There has never been a more important time for GMWatch’s global news and analysis
Our current “Make ’em pay!” fundraiser is proving one of our most successful, so a big thank you to all who have already supported our work. And if you haven’t yet, please do!
We’re going to explain why your support is so vital in a moment, but first we wanted to mention that we were particularly touched – humbled even – by a donation from the lifelong social justice activist Chandler Davis, who was responding to claims that GMWatch was part of Russia’s “active measures” and had no place “in civilized society”.
Chandler Davis knows all about McCarthyism, having not just been sacked from his University of Michigan post during the McCarthy era, but also jailed for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Chandler, who subsequently found refuge in Canada and these days is Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, told us, “I have been agitating, sometimes visibly, against misuse and misrepresentation of science, since the 1940s. This is important work, and I greatly appreciate your vigilance and the high quality of your analyses.”
But while many people told us they’d been amused by “Make ’em pay!”, some also emphasised that there has never been a more important time than now for us to be alerting the world to the impacts of GMO crops and their associated pesticides.
We totally get that. And this is also why we’re again asking for your support because the next twelve months are going to be absolutely critical for all of us.
The world is currently beset by what George Monbiot calls the “killer clowns” – sociopathic buffoons who head up self-dealing corrupt administrations full of former(?) corporate lobbyists.
The killer clown de jour is Boris Johnson, who in three separate speeches after becoming UK Prime Minister flagged up his intention to “liberate” the UK “from anti-genetic modification rules”.
He also wants the kind of Brexit that will force Britain into a disaster-capitalist trade deal with the US, which will completely trash its environmental, farming and food standards. And if the UK can be reduced to a vassal state for multinational business interests, this will in turn be used to try and undermine regulatory barriers in Europe and elsewhere.
Johnson, of course, is dancing to Donald Trump’s tune. Trump recently signed an executive order telling his administration to urgently “develop an international strategy to remove unjustified trade barriers and expand markets for products of agricultural biotechnology”, i.e. to “liberate” other countries “from anti-genetic modification rules”. And Trump’s secretary of state and former CIA chief was caught on tape saying he would be seeking to intervene to stop the leader of the UK’s main opposition Party from becoming Prime Minister.
The Amazon burns
Meanwhile, another killer clown that Trump supports, Jair Bolsonaro (centre in the banner image), is presiding over the fires raging in the Amazon that have been set by farmers aiming to aggressively expand their massive GMO soy monocultures. The region’s vital Gran Chaco forest and the Cerrado are also being illegally razed for GMO crops.
As well as helping drive climate and ecological collapse, GMO soy cultivation, with its massive use of pesticides, is also a direct threat to the human rights and health of rural people, as a landmark decision by the UN Human Rights Committee on the poisoning of a community in Paraguay has just established.
And globally, the agrichemical industry’s toxic grip on the human food chain is growing ever more intense as it rolls out new GMO crops that are tolerant not just to Roundup but also to dicamba, 2,4-D, and other toxic and volatile chemicals.
A new wave of genetic engineering – gene-editing – is also being used to drive yet more herbicide-tolerant crops. And governments around the world are being lobbied to take a deregulatory approach to these new technologies, with governments like Australia’s and Japan’s already attempting to commit to such an approach, while the rest, including Europe, face intense lobbying.
In the case of India, the agrichemical lobbyists are not just knocking on the door. They’re also coming in the back door to deliberately spread illegal GMO crops and glyphosate, which is banned in some parts of India.
Africa – like the Amazon – is also a major industry target for GMO expansion, with several African governments having been cowed into supporting even some of the most extreme forms of genetic engineering.
The good news is that resistance to the industry’s latest onslaughts is springing up everywhere.
So please help GMWatch do what we do best in these circumstances: highlight the emerging issues, counter the industry’s propaganda, expose its dubious tactics and front men, and help catalyse the resistance.
Thank you again for your generous support.
Claire Robinson and Jonathan Matthews