Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

A comparison of US Midwest non-GM with GM corn shows shockingly high levels of glyphosate as well as formaldehyde, and severely depleted of mineral nutrients in the GM corn.

by Dr Mae-Wan Ho

The results of a comparison
of GM and non-GM corn from adjacent Midwest fields in the US that first
appeared on the Moms Across America March website [1] are reproduced in Table
1.

Table 1   Comparison between GM and non-GM corn grown side by side*


  Parts per million (ppm)
Ingredient GM corn Non-GM corn

Glyphosate 13 0
Formaldehyde 200 0
Nitrogen 7 46
Phosphorus 3 44
Potassium 7 113
Calcium 14 6 130
Magnesium 2 113
Sulphur 3 42
Manganese 2 14
Iron 2 14
Zinc 2.3 14.3
Copper 2.6 16
Molybdenum 0.2 1.5
Boron 0.2 1.5
Selenium 0.6 0.3
Cobalt 0.2 1.5


*The GM corn was grown in a field that has been no-till, continuous GM corn (Roundup Ready) for 5-10 years and with a glyphosate herbicide weed control regime for all of the 10 years. The Non-GM corn has not had glyphosate (or Roundup) applied to the field for at least five years. The GM corn test weight was 57.5 lb; and non-GMCorn test weight 61.5 lb.

As Zen Honeycutt, who posted the report commented, glyphosate, shown to be toxic at 1 ppm, is present at 13 ppm in the GM corn. Similarly, formaldehyde at 200 ppm is 200 times the level known to be toxic in animals.

The GM corn was also severely depleted in essential minerals: 14 ppm vs 6 130 ppm calcium; 2 ppm vs 113 ppm of magnesium; 2 ppm vs 14 ppm of manganese; 3 ppm vs 44 ppm of phosphate; 3 ppm vs 42 ppm of sulphur, and so on.

It is not surprising that this analysis has been carried out independently; i.e., not by biotech companies. It was done by farmers themselves. The high level of glyphosate is bad enough. Scientific evidence on glyphosate accumulated over three decades documents miscarriages, birth defects, carcinogenesis, endocrine disruption, DNA damage, neurotoxicity, and toxicity to liver and kidney at levels well below recommended agricultural use (see our recent review [2] Why Glyphosate Should Be Banned, SiS 56). The presence of formaldehyde – a genotoxic and neurotoxic poison at such enormous concentration – is totally unexpected.

Analysis obtained by Midwest farmers

Howard Vlieger, a crop nutrition advisor working with family farmers in 10 states across the US, who has been involved in the study and research of GMOs since 1996, explained in an interview [3] that people want “a side by side comparison” of the corn in the same soil conditions with the only difference being the application of glyphosate based herbicide on the GM Roundup Ready (RR) corn and a conventional herbicide on the non-GM corn. “This has not been done and cannot be done according to the technology agreement signed by a farmer planting GM seed without being at risk of being sued by the patent holder of the GM RR corn,” he said.

In this case, however, ears of corn from two adjacent corn fields in the Midwest, separated only by a fence, were sampled two weeks before harvest. The corn fields were selected by a third party and the samples collected in exactly the same manner. The separately bagged ears of corn were shelled from the cob and the grain samples sent to the lab for glyphosate testing. The non-GM corn field has not been sprayed with glyphosate for at least five years (see Table 1).

The samples were sent to a certified laboratory where it was prepared for testing on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, an analytical method in which chemical compounds are first separated on a chromatographic column according to their size and charge and other chemical properties, and then ionized and identified based on mass to charge ratios. The RR corn tested contained 13 ppm glyphosate – coincidentally the EPA’s newly set legal limit of glyphosate in corn – while the other non-GM corn sample tested free of any glyphosate. The RR corn sample that tested positive for the glyphosate residue also tested positive for formaldehyde at a level of 200 ppm.

Where does the highly toxic formaldehyde come from?

Plant pathologist and retired Purdue University professor Don Huber, who has been sounding dire warnings on glyphosate poisoning crops, soil, livestock, and people (see [4] USDA Scientist Reveals All – Glyphosate Hazards to Crops, Soils, Animals, and Consumers, SiS 53), commented that formaldehyde can come from degradation of glyphosate [5]. But it can also come from normal plant 1-C metabolism, as for example, de-methylation of serine to glycine plus formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde does not exist in the free-state in a healthy normal plant. It is a toxic compound that reacts with proteins, nucleic acids and lipids, and has been classified as a mutagen and suspected carcinogen [6]. Formaldehyde is also neurotoxic, and at ~100 ppm induced amyloid-like misfolding of tau protein, leading to the formation of protein aggregates similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease; followed by programmed cell death of the neurons [7]. In normal cells and organisms, formaldehyde is detoxified by glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase (GDFDase) to formic acid [8]. GDFDase is dependent on zinc [9], and it is likely that the chelating action of glyphosate [4] may be responsible for inhibiting the enzyme’s activity by depriving it of zinc.

“Of course the scariest part of this is that any RR plant (corn, soybean, canola, cotton, sugar beet or alfalfa) that is sprayed with glyphosate could potentially produce formaldehyde … and then the formaldehyde would unknowingly end up in the feed and food supply.” Vlieger said [3]. The accumulation of formaldehyde was not due to any unusual environmental stress experienced by the GM corn. “This corn was not raised in an area that was affected by the extreme drought conditions of 2012.”

He also told UK group GMWatch [10] that the glyphosate and formaldehyde could “explain the continuing problems we are witnessing in livestock operations with poor animal health when GMO feed stuffs are in the diet.”

Obviously, the analysis should be repeated on more samples of GM and non-GM corn grown side by side to see if these remarkable differences could be replicated. If so, we can only conclude that previous data submitted by and for the companies that found GM corn “substantially equivalent” to non-GM corn must have been fraudulent, and the perpetrators need to be brought to justice.

Further Reading:

References:

  1. “Stunning corn comparison: GMO versus non GMO”, Zen Honeycutt, 15 March 2013, Moms Across America March, http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/stunning_corn_comparison_gmo_versus_non_gmo
  2. Sirinathsinghji E and Ho MW. Why glyphosate should be banned. Science in Society 56, 21-32, 2012.
  3. “More info on 2012 corn comparison report 12 April 2013, Zen Honeycutt, Mom Across America March 4 July, http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/more_info_on_2012_corn_comparison_report
  4. Sirinathsinghji E. USDA scientist reveals all, glyphosate hazards to crops, soils, animals and consumers. Science in Society 53, 36-39, 2012.
  5. Huber D. Formaldehyde and glyphosate in corn. Powerpoint presentation, 2012.
  6. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk for Humans 62, Wood Dust and Formaldehyde, IARC, Lyon, 1995.
  7. Nie CL, Wang XS, Liu Y, Perrett S and He RQ. Amyloid-like aggregates induced by formaldehyde promote apoptosis of neuronal cells BMC Neurosci 2007, 8, 9.
  8. Achkor H, Diaz M, Fernandez MR, Biosca JA, Pares X and Martinez MC. Enhanced formaldehyde detoxification by overexpression of glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase from Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 2003, 132, 2248-55.
  9. Barber RD, Ott MA and Donohue TJ. Characterization of a glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. J Bacteriol 1996, 178, 1386-93.
  10. GMWatch Comment on 2012 corn comparison report. 19 April 2013, www.GMWatch.org

45 Responses to ““Stunning” Difference of GM from non-GM Corn”

  1. Deborah Farrell

    I do not support GMOs in agriculture because is supports petrochemical-dependent monocultures and damages food sovereignty, social justice for farmers and soil health. But I have been trying to find the study these figures are based on (Moms Across America isn’t a scientific journal last time I looked) and the trail keeps leading back to an unreferenced document published by an agricultural services company called Profit Pro. If you can link directly to the published scientific study this information comes from I would be grateful. If not, I would request that you hold yourself to the same standards you expect from biotech companies; transparency, honesty and good, hard science. Otherwise, this could be construed as hysterical pseudo-science which only serves to weaken to anti-GMO case. What is ‘stunning’ is this piece made it onto this excellent website.

    Reply
  2. Anthony

    Great article that all of us should be re-posting. I’ll be sending it to my high school students tomorrow. I have been reviewing Dr. Mae-Wan Ho’s work with them for years.

    Reply
  3. Sue Batstone

    I hope this study gets very wide coverage in the media and press. Well done ISIS! Perhaps bear in mind that not all GM material is RR – Roundup Ready. Glyphosphate in Roundup is the culprit to my mind, especially when formulated with adjuvants based on tallow amines (which hit amphibians really hard). I suspect soil biology is also greatly impacted by the spray regimes – Maize plants under stress are greatly assisted by soil fungi (mycorrhizae) where good populations are present. http://www.fungi.com has details of simple trials demonstrating this very clearly.

    Reply
  4. Marianne Green

    I have to agree with Deborah. Much as I would like to believe in these figures, there needs to be valid references as well as further studies. Otherwise it does leave one vulnerable to this kind of comment –
    “I see. “Vince” from the De Dell Seed Company was momsacrossamerica’s source. And the story about formaldehyde came from Elizabeth Dougherty’s Talk Radio. Is this as good as it gets?” following my mention of these figures on a Guardian CIF.

    Reply
  5. DeepGreenGreenie

    I’m anything but a fan of GMO’s but I think that this is a very flawed study. How can you say that the differences are solely due to glyphosate? These are two separate plots of land and may have some very distinct differences beyond glyphosate.

    At this point, this is a unsubstantiated, unverified analysis that is being transformed virally into something it may not be.

    Come on, PRI. Ask for the original report.

    Reply
  6. Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor

    Hi All

    For those unhappy about not having a fully transparent study released, etc., I fully concur! But, please realise that anyone who attempts to do this leaves themselves open to being sued. Scientists who would undertake such a study leave themselves wide open to lose their livelihoods. GMOs are protected by law and the best lawyers money can buy. It’s their ‘technology’, you see.

    We should be pressing for democratic mechanisms to work in our favour here, as no David is going to win with this particular Goliath, without the support of wider society. You can ask Monsanto to run such an experiment, transparently under the watchful eye of several unbiased independent laboratories (don’t hold your breath – it won’t happen!), or you can read such posts as above, and make up your own mind. While I’d love to give you all a fully referenced study – done to rigorous scientific standards and multi-independently verified and cross-checked – for the moment, all I can do is give you what I can, until we have enough people storming the streets demanding for the right to know – and treating Monsanto’s self-protecting legislation as it should be treated: an obstacle to the search for truth and knowledge.

    See this, from here:

    See follow up comments from a 3rd generation farmer who is not connected to the report but knows of the report.

    “People want to know the genetic makeup of the GM RR corn and the genetic makeup of the non-GM corn. They want a side by side comparison of the same genetics with a complete nutritional analysis of each after being raised with the same fertility and the in the same soil conditions with the only difference being the application of glyphosate based herbicide on the GM RR corn and a conventional herbicide on the non-GM corn. This has not been done and cannot be done without being at risk of being sued by the patent holder of the GM RR corn. The wording in the technology agreement for the GM RR corn makes it illegal to conduct such an experiment without the written consent of the patent holder.

    This is the scenario from which the formaldehyde corn was detected.

    Corn ears from two adjacent corn fields in Iowa (separated only by a fence row) were selected for sampling 2 weeks prior to harvest. The corn fields were selected by a third party to potentially provide corn that would test free of any glyphosate residue in the grain as this grain would end up in the human food supply. The samples were collected from the adjacent fields in the exact same manner. Walking from the edge and corner of the field the sampler collected the sample ears of corn 18 rows in from the side of the field and five paces in from the end of the field and then collecting another ear of corn every five paces until enough ears were collected for the required sample. The same process was repeated in the adjacent field. The separately bagged ears of corn were then shelled from the cob and then the grain samples were sent to the lab for glyphosate testing. One of the samples tested to contain 13 ppm (the EPA’s legal limit of glyphosate in corn) of glyphosate residue, this was RR corn. The other sample tested to be free of any glyphosate residue and this was non-GMO corn. The corn sample that tested positive for the glyphosate residue (RR) also tested positive for formaldehyde at a level of 200 ppm.

    Dr. Huber ( who is not connected to the report, just commented on the report) believes the formaldehyde can come from two sources: either degradation of glyphosate to Aminomethyl phosphonicacid (AMPA) and then to formaldehyde or from normal plant metabolism via serine to glycine plus formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is normally metabolized to CO2 through the C1 cycle (PGA mediated) so it would appear that that process is blocked. It is not likely that the formaldehyde came from the degradation of the glyphosate within the plant as the glyphosate needs to metabolize to AMPA first before breaking down to formaldehyde. AMPA is toxic to all plants. It is believed that because of the chelating effects of the glyphosate in the plant that the normal processes in the plant did not function properly and the plant actually made the formaldehyde or the effect of the glyphosate on the enzymatic processes in the plant were disrupted. Lab and green house testing is needed to verify this. Of course the scariest part of this is that any RR plant (corn, soybean, canola, cotton, sugar beet or alfalfa) that is sprayed with glyphosate could potentially produce formaldehyde when it is sprayed with glyphosate and then the formaldehyde would unknowingly end up in the feed and food supply.

    This corn was not raised in an area that was effected by the extreme drought conditions of 2012.”

    At the moment, corporations write their own rules, and apparently we have no right to know or choose. Welcome to the corporatocracy.

    I suggest that if you were to complain about something, that you instead focus your attention on why reports like these are as they are…. Get to the heart of the matter. Knocking down any attempt to bring info to the public is not going to get us where we need to go. Imagine if you were the one who went out of his/her way, at great expense (and even legal risk) to bring this material to the wider world, and you then saw thousands of people complaining about what you’d done on their behalf — your best effort within risky legal constraints.

    Complain about the report, and make Monsanto smile. Complain about what’s stopping people from making full, thorough, rigorously checked studies, and then maybe we’ll get somewhere.

    The fact that Monsanto won’t allow such studies to take place tells me all I need to know. At the very least, it certainly leaves me feeling comfortable putting such posts up as above.

    Reply
  7. Ulrich Riemann

    The details of the GM corn cannot be disclosed due to a license agreement? Who signed such a license agreement in the first place? Coming back crying now?

    A disclaimer on http://www.profitproag.com should be considered.

    Anyway, the patent is published, so why not tell us the patent number? Everyone interested can look it up. If this is all about Round-Up and Monsanto, the patent is probably expired anyway.

    There is just too much mystery crap around this whole story to give it any credibility. Like a friend put it: if you put glyphosate in your field you will find glyphosate.

    From my point I seriously doubt the proper application of glyphosate by that farmer. How much glyphosate applied at what times and with what type of equipment?

    Reply
  8. DeepGreenGreenie

    Having the report released is one thing. But PRI distributing this kind of unsubstantiated info is something entirely different. It’s about the credibility of PRI.

    Reply
  9. Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor

    I’m fascinated how we’ve allowed ourselves to get so accustomed to nonsense (i.e. the situation where we’re not legally allowed to fully examine and publish the truth about what we’re eating), that we ignore the things that matter, and instead attack any effort to counteract that nonsense.

    Society has been well trained.

    Again, how can we put up ‘substantiated’ studies? Who will dare make them?

    Do we just roll over and ignore whatever information that may come to light?

    You are not forced to believe the study – but perhaps it will inspire/motivate you or someone you know to make your own study. Maybe it’ll even motivate someone to risk all and do it in a fully peer-reviewed way.

    I refuse to be a Monsanto apologist. If the study is not correct, then Monsanto should do the right thing, and allow a full-blown, unbiased and scientifically peer reviewed study to disprove it.

    I’m not holding my breath… and in the meantime, the article stays.

    Reply
  10. DeepGreenGreenie

    Hey, we all have our agendas though few of us clearly state them. You, at least, have. That merits a plus in the credibility ratings.

    Reply
  11. Marianne Green

    Well said, Craig. I’ve decided to circulate it anyway and try to cope with any negative responses as best I can.

    Reply
  12. Ulrich Riemann

    Craig shares with us today his opinion about the value of objectivity. Thank you for that.

    In any case I still have to point out some very incorrect statements that should “prove” that an independent analysis of food would not be possible. Facts are: a farmer has signed a license agreement with a seed supplier, a legally binding contract between 2 business partners. I would say, negative consequences are clearly the farmers fault. But anyway, after harvest the farmer sells his crop to a buyer who is not bound by any agreement with the seed supplier and can do whatever analysis he pleases. If any fear of retaliation exists, this could be done anonymously. How could the original seed supplier legally block the publication???

    The formaldehyde: where does it come from? Everything points to somebody spraying glyphosate on the corn plants used for samples like crazy all the way up to harvest. That is the reason why the plant could not complete disposing of the formaldehyde properly. I would say the test results were intentionally influenced.

    This whole story is about incorrect use of glyphosate (GM or no-GM seeds used doesn’t matter at all here), the most used herbicide in the world. It is used in vast quantities without combining it with glyphosate resistant (roundup ready) crop varieties. Outrageous effects like this have never been reported. Glyphosate is commonly used around the world without signing a license agreements and considered very safe.

    The “analysis results” have been leaked by the website of a commercial seller (“ProfitPro”) of non-GMO seeds as a marketing tool reportedly against the will of those who paid for the analysis. What are we making out of this?

    Craig, your arguments are extremely weak. You could find much better ways to support your agenda, if that’s what this is all about.

    Reply
  13. Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor

    Ulrich. I’m not sure you should be so confident about the safety of glysophate:

    http://permaculturenews.org/2012/11/01/why-glyphosate-should-be-banned-a-review-of-its-hazards-to-health-and-the-environment/

    And please take the time to read the following article I wrote some time back, and you’ll have a better view of my thoughts on pesticides:

    http://permaculturenews.org/2008/08/12/which-came-first-pests-or-pesticides/

    Craig, your arguments are extremely weak. You could find much better ways to support your agenda, if that’s what this is all about.

    I’m not actually making any arguments. All I’m doing is allowing I-SIS to publish on our site, with the idea that people should know of this report, and allowing people to make up their own minds and possibly adhere to the precautionary principle for their own safety – or, even better, to encourage people to study this issue further. Given that an enormous amount of food and drink in the US has GMO corn in it (often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup), I think it prudent that we be allowed to examine this in detail. If such reports as that above help incentivise/motivate a full blown, peer reviewed study, then I’m keen to play my part in raising this issue.

    I find it amusing you’re complaining about my ‘arguments’, but your ‘arguments’ are pure speculation.

    If you think pouring poison on our food is smart, well, that’s your choice.

    Reply
  14. Ulrich Riemann

    “If you think pouring poison on our food is smart, well, that’s your choice.” Craig, I believe this says a lot more about you than me. Is this an appropriate statement for the PRI Editor?

    I do not speculate, I happen to know quite a bit about glyphosate and its use including testing for negative effects. No agrochemical should ever been taken lightly. I am against the RR system for many reasons. Here in Africa glyphosate is used quite successfully for no-till planting in combination with open pollinated maize. GMO is not common. For a small African farmer spraying a cheap herbizide manually is so much cheaper than hiring a plow.

    How do you know, the “GMO” sample in the underlying analysis is a Monsanto variety as you said earlier? Where is the source for that information? Glyphosate resistant corn exists from at least 4 alternative suppliers!

    Do you have any information about a highly toxic corn syrup on the market I should avoid pouring on anybodies food? With all the RR corn produced in the US and this analysis applicable in general, lots of people would be dying of toxic corn syrup by now. No? But are you sure glyphosate or the formaldehyde levels discovered in the sample would survive processing of corn to syrup? Or is this actually another wild, unfounded speculation?

    See, like in so many similar discussions people want to bash Monsanto for their own personal reasons. I couldn’t care less. But neither is Monsanto the inventor nor the technology leader in the application of molecular biology in crop science. Monsanto bashing = Roundup (Glyphosate) bashing = GMO bashing, that common line of thinking and talking is simply insane. Its also potentially harmful to ongoing efforts of feeding the poor in spite of a catastrophic impact of a climate change they have never caused.

    Most Monsanto marketed GMO RR-crops have been developed 20+ years ago. Molecular biology today is a completely different ball game. The lovers of the traditional Monsanto wars should keep that in mind.

    Reply
  15. Carolyn Payne

    Clearly Ulrich is not interested in Permaculture, so I might suggest he is on this site giving Craig a hard time and fogging about with the GM issue for his own mono-culture reasons.
    I wonder if there are Permaculture People in Ghana working to support and develop small scale, traditional, mixed species, locally appropriate food growing systems, more power to them.

    Reply
  16. Branwen

    Big Ag will always send out the hounds to attempt to discredit something they see as a threat to their profits.

    Goons, trolls, all of them. I have family who works in Big Ag and they stop at nothing to discredit telling evidence such as this. They loathe animal rights activists who expose animal abuse at farms. They begrudge and actively work against people who want to free the world of pesticides that poison our waters, bodies and kill our honey bees. They think I’m loony for advocating natural and earth-friendly techniques and methods–but they are an older generation whose time has come and gone and are being replaced by a more open minded world. They all make big bucks, they like their money, and their power, and their shmoozing with politicians…and they do not like a change to the status quo because it invalidates everything they’ve forced down everyone else’s throats to justify their riches and egos.

    Thank you for this article, I love it, I’ve shared it, and I can’t wait to see more independent studies come out.

    Reply
  17. DeepGreenGreenie

    Based on the last two posts, it would seem that anyone who questions what is posted here is either not interested in permaculture, a mono-culturalist, a hound, a goon or a troll.

    I wonder what makes an article that is critical of GMOs independent and an article that is supportive of GMOs biased, or even bought and paid for. Odds are that following the money on a pro-GMO article will lead to corporate biotech. Following the money on this article leads to a for profit site. Hmmmm.

    I also can’t wait for a followup verifiably independent study. Consider the power in that.

    Reply
  18. DeepGreenGreenie

    Following the money to http://www.profitproag.com/ProfitProGMODisclaimer.htm,

    “ProfitPro’s GMO Disclaimer

    The study “2012 Nutritional Analysis – Comparison of GMO Corn versus Non-GMO Corn” was an analysis of corn itself and not the soil. The analysis was conducted by an independent, outsourced, major food company at the request of one of our growers, and the results were then provided to that grower, who, in turn, made available a copy of the analysis to ProfitPro. The food company purchased the corn from the grower at a substantial premium over market because of the quality of his non-GMO corn.

    This information was intended for our customers only.
    ProfitPro did not give permission for any other web site to use or publish the study.
    Additional side-by-side studies will be conducted this coming year.”

    Since the soil was not tested, perhaps all references to soil should be deleted????????

    Reply
  19. preynolds

    It’s interesting to see the comparison, but the supporting data is incomplete. There is no mention of fertility program of yields of either field. There is mention that the GM field has been planted for 5 years, but no mention of the rotation term on the non-GM field.

    This article is well suited to scare the hell out of the public, but I’m afraid with the data represented, it’d never hold up under a scientific review.

    Reply
  20. DeepGreenGreenie

    Exactly. I would love for the data to be valid but I’m not about to use a report that appears to read into the original “study”. I say appears to read into because ProfitPro’s disclaimer says no soil analysis was done and yet the article all the way through mentions soil. Linking formaldehyde presence to glyphosate GMO corn as has been done is bogus in light of no soil testing. One would also need to know if the non-GMO field had used a re-mineralization programme. If it had used such a program, one would need to see the lab analysis that was the initial basis for re-mineralization.

    It is also difficult to tell whether editing has been done. It appears that the Table 2 data is on Profit Pro’s letterhead but is it? ProfitPro says the food purchaser was interested in a nutritional analysis. I find it a very big leap that the food company also produced Table 2.

    The very fact that biotech companies attempt to block independent lab analysis of their products suggests that there’s an inherent credibility gap in their safety claims. However, for the anti-GMOs to circulate this kind of very questionable information also leads to a credibility problem. More importantly it leaves the anti-GMO forces open to finger pointing by the biotechs. Remember that the biotechs do not have to prove anything in order to prevail if they can achieve confusion and uncertainty. One need only look at their ad campaign on California’s Prop 27 to see how effective that tactic is.

    Reply
  21. preynolds

    First off I’m pro production/producer by whatever means they require to produce a product that increases there profit margin. However, there needs to be assurances that the products they’re producing are safe. I fault both sides for the fervor that currently exists.

    Secondly, it’s nice to know that you “DeepGreenGreenie” have some understanding of the problem and you’re not a “rabid” responder.

    In my opinion there should be a legal ruling that mandates a series of independent (land grant university with ARS involvement) research to evaluate as complete a scenario as possible. This would require assurance that the study meets all the minimum requirements for statistical validity in design and in functionality. There should be multiple research sites across ecoregions (ie – Deserts and central valley of CA, High Plains of Texas, Western KS and NE, Iowa/Illinois/Indiana then the Eastern US). Only then would there be understanding of how the product reacts to varying climatic conditions.

    It’s unfortunate that the biotech industry relies so heavily on laboratory/greenhouse research where external factors are controlled.

    Reply
  22. DeepGreenGreenie

    It may be unfortunate but it’s not surprising. Just as we get the best government that money can buy, so do we get the best research that money can buy. As always, follow the money on both sides of an issue.

    Reply
  23. DebFarms

    I’m a little disappointed to read that Permaculture experts cannot tell that this was a soil study. It actually wasn’t even a study and Earth Open Source will likely be “retracting” it since it’s been ripped apart by scientists and even the high school kids in the summer horticulture program. An offer was made by some university scientists to replicate this experiment but Vleiger, et al backed out. The damage has been done, though. Misinformation and outright lies was picked up and cut-n-pasted on all the anti-GMO sites. They will not do the same with any retractions.

    Reply
  24. James Osborn

    I view genetic modification, as being one of the most important and dangerous tactical elements of the elite, eugenicist initiative to reduce the human population of the planet, to half a billion people. The reason why GM is such an important part of their campaign to do this, is because it will have the practical result of destroying the food supply.

    I am begging everyone who reads this, to mentally abandon any misconceptions that they might have, about genetic modification potentially having any worthwhile or redeemable elements whatsoever. You may accuse me of lacking objectivity on this subject; but my response is that if objectivity means allowing genetic engineering as a process to continue to exist, then, yes, I am utterly devoid of objectivity, and I make no apologies for being so.

    Genetic engineering is a direct threat to the continuation of all carbon based life on this planet; and that is the precise reason why its’ use was initially introduced. Any claim that this process will increase crop yields, or again, that it will result in any positive or redeemable outcome whatsoever, is a complete lie.

    It must be done peacefully, and it must be done in accordance with permaculture’s principles; but make no mistake about it. Genetic modification as a process, and even as a very paradigm, cannot be cohabitated with. It cannot be compromised with, and it cannot be permitted to continue to exist.

    It must be stopped.

    Reply
  25. Marianne Winfield

    I have changed my perspective from my earlier post. In response to DebFarms’s post above, I would suggest that the situation we now face is akin to that of a toddler who has discovered that he can strike a match and create fire, with no understanding of the combustible properties of the materials surrounding him. He is so captivated by his new-found skill and the seemingly magical effects he can produce that he will strike match after match..
    So, do we get teams of scientists to analyse the burning embers of what was once the sofa, to establish cause and effect? Or do we take the common sense route, remove the box of matches and make reparation as best we can?
    We currently have the lethal combination of a business model (corporate hegemony) with its sole obligation to its shareholders and its own growth, over-riding all social, environmental and health considerations, harnessed to (or harnessing) a single-discipline science/technology with zero knowledge of, or reference to the ecological sciences which demonstrate the interconnectedness of all life of this planet. There should be NO application of any genetically engineered product or process which pays no heed to the ecological sciences. Governments have no mandate to authorise a technology which will affect all life and all ecosystems.
    I would suggest that the time has come when the standard protocols (appropriate and valid in normal circumstances) are an encumbrance in this extremely dangerous situation.
    It is imperative that the general public (and hopefully) its government representatives, be alerted and educated as rapidly as possible.
    If the stories being told are not THUS FAR, validated through standard procedures, then so be it.
    I endorse Mae-wan Ho’s appeal to spread the word far and wide.

    Reply
  26. Ulrich Riemann

    Marianna, it would like to applaud to your latest post. However, don’t you leave out the basic principles of evolution in your thoughts? Evolution itself puts mankind’s existence under constant high risk with very little influence from man’s own actions. So how would a call for government initiative be able to change all that? They had their chance for the last 100 years. GMO leaves a chance for evolution, agrochemicals don’t… The time bombs are ticking everywhere.

    And I do have a problem with your view of corporations. They are made up of people who are no different than the rest of us.

    Aren’t the toddlers those who are still stubbornly stumping their foot on the ground after realizing they made a big mistake? See the hilarious comment by a Carolyn Payne about me. Should have googled my name first or looked at our website.

    Reply
  27. Angelo Eliades

    Ulrich, an internet troll or commercial interests, which is it??? Nice attempt at a whitewash…

    So, what sound pro-glyphosate science do you base your opinions on? The commercial perversion and aberration of science known as ‘industry research’? The nonsense and spin coming out of corporate PR departments masquerading as science is shocking. Monsanto’s “glyphosate is less toxic than aspirin” quote is classic junk science.

    I assume you have independent research results that conclusively show that the complex and delicate soil ecology is not affected by glyphosate or the even more toxic but unlisted surfactant in RoundUp?

    “I happen to know quite a bit about glyphosate ” you claim, really? I’m a toxicologist, and your ideas about contaminant glyphosate and formaldehyde somehow not surviving food processing as a hope that such contamination is tolerable is an appalling statement. The US National Toxicology Program classes formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. Formaldehyde decomposes into methanol and carbon monoxide at temperatures above 150°C, but uncatalysed decomposition is slow at temperatures below 300°C. So, no, it doesn’t go away that readily, and the decomposition products methanol and carbon monoxide are also toxic, and are probably likely to react to create further toxic compounds in food.

    Do you understand the mechanism by which glyphosate actually works? The mechanism by which it works as a herbicide limits the uptake of certain minerals, so your GMO RR plants will be less nutrient dense by necessity.

    I laugh when I see the remarks that run along the lines of “if x is bad, where is the research to prove it…” The ploy here is deception. Science cannot prove direct causality in multi-variable systems such as complex biological systems, so you can’t ever say this 100% causes that technically because the other variables in the system aren’t controlled and may be affecting the outcome.

    The smoking lobby tried this old lie in the early days but historical patterns became evident over time and silenced their deception. In humans, smokers dying of cancer may potentially have cancer induced by other causal factors such as exposure to carcinogenic solvents, or may perhaps have a genetic disposition, maybe the cigarettes did contribute, but so did working with toxic solvent based paints perhaps. Even though we can never get test humans to live their entire lifetimes in a sealed glass chambers free of toxic chemicals, where half are allowed to smoke, we know enough about the carcinogenic contents of cigarettes though to be able to infer a causal link and conclude that cigarettes are dangerous. Also through epidemiology, the study of diseases in populations of humans or other animals, we can look back at historical patterns and see the patterns of disease associated with certain factors, such as smoking. We can look back and say x% of smokers died of lung cancer, which is a certain amount of times higher than the norm for non-smokers. maybe in thirty years we will be able to look at the increased incidence of diseases amongst GMO food consumers compared to consumers of organic produce. We know enough about the questionable nature of GMO to safely infer that they are definitely not better for us, and most likely detrimental to our health, until epidemiological studies confirm what most of us without financial or ideological motivations already suspect.

    Goodness, “GMO leaves a chance for evolution” you claim. From my studies in the biological sciences, evolution selects traits that favour the continuation of a species. So, if you contaminate the gene pool of a species with retrovirus fragments, junk DNA, and pieces for genetic code from other species, in an imprecise ‘scattergun’ approach, without any real control or understanding of the outcome, you’re giving the species a “chance”? So, the plant DNA evolved over 400 million years and some person with a financial motive and a mere inkling of an understanding is going to ‘improve’ the organism’s genome??? A bit like popping up the bonnet (hood) of a BMW, taking to it with a hatchet, doing the same to a lawnmower, then tossing the mower parts into the BMW engine bay, and asking a ten year old to reassemble it with the extra parts the best they can, that’s what you’re doing with GMO. And yes, I studied molecular cell biology too if you’re curious!

    Not sure what your game is, but I’m not buying it for a moment…

    Reply
  28. Marianne Winfield

    Hi Ulrich. Two points to pick up on for the moment. I have just had a look at your very interesting website which I shall continue to look through. Where it says “In cooperation with partners from Europe we are running long term tropical testing of many soil amendments and enhancers: biochar, mycorrhiza, microorganism fungal and bacterial mixes and foliar fertilizers” are these simply to be admixed as has been the norm for industrial-style agriculture or is there a clear understanding of the complexity of soil structure and the interconnections bewteen soil flora and fauna,plant biomass, the carbon cycle, humus, water content etc? This is a relatively new science of vast complexity and it seems premature to me to be developing and applying geneticly-enhanced products in advance of such understanding.
    Secondly, of course corporations are made up people like you and me, and of course these people want to provide for their families and enhance their careers. The problem, as I said, is that the corporation in its currently evolved business model has its own core agenda ie profit for its shareholders and infinite self-growth and it is beholden to neither democratic process nor environmental responsibility. An environment in which we are all embedded (including the CEO’s of these companies). At some point the participants in these giant infrastructures will have to realise that ‘economics is a subset of the environment’ not the other way round. I just hope this realisation won’t come after it is too late to undo the harm of unintended consequences. We are dangerously close to that scenario.

    Reply
  29. Carolyn Payne-Gemmell

    Hi Ulrich, for the record I did check out your website before I commented back in May. How would I know you are in Ghana?
    You look like a mono-culturist to me, plow agriculture, bare earth, broad acre, palm oil development….
    I can not see any evidence that you are into Permaculture, if you are you hide it well.
    You might believe what you are doing is culturally appropriate, but from where I am, I don’t see it.
    If you are not a troll as Angelo suggests, may I be so bold as to ask why you are here?
    I would think it folly on your behalf that you would come onto this website and show us the error of ‘our’ ways, perhaps its bravery.
    Have you come to learn about Permaculture and how to apply small scale, locally appropriate solutions in the context of your community? Perhaps you want to learn how to integrate oil palm into a Food Forest scenario?
    At some point in time I hope you come to see through the faulty belief system that is behind GMO.
    You mention “feeding the poor”. Were these people ‘poor’ before the ‘white man’ came along with the terminal disease we call ‘The Green Revolution’ of which GMO is just another unfortunate chapter.
    Yours Abundantly
    Carolyn Payne-Gemmell

    Reply
  30. Ulrich Riemann

    Angelo, it looks like you studied a lot, but seemingly not everything. So in the meantime you resort to insults. Bravo.

    My glyphosate experience has not the least to do with Monsanto or GMO… Never used a Monsanto product in my life. How much do you really know about no-till farming practices and the benefits for small farmers in Africa? No GMO anywhere yet. Application is by definition limited to once per season to replace the expensive and often impossible mechanical tilling which by itself has tons of negative consequences for the already depleted soils…

    If your input should have any value for me except your personal insults please come up with a sound analysis comparing small farmer no-till practices using glyphosate with other available options they might have and the damage and risk connected with any of them. If you need more background information I am happy to help out.

    On the subject of GMO within the evolution: we already have a lot of proof that GM modifications tend to have little stability if released to the natural environment. So if they are an aberration in the sense of the evolution they will quickly go away. Otherwise man himself is the aberration and will go away… In any case, evolution prevails. Tell me what’s wrong about it when I say evolution is a high risk factor to all species? Those who don’t perform are out. However, evolution has no direct access like DNA to quickly fix the damages which have already been done to the soils all around the globe. The only way is adaptation of the living organisms to the changed environmental conditions.

    In this light it is simply crazy to bash glyphosate as one of the mildest agrochemicals around besides soap which is used to replace other extremely negative effects to the soil. Why not discuss thousands of other agrochemicals first which are used on a daily basis? Why not go about them in the order of harmfulness? Just because of Roundup and Monsanto seems to be the answer and that shows the whole distortion of all these discussions.

    Reply
  31. Ulrich Riemann

    Carolyn, you have no idea when you talk about me. If you visited our website I have to doubt your ability to read. A simple fact for you: the population of Ghana in 1957 (the year of independence) was 8 million now its somewhere around 27 million. They all want to eat. the problem is obvious…

    Compared to what we do, dear Carolyn, you don’t have an idea about permaculture… LOL Any ideas on how to handle dry seasons in the tropics? I would love to see your big eyes watching when every living creature around comes to eat the little seedling you just planted.

    And what do you know about Palm in Africa which happens to be a food item as long as people can think as it is one of the few crop plants native to African forests.

    And now a very special story for you: Malaria is killing around 100 million people a year, several thousand children every day in Africa alone. Currently the only left tool is a substance called artemisinin which comes from a plant called Artemisia. Still works like a breeze (while resistance is also developing somewhere in Burma). All other substances have lost their effectiveness due to resistant strains of the Malaria parasite. Not too long ago three different transgenic variants of Artemisia have been developed which produce up to tenfold the amount of artemisinin.

    Now I would be interested: how bad is GMO really? Less dead children in Africa due to much cheaper medication or anti GMO fundamentalism? What’s the call?

    Reply
  32. Ulrich Riemann

    Marianne, our website has the option for comments and discussions. Happy to hear from you there.

    Please understand though I will not reply to your question here. I am not into the personal bashing while I always enjoy a civilized controversial discussion.

    Reply
  33. James Osborn

    Ulrich, it’s really very simple.

    If you are an advocate of genetic modification, then you are an advocate of the extinction of literally all carbon-based life.

    Your propaganda may successfully influence the minds of some, here; but it will not influence me. I know about Agenda 21, Ulrich. I know about the Georgia Guidestones. I’ve read Red Symphony and the Protocols.

    I know why agricultural genetic modification is being employed; the real reason. The reason that Monsanto will never tell us in its’ advertising. It is in order to reduce the human population by 95% of its’ current number, to half a billion people. It is also to destroy food sovereignty; to annihilate the natural environment to such an extent that nobody will be able to grow their own food, unless they have “authorisation,” from the omnicidal psychopaths who you are currently serving as an apologist for.

    I intend for humanity to survive, Ulrich; and for it to avoid the extinction that the people behind Monsanto are currently working tirelessly to bring about. You can either continue to serve as their advocate, and participate in your own demise, or you can develop some integrity and work with us, to create something much more positive instead.

    It’s your choice.

    Reply
  34. Ulrich Riemann

    James, thank you so much for taking the time to direct me in the right direction. What would the world be without selfless saviors like you?

    First there was Jesus, now we have you. Thank you.

    I suggest, as I have been convinced now you take your message elsewhere next time. Let someone else benefit as much as I did. It is important to spread that cause to everyone!

    Reply
  35. Carolyn Payne-Gemmell

    Likewise Ulrich, you know nothing of my understanding or my abilities. I can read quite well thank you.
    Are you really interested in or have any knowledge of Permaculture Design?
    Are you telling me I don’t know my job?
    Are you on this site looking for solutions or an argument?
    Ghana has gone from 8 million to 27 million people since 1957, yes, thank you Green Revolution and that old lie of “we have these new methods to feed the world” and “we are going to stop starvation”.
    Go back through history dear Ulrich and look at the propaganda, see what it gave us, a poisoned planet and unsustainable GROWTH in every quarter.
    At the moment it looks like people want more of the same, and that they will use versions of the same disastrous methods, which will just dig the hole deeper.

    Honestly Ulrich, if there is some way I can personally help the people of Ghana using Permaculture Design I gladly would. I will leave myself open to all manner of possibilities for supporting Permaculture in Ghana in the future.

    One day you might see through the lie that is GMO, sadly, it simply will not deliver stability or sustainability, regardless of whatever else it promises.
    I wish you well.

    Reply
  36. Angelo Eliades

    Ulrich, the point was not to insult you but to challenge the statements you are making.

    Again you say “On the subject of GMO within the evolution: we already have a lot of proof that GM modifications tend to have little stability if released to the natural environment.” That is definitely not true, we have seen the transfer of modified genes from GMO species to wild species creating herbicide resistant ‘super weeds’, in the US the emergence of Palmer amaranth (pigweed) is just one that has exploded at an alarming rate, forcing farmers to abandon the land. Here’s a quote, you can look it up yourself, the reports are widespread across the US agribusiness community because it’s threatening their businesses:

    “Glyphosate-resistant palmer pigweed first turned up in late 2004 in Macon County, Georgia, and has since spread to other parts of Georgia as well as to South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. An estimated 100 000 acres in Georgia are severely infested with pigweed and 29 counties have now confirmed pigweed resistance to glyphosate, according to weed specialist Stanley Culpepper at the University of Georgia. In 2007, 10 000 acres of glyphosate-resistant pigweed infested land were abandoned in Macon County.”

    No-till farming is something we all want to encourage, but why are weeds growing there anyway? Are you practising conventional monoculture farming with a single crop variety in rows separated by bare earth? It’s proven that such an approach creates weed problems. Nature will fill bare ground with pioneer plants, weeds, that’s part of the natural ecological process of forest succession. You can throw all the chemicals and fossil fuel energy to fight a natural process, or you can fill the bare ground with something else. Here’s a hint, Nature has an essentially infinite energy source the sun, so Nature always wins if you try to fight it. That’s why in Permaculture we work with Nature, save energy in both labour and fossil fuels, and do it all cheaper. We’ve done it all here the old ways in the western world and are now paying the price. If it worked we wouldn’t all be looking for better solutions and farmers wouldn’t be committing suicide.

    While you’re here you might find some articles on PRI of success stories of farmers employing other variations of no-till that don’t encourage weeds and don’t need glyphosate, which should reduce your labour and materials costs and therefore increase your profits, reduce pest problems and produce healthier food.

    I’m sure most of us don’t want to see you make the same mistakes that others have made before with the unscientific false promises and limited short term gains of glyphosate dependent farming, ultimately it doesn’t work, if it did work and was safe, we wouldn’t all be here.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your farming venture, hope you find a natural solution that proves highly productive and profitable.

    Regards

    Reply
  37. Marianne Winfield

    Ulrich, I have googled ‘curbing malaria in Africa’ As I expected, I found many approaches and successes. Your claim that the transgenic approach is the only solution left is plainly untrue. This is typical of the biotech industry, it’s other mantra – “only GM can feed the 7 billion” – completely ignores highly successful agroecological methods and improved distribution of food.
    I’m sorry you felt you had to deflect my question – how familiar are your scientists and technicians with any of the associated ecological sciences?
    James. Where do the other giants – Bayer, Syngenta et al fit into your global eugenics conspiracy? Are they part of the plan or are they competitors in the market? And if you look at the other end of the scale – the GE wizardry that is now accessible by individuals and groups anywhere, as well as the new ‘magic’ of synthetic biology (see the appalling precedent set by Kickstarter http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/true-north/2013/jun/06/kickstarter-money-glow-in-the-dark-plants), How would this fit in with the elitist utopian vision you attribute to Monsanta? The technology is just as much in the hands of individuals and smaller biotech companies such as Ulrich’s as it is in the giant corporations. The genie is out of the bottle. The only solution, if indeed there still is one, is 1.Education, 2.Development, application and promotion of safer alternatives and 3.Companies voluntarily transitioning to socially and environmentally benign practices (the ‘swords into [keyline]ploughshares’ meme).

    Reply
  38. Ulrich Riemann

    Everybody, this is my last post, I promise. I am sick and tired about people producing more and more lies about me out of thin air. People who explicitly insult me just to tell me next this is not what they want. OMG.

    Marianne, I am not involved in any production or use of GMO or ever was. Biotechnology comprises more than that. But as an active plant breeder I know a lot about applied molecular biology. That already seems to be a crime among those around here who bash without sense and even the slightest background knowledge.

    Funny enough nobody wants to discuss GMO Artemisinin around here… And Marianne, you are wrong, at this point there is no pharmacological replacement. But there is a new biotechnical production method for Artemisinin… growing it on a genetically modified yeast! It just takes the Artemisa (small) farmers out of business and makes the medication more expensive in the end. Ghana Plasmodium strains are resistant against all other treatment. No prophylaxis available. They banned DDT around the world, all for the wrong reasons, without any replacement too. Several thousand children are dying from Malaria in Africa every day, that’s a fact and will remain a fact for decades to come. Is your internet research negating that? Are you suggesting to simply let them die until other new approaches may possibly work? Infection rates can be reduced even today and that’s a good thing. They can even be eliminated for some time with sufficient funds. But those are not available maybe with the exception of tourist areas. My three year old son had Malaria 2 times by now, while definitely being among the privileged safer part of the population… Without Artemisinin little Fritz would just be DEAD by now. Myself? Malaria over ten times!

    Please, I beg you, as a goodbye present, find a single statement of mine clearly IN FAVOR of GMO. All you will find is my addiction to objectivity and true knowledge…

    Angelo, this is really funny. The superweed Amaranth is NOT the result of a transfer of genes, GMO or other. Where did you get that idea from? Didn’t you say you understand molecular biology? Taxonomically we are not even talking about the same genus. The giant version of Amaranth is a result of natural selection under immense herbicide pressure (thus a resistant strain developed, something really not unusual at all in nature). And while it is possible, there is no proof at this time that the development of Amaranth into a superweed is a consequence of glyphosate. There are in fact many other possibilities. I have said it many times, the crazy volumes of Roundup application by more and more US farmers in response to resistant weeds (at least 19 of them are known) is the problem, not glyphosate itself. And yes, any attempts by Monsanto to raise the approved application levels are against the best interest of people. You really must be joking when you confront me with Amaranth. Somehow this shows the level of discussion around here…

    Carolyn, of course, please help us understand permaculture in African rainforests and savannas. With seven years experience on completely depleted land with zero topsoil I will watch quietly. I would also wish that you show me one indication that I am a monocropper…LOL If you can read as you say, I really wonder what your problem is…

    And you permanently ask me, why I came here. Let me tell you: someone like you thought it would be a good idea to prove to me how valid this idiotic story about toxic GMO maize is (and eventually your brother’s formaldehyde in corn syrup LOL), “as it was even posted on this site about permaculture”… So I just had to point out what many others did too. After all this is a public site, isn’t it? But why are you only jumping at ME like a little doggie wuff, wuff???

    Guys, answers to this will not reach me anymore, so just forget it and be happy.

    Reply
  39. James Osborn

    >Where do the other giants – Bayer, Syngenta
    >et al fit into your global eugenics conspiracy?
    >Are they part of the plan or are
    >they competitors in the market?

    Part of the plan. We’re looking at an extremely multi-pronged strategy. It needs to be extensive for two main reasons.

    a} Redundancy. If one element (GM, as an example) fails, then they can rely on others.

    b} Subtlety. If they only use a single tactic, they are much more likely to potentially risk exposure. By using GM, bee extinction, chemtrails, and various others simultaneously, they are able to maintain plausible deniability, and the public perception that people like myself are cranks for being aware of it. Ulrich probably now considers me as a complete, raving schizophrenic; which is perfectly fine as far as I am concerned, because I am well aware of the fact that that is exactly what he is *supposed* to think.

    I agree with you that education is part of the solution. We need to completely economically boycott Monsanto. Attempting to obtain charter revocation or file class action lawsuits is not going to work; it has already been demonstrated that the corporation has both the ability and the willingness to buy every judge it has to, in order to prevent effective legal restraint of it.

    Our only alternative is the direct economic starvation of these companies, and the only way we are going to get that, is to communicate to every man, woman, and child on this planet who is willing to listen, about the fact that these companies are directly working against any possibility of long term human survival.

    To that end, the March Against Monsanto was an extremely encouraging development; as was Monsanto’s subsequent surrender in Europe. The only thing we need, where Monsanto and similar companies are concerned, is for the entire public to know exactly who and what these companies are, and what they are really working towards. Once that becomes common knowledge, the problem will largely take care of itself, because people will realise that they need to seek and develop alternatives.

    Despite the sarcastic, condescending nature of his last response to me, I believe we also need to continue to hold out our hands to people like Ulrich, as well. Such people are themselves not our enemy; but they have been deceived, and in many cases their entire model of reality is one which causes them to continue to harm themselves and others.

    It is a testament to the sickness of our current society, that we are dominated by an economic paradigm that is fundamentally antithetical to the continuation of life; yet we cannot hate the people who adhere to it, because in many cases they have simply never been taught anything different. If we are to truly improve the current society, then it cannot involve the exclusion of anyone, and it cannot involve us viewing any other human beings as enemies. Certain ideas and practices can be considered the enemy, yes; but people themselves, no.

    Contrary to what Ulrich claimed, I don’t compare myself with Jesus Christ at all. I’m probably one of the most flawed people currently living, in all honesty. It’s not about me being good, at all; it’s about me wanting a society that is good, when truthfully my own lack of integrity has often caused me to seriously question, whether or not I myself will be compatible with it when it gets here.

    I honestly do not want this, purely (or even primarily) for myself; because after all, I’m not going to live forever. Some people think that the fact that they will be dead before long, is an excuse to take as much as they can, and not worry about the wellbeing of those who come afterwards. I think our mortality actually means exactly the opposite.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qmK3lpkgVo

    Reply
  40. James Osborn

    >They banned DDT around the world, all for the
    >wrong reasons, without any replacement too.
    >Several thousand children are dying from Malaria
    >in Africa every day, that’s a fact and will remain
    >a fact for decades to come. Is your internet research
    >negating that? Are you suggesting to simply let them
    >die until other new approaches may possibly work?

    I want you to know that I hear your frustration here; but synthetic pesticides are not the answer, Ulrich. We are not going to solve natural problems, long term, by going outside Nature itself.

    You would truthfully consider me very unusual, among permaculturists. I am in favour of the use of some forms of technology, a lot more than most. At the same time, however, while I love my computer, I consider myself the computer-using equivalent of the Amish. My primary interest where computers is concerned, relates to the UNIX operating system, prior to 1990.

    My point here is that the use of some reasonably high technology is appropriate, and can even be beneficial. It must, however, be screened and assessed far more carefully than has been the case so far; and this is especially true in the areas of genetics and inorganic chemistry.

    Reply
  41. Angelo Eliades

    Oh Ulrich, you do understand that natural selection needs a stimulus, the resistance to glyphosate has developed as an evolutionary response to the use of glyphosate itself.

    Here’s a quote from “Palmer Amaranth: A New Invasive Weed to Watch for in Michugan” by Christy Sprague, Associate Professor, and Extension Specialist, Michigan State University (http://www.michigansoybean.org/MSPCSite/GrowerResources/PalmerAmaranthANewInvasiveWeedToWatchForInMI.pdf)

    “…Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth infests over 2.5 million acres in the Southeast and mid-South regions of the United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana,Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi). …Glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth get to Michigan? Glyphosate resistance in weeds can develop by repeated use of glyphosate on weeds already present in a field (high selection pressure), be acquired by gene flow through pollen dispersal, or by the spread of seed.”

    Interspecific hybridization can transfer transgenic material from cultivated plants to their wild relatives, and the horizontal transfer of microbial transgenes present in genetically modified crops to other unrelated species has been well documented.

    The opinion is unanimous that the widespread use of DDT was an ecological disaster of grand proportions, the ecological damage caused by this organochlorine pesticide was immense because it is highly persistent by nature (2-15 years)and permeates the whole food chain. It’s classed as a ‘persistent organic pollutant” for a very good reason. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would advocate it’s use. I can’t believe what you’re suggesting. So, it’s better to poison little Fritz as the DDT accumulates in the fatty tissues of his body? You go from bad to worse, Oh, dear…

    Since I can’t take you seriously, and in keeping with your mindset, here’s a few suggestions perhaps (and I’m being sarcastic here). First, saturate all your waterways and wells with DDT, that will kill the mosquitos and almost everything else eventually. Then drench your fields with glyphosate, but for extra good measure, just in case there are any GR weeds, follow Monsanto’s recommendations and mix it with 2,4-D, the principal ingredient in Agent Orange, we know that works, they used it to defoliate the jungles during the Vietnam war. Your crops will need a good pesticide too, my recommendation is go for something from the organophosphorus family. maybe a malathion/parathion cocktail, many are banned and they derive from military nerve gas research, so you know they’re good for you. The systemic neonicotinoids are worth a shot, and they’ll also get rid of those pesky bees that occasionally sting children, bonus! You could go old school with your pesticide approach and use lead arsenate, it’s banned, so you know it’s got to be really effective, and the great deal with this baby is that it contains both lead AND arsenic, so it’s chock full of goodies to wipe out those nasty pests. Just to be doubly sure, I’d replace the crops you’re growing with transgenic varieties that exude Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin continuously, but it might be a toss up with the transgenic scorpion venom varieties. While you’re at it, get some of those cool ‘glow in the dark’ genes into the plants, that will impress the kids and keep the African community amused as they’ll be able to see the insects fly toward the plant at night and then drop dead in seconds from the toxins they produce. Then you can pay them pittance to pick the produce in the morning… Oh, and formaldehyde, I shouldn’t forget, great stuff, it is used to embalm corpses, it kills all bacteria, and people have been jailed for putting it in spoiled food to stop it decomposing, so it’s a proven food preservative, other than the fact that it’s carcinogenic. Soak all harvested food in it, you can always hope that it will magically disappear when you process and cook your harvest. Back to pest and weed control. If all else fails, use napalm, the later period napalm B, it has a proven 100% success rate against all pests and weeds, and no organism has been found that can adapt through natural selection to the searing 800-1,200°C [1,472-2,152°F] hot flames. It’s easier to procure than the long half-life radioisotopes which do a splendid job irradiating away problem organisms, Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years so it can mop up unwanted life for hundreds of generations, that will do your descendants proud, as one application will last almost indefinitely. For some unknown reason they refuse to sell gamma-emitting nuclear material to responsible farmers, crazy, hey? Napalm only burns for 10 minutes, so repeated use might be necessary. Of course, we know overuse of napalm is harmful, just use it judiciously to raze selected portions of the ecosystem, because it saves time and effort, to do it all manually, well, it’s far too tiring… As a safety precaution when using napalm, use plenty of asbestos dust around the home perimeter, it’s easier to get into all the nooks and crannies around the home, and the kids can make snowmen out of it too. A great party trick is to create ‘snowstorms’ by throwing handfuls of asbestos dust in the air, great stuff, very versatile. Ignore all those ignorant, do-gooder greenies, a man must do what a man must do, you know there is no scientific proof that this stuff is bad in any way, so just say, “what the hell!” and go all out, you can never be too sure. In the spirit of what you mentioned about glyphosate, “For a small African farmer deploying” napalm manually (via a backpack style military flamethrower, which should be cheap to purchase second-hand from the conflict torn parts of Africa) “is so much cheaper than hiring a plow.” You’re right, that’s definitely the approach to use, you know better, don’t let those fanatical permies dissuade you. If you do all that and don’t till the soil, it will be all roses… TFIC – Tongue Firmly in Cheek ; )

    Reply
  42. Marianne Winfield

    James. I was wary of your earlier post as I tend to remain agnostic of conspiracy theories. Your second post though, in response to mine, resonates with me with every sentence. You say “The only thing we need, where Monsanto and similar companies are concerned, is for the entire public to know exactly who and what these companies are, and what they are really working towards. Once that becomes common knowledge, the problem will largely take care of itself, because people will realise that they need to seek and develop alternatives.”
    In the UK (forgive me if you are also) we have an Environment (?) Minister informing us we must be world leaders of GM agriculture. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/20/owen-paterson-uk-global-leaders-gm-crops. What is encouraging is the comments that follow this article. I’ve been follwing (and often contributing) to the comments on GM articles for 3 or 4 years and there seems to be almost a sea-change in informed opinion, and awareness of Monsanta’s agenda, (even if they haven’t heard of the Georgia Guidestones, Red Symphony and the Protocols, which is all new to me too). Also a vote in the Guardian revealed a 70% No against 30% Yes for a change in EU regulations regarding GM. This is interesting as the Guardian is pretty well pro-GM.

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  43. James Osborn

    Marianne, I probably should have refrained from mentioning the conspiracy material.

    The only real reason why I did, however, is because one thing that greatly concerns me, is the public’s (at least former, if not current) tendency to give things (whether it be companies, or governments, or the idea of GM itself) the benefit of the doubt.

    I feel that the majority of the human population are good people. This is a positive thing. Where it becomes a problem, however, is that because most people are well-intentioned, they tend to make the reflexive assumption that the minority who run corporations and governments are as well; when in actual fact, in my observation most of the senior people in both governments and corporations are severely psychopathic.

    So I feel that one area where it is very important for the majority to be informed, is the sad reality that government officials and corporate executives are usually *not* good people, and they do not have advancing the common good as their priority. They tend to advocate wholesale environmental destruction and death, and they do so in the name of economic greed.

    I want positive alternatives, but I tend to believe that we are not going to get those for as long as most people think that they can rely on governments and the existing system to secure their wellbeing. So it is very necessary for people to realise that the current institutions really have no interest in the majority’s welfare; because once people do finally truly understand and accept that, that is when we will see the beginning of real change.

    As you say, I think we’re definitely seeing a major transformation of public opinion; but given where we currently are, relative to the possibility of irreversible, systemic ecological failure, it could not be a moment too soon. The situation is becoming increasingly more urgent. I still believe that we can turn things around, and fundamentally create a more positive and lasting scenario; but we have no time to waste.

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