and dangerous activities of the Poison Cartel. The “Big 6” pesticide and GMO corporations that own the world’s seeds, pesticides and biotechnology industries are now enlarging their empire with mega buyouts. Syngenta is merging with ChemChina (43 billion dollar deal); Dow Chemical, which bought up Union Carbide – responsible for the Bhopal disaster killing over 20,000 people, is merging with Dupont (130 billion dollar deal); while Bayer is now merging with Monsanto (57 billion dollar deal). Should all these mergers be approved by EU and US regulators, just three companies will be left in control of 60 per cent of the world’s seeds and 70 per cent of its chemicals and pesticides.

Over the last decades these companies – which produced lethal poisons during the two world wars – turned to the agricultural market, where they saw enormous potential to keep multiplying their profits. They have enlarged their empires and established monopolies through free trade neoliberal policies and deregulation of commerce, broadening their control over our seeds, food, freedom and democracies. In the name of science these war-based corporations attack independent science and independent scientists to maintain and expand their empires. Corporate propaganda is their so-called science, and the science of biosafety by independent governments and scientists is branded “anti-science”.

Our last studies expose in detail their strategies to generate profits at the expense of the common interest. But what does this actually mean? These corporations liberally spread agrochemical poisons wherever they can, wiping out millions of species, destroying our ecosystems, poisoning the entire web of life. Due to its widespread use, glyphosate is considered the most widely used agricultural chemical in history. Since its introduction, 1.8 million tonnes have been applied to American fields, and 9.4 million tonnes have been applied globally. Some 56 per cent of the total global usage of glyphosate is related to RoundUp Ready (RR) crops, and it has tripled on cotton farms, doubled on soybeans and increased 39 per cent on corn. This is a trend that has to be reversed as we’re also talking about a failed technology. US farmer fields have been witnessing the uncontrolled spread of “superweeds” like amaranth, especially in the south-eastern states, where approximately 92 per cent of RR cotton and soybeans are infested. As a consequence, farmers have started to increase the use of pesticides.

The impact on the environment

We turn now to the propaganda of the Poison Cartel. Is it true these products don’t have any impact on the environment? This has no place in reality. A pilot study on soil contamination by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and Wageningen University in which soil samples were collected in various parts of Europe have found pesticide traces in over 66 per cent of the samples analysed, while only 34 per cent of the samples were clean. The most commonly recognised substances are glyphosate (46 per cent), DDT (25 per cent) and fungicide products (24 per cent). The study points out that glyphosate and AMPA (Aminomethylphosphonic acid) can concentrate on very small soil particles that are easily eroded and transported by wind and water. This shows that there is actual risk of contamination even at very long distances. A recent US Geological Survey study sampled waterways in 38 states and found glyphosate and AMPA in the majority of rivers, streams, ditches and wastewater treatment plant outfalls tested. Glyphosate was also found in about 70 per cent of rainfall samples.

The myths about pesticides

One of the myths is that “pesticides are rigorously tested”. Besides the fact that only a few hundred of the 80,000 chemicals used in US are tested for safety (USPCP), regulatory agencies only test the active substance of individual pesticides based on the indication provided by the manufacturers, avoiding to investigate either the toxicological risk of the product as a whole (complete with co-adjuvants and co-formulants) or in combination with the overall mix of pesticides available on the market and often simultaneously used in fields and gardens.

The agrochemical industry will respond to the first objection with the assertion that pesticides are instead necessary to feed the world, which is both inaccurate and misleading because theoretically there is enough food to adequately provide for global needs, but those who most need it are prevented from receiving because of inequitable production and distribution systems. While causing 75 per cent of the planetary destruction, it only provides 30 per cent of the food, which is nutritionally empty and loaded with toxics. The toxic products of the Poison Cartel such as RoundUp (glyphosate) and Basta (glufosinate) or GMO seeds have led to the destruction of soils, desertification, extermination of bees, rise in health epidemics such as cancer and birth defects, amongst others.

Facts and figures about pesticides

So now let’s get back to reality as Hans Herren of Biovision Foundation recently suggested: 60 per cent of what you have in your plate needs bees. Animals are also affected and so are humans. As outlined in the latest report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver, published in 2017, it is estimated that pesticides are responsible for the deaths of 200,000 people each year, of which 99 per cent from countries where environmental, health and work safety rules aren’t very restrictive or are scarcely applied. In a study promoted by the European Union on the impact of organic food and agriculture on human health research was undertaken on the overall impact of pesticides on human health. The report states: “100 pesticides are known to cause adverse neurological effects in adults, and all of these substances must therefore be suspected of being capable of damaging developing brains as well”. In our report we analyse numerous studies and cases, from Argentina to Costa Rica and Sri Lanka (where the government banned glyphosate in 2014).

Solutions are in our hands

What are the possible solutions? These are coming from the bottom rung. All over the world small farmers and gardeners are already implementing biodiverse ecological agriculture, while rejuvenating the soil and saving and breeding their seeds. They are providing healthy and nutritious food to their communities and bringing back food in the hands of farmers and consumers, making big agribusiness irrelevant and useless, along with their poisons and toxic food. In the course of 2016 more than 110 people’s assemblies were self-organised by local communities in 28 countries throughout the world establishing a worldwide network with the aim of creating a healthy future of food and of the planet. The global mobilisation culminated with the people’s assembly and the Monsanto Tribunal continued through 2017. Farming without poisons is in our hands. And as Navdanya’s work over the last three decades has shown we can grow enough nutrition for two times the current population, we can increase farmers’ incomes tenfold by giving up buying toxic chemicals, we can address malnutrition and chronic diseases, and we can create climate resilience.

Also read:

The Toxic Story of Roundup:Freedom from the Poison Cartel through Agroecology                           
Categories: Ecological News

The Toxic Story of RoundUp: Freedom from the Poison Cartel through Agroecology

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 12:31

The report describes the origins and growth of the Poison Cartel and the ways in which these giant agri-business companies (Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Chem China, Dow, Dupont, Basf) gain and keep control of their empires, among other things, in collusion with governmental agencies, as recently revealed in the Poison Papers and Monsanto Papers, undermining independent science and our democracies. It also describes the history of RoundUp and of RoundUp ready crops, and their impact on the environment and on people’s health, and the damage they are causing to our ecosystem. The report ends with a section on how the only possible response to the ecological and climate crisis, poverty, malnutrition and health emergencies which confront the world today, is through biodiversity-based agroecology, a toxic-free, harmless and vibrant agriculture, free of fossil fuels and poisons, and redirect our economic interests from the present linear, extractive and industrial paradigm to a regenerative ecological and nature-based circular approach.
Download pdf
Also read: Launch of the Report “The Toxic Story of RoundUp: Freedom from the Poison Cartel through Agroecology”
Poison Cartel Fact Sheet

Categories: Ecological News