Tag Archives: Mass media

Monsanto is….?


I’ve been through the deluge of information out there that “Monsanto is EEEEVVVIIIILLLL!”.  “GMOS ARE TEH DEBIL!”.  I dunno, it all smacks of heartfelt claims that don’t have a legitimate basis.  Don’t get me wrong, Monsanto could be horrible and GMO’s might be the end of all humanity, but I just need more information to come to those conclusions than,”They’re playing with God’s work” or “Well, they did something bad once upon a time”.

Of course, then there’s this:  http://exitmundi.nl/exitmundi.htm  (click on the picture labeled “yuk!”)

Indestructible grain destroys humanity.

Indestructible grain destroys humanity.

So…  me being me, I sent them a letter asking for more information.  Here’s the letter I sent through their “contact us!” link:

Hello, I’m trying to form a reasoned position about your company, your products, and your practices. There is plenty of information that depicts your company and products as “bad”, but some of the concepts-like drought resistant corn, appear good. Right now, I think that there is a general fear of anything people do not understand, as well as a fear of “large corporations” and their potential to do powerfully bad things. Put it all together, and I can’t speak for or against you or your products. I wind up fearing the products, even though I can see the potential for genetic modification to produce powerful agricultural items that could help the world. I can also see the potential for horrific consequences. I asked someone who was presenting you as a negative whether the problem was all GMOs, or more a fear that the GMO’s you produce are understudied and not understood by the public. The answers I got were heartfelt, but pretty unclear when it came to logic, appealing to opinion, religion, or security in “the old ways”. One even suggested that enough food is already produced without GMOs to end world hunger, and that your products were unnecessary, as if that was a reason in and of itself. So, I come to you. What are the potential products? Besides drought resistant corn, could you increase the nutritional value of a vegetable? Give it different flavors? Increased crop yields? What safeguards are there in place to prevent hybridization of special strains of corn? How many generations of plant should I expect to get if I purchase seeds from your company? (There are rumors that strains cease to be able to be replanted after 2 or 3 generations) What about the future? Could you produce a plant capable of growing on a semi-habitable planet, or one that does well with less sunlight, more sunlight, differences in gravity? Could you make a plant that would be able to be planted and grown in someone’s house without special equipment, that might be a way for urbanites to feed their families healthier food? If you have any other information that you think would be helpful to me in defining my position and thinking about your company, please, bring it up. Thank you, Arthur Russell

I fully expected to get no response, them being a “big, terrifying company” and me being “nobody important”.  I was pleasantly surprised to get this in response yesterday:

Dear Mr. Russell:

Thank you for contacting us – and my apologies for sending you so much information . . .

Executive Summary, Product Safety Summary and Peer Reviewed Safety Publications for our products can be found on our website www.monsanto.com:

http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/product-safety-summaries.aspx

Our Research & Development Pipeline (corn, soybean, cotton, specialty crops & vegetables):

http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/research-development-pipeline.aspx

From the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board http://www.goldenrice.org/

Please see information about agriculture and biotechnology:

http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/Pages/a-brief-history-of-agriculture.aspx

http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/Pages/biotechnology-101.aspx

http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/biotech-research.aspx

I invite you to take a look at the PBS series America’s Heartland ( http://www.americasheartland.org/ ), which offers a picture of American agriculture.

We have a series of videos on YouTube – such as Food for Thought – What do America’s Farmers grow?

Also, please see these articles about food safety:

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/food-safety.aspx#q1

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/food-safety-science.aspx

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/Biotech-Food-GMO-Safety.aspx

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/biotech-safety-gmo-advantages.aspx

along with some outside sources:

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/biotech/en/

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/csaph/a12-csaph2-bioengineeredfoods.pdf

http://reason.com/archives/2013/02/22/the-top-five-lies-about-biotech-crops

http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2012/1025gm_statement.shtml

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408621/

Top Five Myths Of Genetically Modified Seeds, Busted

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/18/163034053/top-five-myths-of-genetically-modified-seeds-busted

and Mark Lynas in the UK:

http://vimeo.com/56745320    &    http://www.whybiotech.com/newsandevents/Mark_Lynas_Speech.pdf

http://www.marklynas.org/2013/04/time-to-call-out-the-anti-gmo-conspiracy-theory/

A good source about biotechnology and GM crops is the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. (http://www.isaaa.org/default.asp )

ISAAA does extensive surveys and studies on biotech/GM crops worldwide each year.  Their 2012 report has just been issued.

http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/briefs/44/executivesummary/default.asp

They also have many publications available.

A very good one is “Agricultural Biotechnology (A Lot More than Just GM Crops).”

http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/agricultural_biotechnology/download/Agricultural_Biotechnology.pdf

This brochure presents tools that are important for agricultural biotechnology such as

– Conventional plant breeding

– Tissue culture and micropropagation

– Molecular breeding or marker assisted selection

– Genetic engineering and GM crops

– Molecular Diagnostic Tools

as well as questions and answers about GM crops

and http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/5/default.asp (Documented Benefits of GM Crops)

I hope you find this helpful. Please contact us again if you need additional information.

Sincerely,

Monsanto Webmaster

Now, I have not gone through all of this information yet, and I don’t think I will be entirely satisfied when I have gone through it all.  However, their simple willingness to share the information is, to me, a good sign.  It’s all freely available on the internet, but they certainly saved me a lot of time in looking around, and I really appreciate that.

 

I haven’t come to any conclusions yet, but I’m working on it.  I just can’t assume that they are bad without considering all the possible information.

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Filed under Social ideas, Thoughts

Divided we fall…


Black vs White.

Liberal vs Conservative.

Christian vs Atheist.

Rich vs… everyone else.

These divisions are brought to the forefront of our social consciousness by our mainstream media.  These are the things highlighted by journalists in order to capture our attention to gain ratings and sell papers and magazines.

They are unnecessary, though.  The only purpose in highlighting these things is to maintain the divisions in our society.  Ask yourself-who does that serve?

My opinion-it serves the government.  It keeps the citizens focused on their problems with each other and not the systemic issues that exist throughout our government.

Have you paid attention to recent elections?  George Bush was a nice enough guy, but probably a puppet.  John McCain was about as desirable a presidential candidate as Mussolini, and ran against someone who the media refused to show anything negative.  Romney, on the other hand, seemed to be a nice guy, but who seemed to have much of the same agenda as the man he ran against.

The man who won, Barack Obama, ran on the idea of “hope” and “change” and “moving forward”.  The only idea that really came through for me from either of the times he ran for president was that he supported socialism.

I say all that to say this-we are presented with the choice, every election it seems, with bad and worse.  We vote for (and fanatically support) the “least bad” and put them at the head of our government.  Having two “parties” which are diametrically opposed simply makes us have to choose some “bad” things with some “good” things when we vote.

The divisions in our society prevent us from doing anything to fix it, either.  Nobody can get together and make a move similar to Egypt, with millions marching on DC in order to demand change in the Federal government and an end to “party” politics.

Nothing can be done because the people are divided.  People who are for abortion and gay marriage can’t march with a person who waves a bible because their views differ, even though they would both be served by bringing real change to the system.  Few black people would march with white people (and vice versa) because “they” are “different from us” and “they” don’t understand “our” problems.  The rich, well, they will get richer, no matter the situation presented.  The poor will be focused on the other divisions of our society, as well as being made consistently aware that poor is equal to powerless.

Until we can overcome these things, our ballooning, out of control federal government will continue to balloon in size and act as it chooses, no longer as a servant to the citizens of the US, but in support of their own personal goals, keeping, maintaining, and increasing power for themselves.

Even if change was made, though, how our lot as a nation would improve is pretty unclear, to me.  Would people be able to move on and act together to build up our country and improve the lives of our citizens after such an act?  Could an electoral system be put into place that brings an end to the concept of “the guy with the most money and who is loved by the media wins”?  Could people effectively eliminate political parties, and be able to vote on leaders based on individual merit?

Given human nature, I’m just not sure.  It has been said that the US would best be served by a revolution every 50 years or so.  After that time, the system will have spoiled, tyranny will be on the rise, and individual rights will be sacrificed, because people will have forgotten just how ridiculous the government had been before.

Revolution, bloodless or armed, though, is not something that can be reasonably considered as long as we remain divided by the things I mentioned before.  Can these divisions be overcome?  How?

 

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Filed under Social ideas, Thoughts