ISIS Report 30/05/08
Science in Society #38 Summer 2008
Letters to the Editor
Deadly gift from Monsanto to India
To follow up on your articles, Organic Cotton Beats Bt Cotton in India
(SiS 27) and Message from
Andra Predesh:Return to organic cotton & avoid the Bt cotton trap
(SiS 29), I enclose photographs of mealy bugs infested cotton plants
in the demonstration plots of different seed companies in Vidarbha: Ganga
Kavari, Paras Bbhrahma, and Banny. All of the plots have the Bollgard label.
These mealy bugs have never been in our region on any plants before Bt cotton
was introduced. I learned about the devastation of cotton in China two years
ago. This alerted me to photograph and video the demonstration plots regularly.
So, anybody can say with confidence now that the mealy bug has entered Vidarbha
cotton fields through the Bt cottonseed.
Now when the cotton plants have died, the mealy bug is
shifting to nearby plants. By mid June, farmers will go for the new
cotton crop or plant another crop. But before that, the bug will have multiplied like any thing. It has shifted
to Congress weed nearby, and many other weeds and plants in gardens.
At the same time I am studying the sudden death of plants. The new generation
cotton seeds, called ‘Research Hybrid seeds’; are all male sterile. In short,
they are terminator seeds; and proven by the high-level government committee
in1993. I have the report of it. The breeder then published an article advising
farmers that they should not use the F2 seeds of such hybrids, as the plants
coming out of them are 100 percent sterile. Your article, Killing Fields Near
You (ISIS News7/8) confirmed this for me.
I am an organic farmer residing at Yavatmal in the state of Maharashtra. Our
organisation, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association, has been propagating organic
farming since 1994. We have been helped a lot by Dr Vandana Shiva. She was the
first person to tell us about about terminators. Right now, we are working for
her organisation Navdanya.
Ram Kalaspurkar, organic farmer, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association,
Yavatmal, Maharashtra, India
Bt cotton plant infested with mealy bugs
Close-up of big mealy bug on Bt
Other plant infested with mealy bug
Glyphosate kills bees
Regarding your article, Mystery of Disappearing
Honeybees (SiS 34), I am a Dutch beekeeper in the east of the Netherlands
near Germany, and we see the same problem with bees, as in Belgium, Germany,
France and the whole of Europe. In the Netherlands the government is set to
give permission for growing GMOs, even in such a very small country. It will
cause a lot of damage: bad for biodiversity, the earth, water, air, drinking
water and food.
I just lost 68 percent of my bees, and I blame the city workers who sprayed
glyphosate twice at the end of October last year. My beehives were 4 metres
from the spray, whereas the legal distance is 200 metres. By the beginning
of January 2008, the bees started to die. The municipal authorities in
villages and small cities spray glyphosate on weeds in public places, gardens
and footpaths. In big cities, they would use steam instead of weed killers.
I did a ‘test’ in September 2007 with a bit of glyphosate, and within three
or five minutes, the bees were dead. It is very important for the city workers
to give people warning when they spray, but they never do.
We must study the toxic effects of GMOs and glyphosate, for the sake of the
next generation, our children, as well as the sick and old people.
Hans van den Broek, Stalen Enk, BR Velp, The Netherlands
Microwaves killing bees?
I just read your article, Mobile Phones and
Vanishing Bees (SiS 34). I am concerned, because I work at a 3G company
in Sydney, and have started to notice large numbers of dead bees in the stairwell,
about 60 of them last time I looked….
It may be a random coincidence, but maybe they are being mis-directed by the
signals from our building? Is there anything I can do?
Name and address supplied, Sydney, Australia
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
If there is a mast on top of your building, I suggest
the company engineers measure the intensity of microwave radiation inside
your building. Although the main beam is directed away from the building,
substantial radiation could be coming from the 'side lobes' of the transmitted
microwaves. If it is killing bees, certainly not good for people either. Perhaps
your engineers can suggest some effective shielding for the building.
Please watch out for further signs of dead bees. To protect the bees you
will have to re-site your transmitter(s) away from the paths of bees.
Human waste to biogas
I am working at a property developer at Jakarta (the Capital of Indonesia)
and came across your article, Biogas Bonanza for Third World
Development (SiS27).The company I am working for (and its affiliates)
is developing several low-end apartment towers. My Directors are very keen
on the idea of using biological (human) waste as an additional source to generate
electricity power. I am trying to prepare a simple study on this issue. Could
you advise me where I should start?
Felix, Jakarta, Indonesia
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
Most countries that have used human wastes to generate biogas have done
so on a family scale, mixed in with livestock and other wastes. You can find
the most up-to-date details in the final chapters of our Food Futures Now *Organic *Sustainable
*Fossil Fuel Free (ISIS publication, 2008). But one reader
has drawn our attention to a newspaper report “Tiruneermalai can now use biogas
for streetlights” (The Hindu, online, 9 July 2007), describing a project
of the Tiruneermalai town council that involved collecting human waste from
240 dwelling units in for anaerobic digestion. The resulting biogas operates
a generator to provide power for streetlights. The company A. Mohan of Sundarm
Fabricators that made the biogas digester said the model would be ideal for
multi-story apartments. It has installed similar systems at three villages
in Namakkal and seven villages in Salem.
I certainly think this is a very good idea that should
be implemented worldwide. We have suggested including human wastes for anaerobic
digestion in our zero-emissions, zero-waste, food and energy Dream Farm 2
described in the ISIS publication mentioned above.