Monday, April 5, 2010

The World According to Monsanto (2008)


Director:
Marie-Monique Robin


Review:
The gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years.
The endless list of genetically modified seeds sold and controlled by Monsanto are putting at enormous risk age-old agricultural patterns under the presumptuous slogan of aiming at solving the huge problem of hunger in the world.
On March 11 a new documentary was aired on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural tv channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, entitled 'The World According to Monsanto' (Le Monde selon Monsanto). Starting from the Internet over a period of three years Robin has collected material for her documentary, going on to numerous interviews with people of very different backgrounds. She traveled widely, from Latin America, to Asia, through Europe and the United States, to personally interview farmers and people in influential positions.
As an example of pro-Monsanto interviews, she talked at length with Michael Taylor who has worked as a lawyer for Monsanto and also for the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), where he had great influence on the legalization of the genetically modified bovine growth hormone (BGH). It also became FDA policy during Taylor's tenure that GM seeds are declared to be "substantially equivalent to non-GM seeds, hence proclaiming proof of the harmlessness of GMs to be unnecessary. Michael Taylor is a typical example of technocrats employed via 'the revolving door policy'. He is now head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.
The gospel according to Monsanto is that their patented GM seeds and their bovine growth hormone (BGH) will increase worldwide production of agricultural, dairy and meat products and Bt cotton to the extent that worldwide hunger and poverty will be eradicated.
The actual truth is rather the opposite. GMOs are creating serious damage all over the world and artificial BGH injection in cows cause numerous health problems, and even death.
Monsanto is not held back by any considerations of ethics and it hides the reality of its sordid machinations behind a wall of secrecy. Everything Monsanto does is exclusively with the intent of increasing its own profit – everything else be damned. If left to its own devices it will most certainly destroy the livelihood of millions of farmers – a process begun a decade ago in India and certainly in many other countries as well. The planet's ecosystems will be seriously threatened by unnatural ways of changing agricultural patterns. The dangers of GMO cultivation to the environment come in many forms:

* Switching from age-old biodiverse crops that can tolerate low-level amounts of water to industrial monocultures of crops such as GM soya, cotton, sugarcane, etc. that require large amounts of irrigation.
* Inundating cultivated lands with toxic herbicides, in particular the dangerous Monsanto product Roundup, to which the GMO seeds have been made biotechnically resistant. Any other growth should succumb to Roundup, were it not for the fact that weeds to a very large extent become Roundup resistant.
* Putting an end to biological farming and poisoning non GM cultures through pollenization from GM crops and accidental exposure to Roundup herbicide.
* Deforestation to make more land available for the culture of the GM seeds Monsanto sells at high prices to poor farmers.

On top of all these dangers to biodiversity and biological farming comes the fact that Monsanto has patented its products and farmers are legally bound not to save seeds for replanting for the following year. They must buy new seeds from Monsanto every year and the company has a sizeable staff that just deals with prosecuting farmers suspected of illegally using one year's seeds for the planting of the next year's crop.



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2 comments:

  1. last part seems to be offline...plans of re-up?

    ReplyDelete

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