Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bill Gates vs the Green lobby

fromFrontPageMagazine (a right wing US webpage)

...Greenpeace has long claimed GM foods increase allergies; however, the World Health Organization – hardly a corporate, capitalist shill – concluded, “No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.” Although six EU nations ban GM foods, Jaap Satter, a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Agriculture Ministry, has said, “You cannot say anymore that there is a scientific reason to be against genetic modification.” The National Research Council summed up the situation: “no conceptual distinction exists between generic modification of plants and microorganisms by classical methods or by molecular techniques that modify DNA and transfer genes.”

Some environmentalists seem concerned the foods will be too successful at feeding the poor. Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.” ,,,“The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 “with the objective of improving agriculture in Africa.” However, its leader, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, vowed in 2007: “We in the alliance will not incorporate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in our programmes. We shall work with farmers using traditional seeds.”..

earth to greens: it is not an "either/or" question.

You can have factory farms to produce lots of GM food to feed the poor in the cities, while paying farmers to grow their traditional seeds.

If you got rid of the tsetse fly and used modern farming techniques, Africa could feed the world.

But getting rid of the tsetse fly would mean farmers destroying "game reserves" that warm the cockles of the rich western greens (who live in areas where their own wolves, carrier pidgeons and mammoths no longer survive thanks to men).

And I've seen too many TV shows by those who should know better lauding the "natural" tribal lives of the poor: ignoring of course little things like children dying of diarrhea, moms dying in childbirth, and the constant stomach aches from parasite infestation.

Organic products are labor intensive. Are they better? Perhaps, but the harvest is lower than modern methods, so you get less rice.

so although our family grows organic rice and veggies, the dirty little secret is that we sell the products at a price twice that of ordinary rice and veggies; the ordinary farmers are underpriced by Chinese and Vietnamese etc. farmers who do use lots of pesticides and fertilizers and use the best seeds available, and so can underprice local farmers.

there is a lot of money in all of this, as the article points out:
National Review’s Deroy Murdock found:

In 2001, the 30 leading anti-biotech groups…spent $341.4 million, including Greenpeace USA’s expenditure of $23,748,737, Environmental Defense’s $38,794,150 and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s $41,625,882. Between 1996 and 2001, this crusade’s lavish underwriters included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($11,906,500), the Ford Foundation ($39,978,020) and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($130,996,900).

It also included a large portion of the organic food market. Somehow, this story of an industry trying to spike a competitor did not make MSNBC or the pages of Mother Jones.

Whatever the dangers, the prohibition of GM foods is a moral issue. As Velasio De Paolis of the Pontifical Urban University has said, it is “easy to say no to GM food if your stomach is full.”

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