1.YOUNG ENVIRONMENTALISTS NETWORK AGAINST GMOs
2."Sweet As You Are" - manipulating school children
Item 1 is rather refreshing after all the attempts by pro-GM interest groups to propagandise children for GMOs - see:
Fury at pro-GM school magazines
Lord Sainbury backed pro-GM schools' project http://www.gmwatch.org/p2temp2.asp?aid=12&page=1&op=1#JIC_SCHOOLS
Pro-GM play for schools (see also item 2 below)
If you're interested in material for children that has not been created by pro-GM lobbyists, check out, 'Genetic engineering for kids' - a website especially for kids (of any age!) courtesy of Tiki the penguin: http://tiki.oneworld.net/penguin/genetics/home.html
1.YOUNG ENVIRONMENTALISTS NETWORK AGAINST GMOs
211 pupils from seven Secondary Schools and five Primary Schools in Benin City attended a one-day workshop on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) organised for the Young Environmentalist network by Committee On Vital Environmental Resources (COVER) and the Environmental Rights Action (ERA) on the 7th of July 2006 in Benin City, Nigeria. At the end of the workshop the students made the following declaration:
Having carefully considered what GMOs are and their possible effects and impacts on our health and environment, we resolve that:
1.GMOs do not increase crops yields, neither are GMO crops more nutritious than traditional varieties
2.Our farmers will be forced to use more chemicals in cultivating GMOs and spend more money than necessary in the farming efforts
3.Once GMOs are released into our environment, they cannot be recalled back and will greatly impact our environment
4.This technology promotes few crop varieties and is not suitable to our cultural and social way of life. We reject the idea of farmers having to buy seeds continually and being unable to save seeds.
5.We support those countries that have refused GMOs in food aid into their countries because of the uncertainties of the technology and possible health impacts
6.There are no benefits for consumers, but the only benefits go to the industry who produce the seeds and the chemicals
7.GMOs are dangerous and we fear that they will contaminate our crops and pollute our environment
We hereby ask the Nigerian government as well as all African Governments to say NO to GMOs and put in place mechanisms to safe guard our environment and our future.
Signed by TYEN members:
1.Ezoti Primary School
2.Idah Primary School
3.Obaseki Primary School
4.Ogbe Primary School
5.St Paul's Primary School
6.Alpha High School
7.Covenant Christian Academy
8.Eghosa Anglican Grammar School
9.Golden Touch High School
10.New Discovery High School
11.Uwagboe Demonstration Secondary Schools 12.Blessed St Paul's Secondary School
2."Sweet As You Are" by Jonathan Hall.
Y Touring Theatre Company Review by Dr. Jeremy Bartlett
After a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Y Touring Company stopped off for one night in Norwich to perform "Sweet As You Are".
The play was commissioned by Norwich's John Innes Centre and the Teacher Scientist Network (based at the Centre). It was followed by a debate on GM food and has an accompanying information pack. A similar teachers' pack is to be produced, for the aim is to tour schools in Spring 2000, performing the play for 14 - 16 year old Science and English pupils.
Jenny, who is very house-proud, works for an advertising agency and has a fiance, Ben, who is a campaigner against GM foods. He is a boorish character who dresses up in a carrot mask and forces Jenny to type up his speeches even though she is ill with 'flu. He feels inadequate and is using GM as a way to gain fame and popularity.
Andy is an untidy Dr. Who addict who moves into Jenny's flat. Before long Jenny, who has a very weak personality, is watching "Dr. Who and the Seeds of Doom" instead of washing up. Andy turns out to be a laboratory technician and is the calm, rational scientist who can see benefits in GM technology, whilst ironically remaining a member of Greenpeace. Jenny eventually leaves Ben because their views have diverged so much. Although she originally shared Ben's views on GM, she has no qualms by the end of the play in accepting a job promoting "U-Save", a supermarket that sells GM foods.
The play was well written, well acted and enjoyable, with plenty of humour. What concerns me is the messages that it will put across to an audience of susceptible 14 - 16 year olds.
The GM campaigner looks ridiculous, behaves deviously, has no proper arguments against GM and loses the girl. His fiancee listens to the rational scientist and furthers her career by promoting GM foods. We're told that science is pure and unbiased and that only scientists are qualified to comment on GM.
The debate that followed was led by Dr. Belinda Clarke, the scientific advisor, who works at the John Innes Centre and writes regular pieces for Norwich's "Eastern Daily Press" extolling the virtues of GM crops.
The misinformation on offer included:
Big business is a good thing and biotechnology firms are helping the Third World by providing their expertise, often free of charge.
GM crops will solve lots of problems by making better crops that last longer and need less herbicide to produce.
Government controls are in place; besides which GM foods go through a lengthy testing process before being produced commercially.
The current crop trials are very thorough and are looking at the effects on microbes in the soil.
Organic farming will never feed the world.
The information pack follows the same trend. Of seven views on GM crops and food, three advise caution (Consumers' Association, GeneWatch and English Nature), while the other four (Dr. Phil Dale of the John Innes Centre, Rev. Dr. Michael Reiss, Dr. Bernard Dixon and Monsanto) are strongly in favour of GM crops and foods. Significantly, these four have ten pages against their opponents' five.
John Innes Centre scientists have already manipulated genes and tried unsuccessfully to manipulate us. It appears that our offspring are the next target.