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GMO Awareness

The GMO issue really is a serious epidemic. Many people who defended GMO are unaware they are in fact defending the practice of poisoning their own people. This really is quite strange considering the amount of research there is on the subject. Just the other day in fact I picked up a local newspaper in Bennington Vermont. The cover story still down because it made mention of biotech. I picked it up and later read all about the issue of non GMO feed becoming more and more difficult to acquire because of the amount of GMO crops grown but also because of the cross pollination effect in the transfer of genetic technology. Unfortunately more of my fears were confirmed as I read from yet another resource that GMO is causing multiple problems including infertility and hormonal problems. The list of problems continue to grow just like the list of autoimmune and gastrointestinal disorders continues to grow. How long will people continue to believe that the pharmaceutical industry is doing a good job? We have now entered into an era of scientism! Sadly what is deemed for science of these days is corporate funded and designed to produce an intended outcome. If one studies cases like Andrew Wakefield actually becomes clear that there is a concerted effort on behalf of the power structure to eliminate anyone who might cause them a problem. But not just Wakefield, go all the way back to Harry Hoxie and really study the development of so-called modern medicine. The only way that modern medicine was able to become the dominant modality of healing was thanks to the Rockefeller and Carnegie money that was used to create the AMA enforce out any sort of alternative for action.

FCHI harvest

Please enjoy this piece I wrote 2010 on Genetically Modified Soybean and Infertility in Argentina.

There is no more universally important element in human society than the issue of food. Everyone has to eat no matter where they live, what religion they adhere to, or what kind of work they do to make a living. It is for this reason that the issue of genetically modified foods has been a hot topic with the ecologically minded citizen for the past two decades. Throughout this paper, I will attempt to demonstrate the connection between the introduction of the genetically modified soy bean to the fields of Argentina and the decline in the fertility rate of Argentinean women of childbearing age. In order to substantiate my claim, I will first examine the introduction of the genetically modified soybean and how this transition came about economically. Secondly, I will identify the decline in the fertility rate of Argentinean women of childbearing age and draw parallels between the two by highlighting my research with conclusions of numerous scientific studies. Lastly, I shall draw my conclusions regarding this phenomenon and thoroughly explain its relationship to Human Geography.
The introduction of the genetically modified soybean is relatively new by human standards. It was not without economic necessity that Argentina would eventually allow GM soybeans to be cultivated on their soil. Long before the Argentinean debt crisis of the 1980’s, Argentina was largely self-sufficient. Although it was still a developing nation,
Argentina had been remarkable for the standard of living it provided its population. The agricultural system, partly as a result of the Juan Peron era, was diverse, productive and dominated by small family farms. A typical Argentine farmer in the 1970’s would raise a small amount of crops such as vegetables or wheat, husband small poultry, a dairy herd and occasionally beef cattle on a small plot of land, which was held over decades by right of possession.

After the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its interest rate by roughly 300%, Argentina, along with many other countries became heavily indebted to international bank cartels. This debt became virtually impossible to repay. During this period of time, genetically modified foods were being hailed as the answer to world hunger. Indigenous farmers were sold on these seeds with promises of increased crop yield, less expenses, and more profit. As a result of this, “Monsanto was granted an exclusive license in 1996 by President Menem to distribute its GMO soybean seeds throughout Argentina” . As we see in the chart below, the overall cultivation of soybean in South America has grown rapidly since 1980.
In the 1970’s, before the debt crisis, soybean was not even a factor in the national agriculture economy, with only 9,500 hectares of soybean plantations…By 2000, after four years of adopting Monsanto soybeans and mass production techniques, over 10 million GMO soy hectares had been planted. By 2004, the area had expanded to more than 14 million hectares.

On the face of it, these numbers look quite promising. If soybean cultivation is on the rise, then that must mean analogically that there are more jobs, more food, and more money being made. Sadly, this is not the case for the majority of peasant farmers around the world. As mechanized food production became more and more commonplace throughout the third world, the need for individual farmers became less and less, and as a result hundreds of thousands of workers lost their land and were pushed into further poverty. However if one understands this type of globalization to be the development of the third world, then it is no surprise that we should see the fertility rate in Argentinean women decline. Let us now take a look at other contributing factors that do not receive as much scholarly attention. To begin, first we should examine the data regarding the decline of fertility in Argentina. Below is an excerpt from Edith Alejandra Pantelides’ paper, Completing the Fertility Transition: The Case of Argentina.
We can conclude that without a doubt the fertility rate in women of childbearing age is decreasing, and we can also conclude that the cultivation of GM soybean has continued to climb since the 1980’s. But what do these two seemingly unrelated bits of data have to do with one another? If we look to the Biotechnology Industry Organization for an answer we do not get very far, as many of their reports look only at the economic side of the equation. Let us instead look to the scientists not funded by Monsanto and perhaps we will come away with some objective data on the issue.
Those who are somewhat familiar with the genetic modification of plants are aware that most plants are being engineered to withstand being sprayed with Monsanto’s popular herbicide glyphosate, more commonly known as Roundup. A major selling point for Monsanto is the claim that GM crops do not need to be sprayed with herbicide as often as traditional crops, thus lowering the costs of production for farmers. This however, is not true, as the agronomist Dr. Charles Benbrook reports:
On the contrary, these GM crops taken together increased pesticide use by 20 per cent in 2007 and by 27 per cent in 2008, compared with the amount of pesticide likely to have been applied in the absence of GM seeds. The increase was due to two factors: the rise in glyphosate-resistant weeds, and the gradual reduction in the rate of herbicides applied to the non-GMO crop fields.

Furthermore, the report concludes: “that overall, farmers applied 318 million more pounds of pesticides as a result of planting GM seeds over the first 13 years of commercial use” .
This data not only translates into millions of dollars of revenue for Monsanto, but it also gives us a clue as to the connection between the declines in the fertility rate. If we examine the recent findings of Professor of Embryology at the University of Buenos Aires Andre Carrasco, we find that Monsanto’s Roundup may indeed be one of our missing links in this decline.

In 2009 the Argentine government scientist Professor Andrés Carrasco announced his research team’s findings that glyphosate-based herbicide cause malformations in frog embryos, in doses much lower than those used in agricultural spraying. Also, frog and chicken embryos treated with glyphosate herbicide developed similar malformations to those seen in the offspring of humans exposed to such herbicides. Effects repeatedly found included reduced head size, genetic alterations in the central nervous system, increase in the death of cells that help form the skull, and deformed cartilage. The authors concluded that the results raise “concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to GBH in agricultural fields.

Carrasco adds: “The findings in the lab are compatible with malformations observed in humans exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy ”. If then we are to assume that exposure to these toxic chemicals is having an ill-effect on the fertility rate of Argentinean women, what is the result of actually ingesting the genetically modified soybean? Multiple studies continue to demonstrate the harmful effects of not only GM Soy, but a variety of GM foodstuffs. The following data is startling to say the least:
“Since GM RR soy was approved for commercialization, studies have found ill effects in laboratory animals fed on GM RR soy, which were not seen in non-GM-fed control groups:

• In a rare long-term feeding study, mice were fed GM soy for 24 months. Significant cellular changes were seen in the liver, pancreas and testes. The researchers found irregularly formed cell nuclei and nucleoli in liver cells, which indicates increased metabolism and potentially altered patterns of gene expression.

• Mice fed GM soy over their entire lifetime showed more acute signs of ageing in their liver. Several proteins relating to liver cell metabolism, stress response, calcium signalling (involved in controlling muscle contraction) and mitochondria (involved in energy metabolism) were differently expressed in GM-fed mice.

• Rabbits fed GM soy showed enzyme function disturbances in kidney and heart.

• Female rats fed GM soy showed changes in their uterus and ovaries compared with controls fed organic non-GM soy or a non-soy diet.

• In a multigenerational study on hamsters, most of the GM soy-fed hamsters had lost the ability to reproduce by the third generation. The GM-fed hamsters had slower growth and higher mortality among the pups.

The findings suggest that GM RR soy could pose serious health risks to humans. The fact that differences were found between GM-fed and non-GM-fed animals contradicts the FDA’s assumption that GM soy is substantially equivalent to non-GM soy” .

Indeed, these findings are devastating, especially when one considers that these types of crops are not only being grown in the faraway land of Argentina, but right here in our own back yard. Nearly every commercial agricultural crop being grown in the United States is both genetically modified and sprayed with large amounts of toxic herbicide. Even worse is the lack of public knowledge in the sphere of this issue which many believe to be the greatest ecological crisis mankind has yet participated in.
The Human Geographic connection is quite clear. We should stand in awe of the ingenuity of the human species. We have discovered many of the ways in which mother-nature functions and have been able to adapt in a multitude of ways in order to fit our needs. However we must realize that there is a delicate balance to this system that must not be trifled with. Science is of the utmost importance, and indeed, our ability to reason is one of the unique elements of our species. However, another one of the unique aspects of mankind is his ability to fall victim to his own greed. If mankind allows something as important as food production to be left in the hands of multinational corporations, then we are surely asking for harm to come our way. Never before in human history has the patenting of living organisms been an acceptable practice. Now, a return to truly sustainable, organic, and community based agricultural system is the only solution to a future that, unless we do something, will be dominated by corporate control of the food system.

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Bibliography
• F. William Engdahl, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, (Centre for Research on Globalization, Montreal, 2007)
• Eric Helleiner, The Strange Story of Bush and the Argentine Debt Crisis, Third World Quarterly, (Vol. 26, No. 6, pp 951 – 969, 2005)
• Edith Alejandra Pantelides, Completing the Fertility Transition: The Case of Argentina – This publication can be found at http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/completingfertility/RevisedPantelidespaper.PDF
• Antoniou, Brack, Carrasco, Fagan, Habib, Kageyama, Leifert, Nodari, and Pengue, GM Soy: Sustainable? Reponsible?, (GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG, September 2010) p. 16 This report can be found at: http://www.cert-id.eu/getattachment/Home/GMsoy_Sust_Respons_FULL_ENG_v9.pdf.aspx


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