Why the green revolution under the microscope will fail to feed the world’s billions

December 31, 2011 ST. LOUIS, MONow that 94 percent of the soy and 70 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, Monsanto — one of the companies that dominates the GMO seed market  — might look to some like it’s winning. But if we look a little closer, I’d say they’re holding on by a thread. Their current success is due in large part to brilliant marketing. The company’s approach was both compelling — their products were sold as the key to making large-scale farming far simpler and more predictable — and aggressive: Monsanto made it virtually impossible for most farmers to find conventional seeds for sale in most parts of the country. Despite promises of improved productivity, enhanced nutritional content, or extreme weather tolerance — none of which has ever come to market — Monsanto has only ever produced seeds with two genetically modified traits: either herbicide tolerance or pesticide production. And even those traits never lived up to the marketing hype. But it now appears that the core traits themselves are failing. Over the last several years, so-called “super-weeds” have grown resistant to the herbicide RoundUp, the companion product that’s made Monsanto’s herbicide-tolerant (aka RoundUp-Ready) corn, soy, and alfalfa so popular. Those crops were supposed to be the only plants that could withstand being sprayed by the chemical. Oops. The super-weed problem is so bad that farmers in some parts of the country are abandoning thousands of acres because the weeds are so out of control, or dousing the crops with ever more toxic (and expensive) combinations of other herbicides. Thankfully, it’s an issue that’s getting more and more media attention. And now Monsanto’s other flagship product line, the pesticide-producing “Bt crops,’ named for the pesticide they are genetically modified to emit, is in trouble. Scientists have warned that insects would become resistant from the overuse of BT crops. Even so, when the EPA first considered BT crops for approval, agency scientists wanted a 50-percent buffer to prevent resistance (only half the acreage in any given field could be planted with BT crops). Of course, if that demand stood, there is no way that Monsanto would ever have achieved their current market dominance. Monsanto was so convinced (publicly at least) of their products’ immunity from, well, an immunity problem, that they pushed back hard and got the buffer zone reduced to 20 percent. The idea with a larger buffer was that any resistant bugs that arose would breed with the bugs feeding on the non-BT crops nearby, and ecological balance would be preserved. So, by requiring a small buffer, EPA higher-ups were echoing Monsanto’s party line: Resistance isn’t a risk. Sadly, even that 20-percent rule has been ignored by many farmers, with no fear of retribution from Monsanto for violating safety protocols, of course. After all, the smaller the buffer, the more of their profit-earning GMO seeds farmers were planting. –Grist
contribution Tim
About these ads
This entry was posted in Civilizations unraveling, Climate unraveling, Dark Ages, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Environmental Threat, Famine Threat, Food chain unraveling. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Why the green revolution under the microscope will fail to feed the world’s billions

  1. jones2012 says:

    Monsanto is out of control just like their super weeds. Pure evil.

    Like

  2. Mike Lavender says:

    I have an 800 sq ft vegetable garden in SW Michigan. I weed it manually, not wanting to use chemicals on plants that produce our food. During the past two years, I have noticed a tremendous increase in the size, growth rate and re-growth rate of weeds in the garden. I wonder if herbicide induced super weeds are pollinating and spreading on to lands of owners like myself who want nothing to do with chemically based agriculture and have become victimized by it.

    Like

  3. Dennis E. says:

    This will/is leading to mass food shortages world wide. Another method of control.

    Like

  4. There are a couple of great documentaries on Monsanto,
    ” The world according to Monsanta ” and ” Food Inc ” the former touches quite a bit on their ruthlessness. A good eye opener for those less familiar with the subject.
    Great post Alvin!

    Like

  5. jeff a. says:

    Mike
    Knowledge of the land and food security are critical skills i commend you for learning them.
    Myself I brought in 70 yards of bark mulch last year, the cheap stuff is called hog fuel and is easily found here in the states. Most seeds need soil to germinate and mulch creates a barrier preventing them from doing so, this method also smothers those weeds that are existing in your garden right now. It is the key to combating weeds. This method also keeps the soil hydrated and It promotes biodiversity and biological activity.
    I covered my soil with about 12 inches of it for a reasonable price. Now is the time to act.
    When I plant what I do is uncover the soil only where I intend to plant, test Ph and amend where needed with organic soil improver’s ( dolomite, chicken etc) then when the season is over simply pull or till in the crops after harvest and re cover the areas where I grew my crops thus blocking out the weeds. personally I grow my squash and tomatoes in containers then its easy to move that soil after the season is over to other areas in the yard that need help its a simple method of crop rotation and I only have a quarter acre so space is at a premium.
    Take a look at my friends website therealgarden.com. He is the best at residential intensive vegetable gardening.and he is really good at a higher level of understanding gardening than I am. He has no commercial interests and only runs this site for our benefit.
    My problem now is preserving the harvest because a lot of it comes all at one time.
    I am interested in good ideas of food preservation is anybody out there schooled up in this area?
    Best regards
    Jeff

    Like

    • Elizabeth says:

      Jeff, for short term preservation (like one year) canning and freezing are best. For longer term, you can buy a dehydrator for a reasonable price, and dehydrate both fruits and veggies. For meat, the best way to go is make jerky. There are numerous websites and books to help you with these methods.

      Thanks for the posting the link to your friend’s gardening site; I too am a budding gardener, intending to grow all of own produce. I am working on plans for a solar genny powered greenhouse for long term production. I have to grow above ground in containers, the earth under my land is too much red clay, and I have a severly injured back, so I can’t bend over to garden in the ground. But whatever works and feeds us real food, right?

      Like

  6. Tim says:

    Famine
    Farmer feeds GMO corn to his pigs: they all become sterile

    complete interview

    Like

All comments are moderated. We reserve the right not to post any comment deemed defamatory, inappropriate, or spam.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s