As part of a private writer’s group, I was asked, “What really makes you angry about the world?” It turns out that my first thoughts – child abuse, the horrors of war, and man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man in general, don’t make me angry, so much as very sad.
Then a light bulb went off! Corporate greed and unaccountability flew to the top of the list.
Example? Monsanto being largely responsible for the suicides of over a quarter of a million farmers in India. And that is only in India and only through 2012. In 2009 alone, over 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide – one every 30 minutes.
But the problem is on the rise globally, everywhere genetically modified seeds are sown. In the Midwestern US, suicide rates among male farmers are twice that of the overall population. In Britain, one farmer commits suicide every week. It’s referred to as GM Genocide.
So how could Monsanto be at all responsible? First you need to know more about genetically modified (GM) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds.
1) Compared to traditional seeds, GM seeds are very expensive and have to be repurchased every season. In the olden days, a farmer would reserve part of his harvest to start the next year’s crop.
2) Genetically engineered crops require much more water, fertilizer and pesticides to grow, and in spite of Monsanto’s claims to the contrary, these increased costs provide no increased yield to the farmers.
According to Voltairenet.org:
“When Monsanto first introduced Bt Cotton in 2002, the farmers lost 1 billion rupees due to crop failure. Instead of 1,500 kilos per acre as promised by the company, the harvest was as low as 200 kilos per acre. Instead of incomes of 10,000 rupees an acre, farmers ran into losses of 6,400 rupees an acre.”
Debt and despair, caused by GM seeds from global corporations like Monsanto, are the prime reasons for this unconscionable atrocity. I could go on about the horrors of genetically modified/engineered seeds but I will save that for another blog and share instead what I am doing about it:
1) I buy organic whenever I can.
2) I will vote here in Oregon in November, YES on 92 – so that the labels on our food will tell us if the item contains GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Sixty three countries already demand this and it does not increase costs or prices at all – labels are reprinted every 12 months or so anyway and companies are given longer than this to comply.
3) I educate people about the destruction by GMOs of the environmental; our air, earth and aquifers, our health and our lives contaminated by toxins.
4) I support and promote organizations that are of a like mind – Organic Consumers Association, Center for Food Safety and others. Seeds for Hope Campaign encourages:
~ A shift from GMO and non renewable seeds to organic, open pollinated seed varieties which farmers can save and share.
~ A shift from chemical farming to organic farming.
~ A shift from unfair trade based on false prices to fair trade based on real and just prices.
The farmers who have made these shifts are earning 10 times more than the farmers growing Monsanto’s Bt-cotton.
Of course Monsanto and other similar companies are not totally to blame for the appalling number of suicides in India. There are many contributing factors including limited water supplies, banks folding and causing farmers to turn to high interest loan sharks, and even world economic conditions. There is no doubt, however, that the major cause stems from GM seeds.
For a personal up-close look at the farmer’s plight, read Dr. Joseph Mercola’s story here:
My Firsthand Experience: How GMOs Cause Farmer Suicide