Standing up to Goliath: March Against Monsanto
- Everywhere 05/24/2014 by Justin Gammill (Earth 911)

Long story short, back in the 80s Monsanto started developing seeds that were genetically modified to be resistant to things like pesticides and herbicides as a way to, according to their multi-million advertising campaign: “End World Hunger.” So basically, they claimed that unless you get over your aversion to eating something cooked up in a lab and sprayed with some of the most toxic stuff known to man, kids in Third World countries will die.

So, if ending hunger is at the heart of their intentions, they must give the seeds away for free right? Nope. In fact, they went a couple of steps further. First they made the plants sterile, so that farmers have to buy them again the next year, instead of planting natural seed from the previously harvested crops. Then they found a way to make the plants basically “grow themselves to death.” According to Emma Must from the World Development Movement, “by peddling suicide seeds, the biotechnology multinationals will lock the world’s poorest farmers into a new form of genetic serfdom.” Another fun little side effect of GMOs is a cool trick called “drift”, where the run-off from their herbicide-resistant seeds makes its way to a natural crop and kills it. Like in 2012, herbicide sprayed in the San Joaquin Valley of California drifted and damaged cotton fields as far as 100 miles away.

That’s part of the reason why on May 24th, I will be joining the March Against Monsanto.

MAM is “a global call to action aimed at informing the public, calling into question long-term health risks of genetically modified foods and demanding that GMO products be labeled so that consumers can make informed decisions.” The movement is aimed at:

-Protecting our food supply, local farms and environment
-Promoting organic solutions
-Exposing cronyism between big business and the government

The fight against GMOs is going global, and if you want to find out what you can do to get involved, please check out the March Against Monsanto website.

Now, the last time I talked about Monsanto and GMOs, an employee from Monsanto showed up to comment on my claims, and made a 3-4 hour attempt at discrediting what I had to say. So, to be fair, I’ll quote a one of March Against Monsanto’s International Directors about the whole situation:

“If we continue to think that the fight against Monsanto is only about GMOs, we have already lost.”
-Kelly L. Derricks, president and co-founder of the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, and March against Monsanto’s Agent Orange Education Director
Guess what? She’s got a point. When it comes to harming humans, Monsanto has been at it for over 100 years …

Let’s fire up the Monsanto Poison Train and head back down the track to 1901 when they created Saccharin. Originally it was sold as an artificial sweetener for the Coca-Cola company and the canned food industry. So what’s the big deal with Saccharin? It’s made from coal tar. The FDA has questioned the effects of Saccharin since 1907 and the FDA’s very first director said “He thought he was eating sugar, when in point of fact he was eating a coal tar product totally devoid of food value and extremely injurious to health.” Remember, that was 107 years ago. In the 70′s any product with Saccharin was required to have a warning label, but with deep, deep pockets, 30 or so years later, Monsanto managed to get the requirement for the label removed. Apparently, letting people know that your product was made from coal tar and caused cancer in lab rats was bad for sales.

Next stop on board the Monsanto Poison Train is the 1940s, where having apparently gotten bored with the coal-tar additive business, Monsanto switched to the oil-based plastics game. Thanks to their efforts, we now have polystyrene, or as it is lovingly known: Styrofoam. Harming people wasn’t bad enough; they had to give us a good old-fashioned environmental disaster made from non-renewable resources that is basically indestructible. Thanks, guys!

Moving forward on the Poison Train, we come to a nice combination of devastating environmental impact and human health decline. The 1960s and the war in Vietnam brought us Agent Orange, which was at one time called “perhaps the most toxic molecule ever synthesized by man,” by Yale biologist Arthur Galston. The U.S. military used an estimated 18-20 million gallons of Agent Orange over 9 years in an attempt to kill the dense jungle that apparently made fighting a political war a little too much to handle. Even after admitting that they were aware of the lethality of the toxic cocktail which included the deadly dioxin, Dr. James R. Clary, a former government scientist with the Chemical Weapons Branch said,” … because the material was to be used on the ‘enemy,’ none of us were overly concerned.” Considering that 4.8 million people were exposed to Agent Orange; resulting in 400,000 deaths and disfigurements, and 500,000 babies born with birth defects, not to mention the American soldiers that were exposed, which is still to this day, an unknown number, a little concern would have gone a long way.

Take GMOs out of the equation …

Even then, there is still a legacy of destruction and greed on a scale that rivals a James Bond super-villain. A legacy that spans a century. Again, I encourage you to check out the March Against Monsanto and COVVHA websites and get involved in your community’s events. It’s time that people realize that these companies almost never have your interests at heart, or the planet’s for that matter. Your wallet however is always at the forefront of their intentions. It’s time that, through education and activism, we take it back out of their hands.

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