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Organic Consumers Association

Why Monsanto Won the Angry Mermaid Award

  • By Alexis Baden-Mayer & Ronnie Cummins
    Organic Consumers Association

[Angry Mermaid Press Release and Videos]

[Reuters News Report on the Angry Mermaid Awards]

Climate activists have hung Copenhagen's "Angry Mermaid Award" around Monsanto's neck for being a "corporate climate criminal." Monsanto, perhaps the world's most hated corporation, is a major driving force in polluting the atmosphere with billions of pounds of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases (Co2, methane, and nitrous oxide), while at the same time offering false high-tech solutions -- profiting off biotech bullying, environmental destruction, a highly subsidized and unhealthy food chain, and rural poverty.

Even though food security experts agree that mitigating and adapting to climate change is going to require a return to non-GMO organic agriculture, Monsanto has been successful in promoting itself in the US and among world leaders as a so-called no-till "sustainable agriculture" company helping farmers survive climate change by selling them genetically engineered seeds that resist drought and flood.

In fact, Monsanto has never commercialized a single drought or flood-resistant crop. Monsanto's seeds are resistant to one thing: Monsanto's toxic (and increasingly expensive) herbicide RoundUp, which farmers are forced to buy, (and consumers are forced to consume) in ever-larger quantities.

Monsanto rapidly saturated the market with its Frankenseeds by buying up seed companies and making conventional varieties unavailable, and then bullying governments in the Global South, including US-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, to accept laws that recognize patents on life and prevent farmers from breeding, saving and sharing seeds.

Monsanto's goal is to patent living organisms, monopolize seeds, outlaw seed saving, and economically and legally enslave farmers, thereby destroying the "competition," the seed and crop biodiversity that farmers have painstakingly cultivated over the last 10,000 years. Instead of the 20,000 different kinds of corn, the 4,000 kinds of potatoes, and the tens thousand other food crops bred for different climates and characteristics, Monsanto wants to make available just a few varieties that are genetically modified to require their chemicals.

Life on Earth will become Life in Hell if Monsanto is allowed to tighten its stranglehold over our seeds and food. To mitigate climate change, we need to shift from chemical and energy-intensive industrial agriculture to organic farming practices on the world's 12 billion acres of farm, pasture, and rangeland (thereby cleaning up 40-100% of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere) and at the same time drastically reduce the 44-52% of greenhouse gases directly or indirectly caused by industrial agriculture: carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels, cutting down rainforests and destroying soil fertility; methane (CH4) from animal factory farms and rotting non-composted waste in garbage dumps; and nitrous oxide from billions of pounds of nitrate-based fertilizer. To save the climate and ourselves, we need to break Monsanto's stranglehold over food and farming, and instead protect and support the world's remaining 1.5 billion traditional and organic small farmers - the peasants and family farmers who produce 75% of the world's food and fiber and steward what's left of the world's crop and animal biodiversity.

The most devious part of Monsanto's business model is that their Frankenseeds can cross-pollinate with organic and traditional varieties, destroying their unique biodiversity and infecting them with genetically engineered chemical dependence. The Angry Mermaid Award recognizes Monsanto for threatening human survival by pushing a greenhouse gas belching industrial food system that is killing people with obesity and diet-related diseases, while actively attacking healthy alternatives by unleashing genetic pollution that has already begun to contaminate the diverse seed stock that organic and traditional farmers are trying to preserve.

We are in a race against time. Monsanto has already endangered the world's corn, soy, cotton, and canola by saturating the US market with their experiments in genetic engineering. Monsanto's modification of food crops has already modified life as we know it.

With Monsanto's genes in roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., there probably isn't much conventional or even organic soy or corn that hasn't been contaminated. Foreign countries that accept our food aid or are subject to "free trade" agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement are being contaminated, too, even if they haven't officially accepted genetically modified crops. Monsanto corn imported into Mexico for food and feed has been found growing in ditches and ancient Mexican varieties have already been contaminated.

Monsanto was only a niche player in the seed business 12 years ago when it began buying seed companies and aggressively patenting seed genetics. Monsanto bought 24 independent seed companies in the last few years alone and now it has control over as much as 90 percent of seed genetics.

How can we let one corporation have so much power over the world's food supply? We must stop Monsanto before it's too late!

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