Regarding GM Crops Destroyed by US Drought but non-GM Varieties Flourish (SiS 56), a farmer with land near us next to Silver Lake in southern Michigan (Branch County) dug a deep well two years ago about 600 feet from the lake shore. He did it in the dead of winter, going through snow and frozen ground after the summer crowd left for the season. When everyone returned in the spring, we and some of our neighbours found that our water pipes often sucked air. The farmer used immense irrigation systems the whole summer on his GM crops. Another GM farmer near a pond that our friend owns a few miles away in the same county also drilled a well to irrigate his fields and the pond went dry.
The first farmer started planting GM crops about 3 or 4 years ago. We knew he did it because he put out signs indicating that they were GM when he planted his corn that year. Then in the fall, when he began to harvest, he actually flew a skull-and-crossbones flag on his combine and harvester! My husband and I started coughing, and we coughed our way through his harvest, as we do every fall now, and getting worse every year.
other thing that’s happened is that we have almost no birds here anymore. I
have bird feeders out, for both songbirds and hummingbirds. For years I’ve
enjoyed a wide variety of birds outside my window. But sadly, this year I never
once had to replenish my bag of feed. The birds are gone. So are the
butterflies. I saw zero butterflies this summer, and there were hardly
any bees. The bees used to battle the hummingbirds for food, but the two lonely
hummingbirds that visited our feeder this year had very little competition from
the handful of bees that came around. I used to enjoy flocks of hummingbirds,
but this year my hummingbird feeder actually went sour before I had to change
it. The wild deer are gone too. In other parts of our country, people are
blaming the drought for low bird populations. But we’re sitting on a lake.
There's plenty of water here. And there are no birds. Again, the only thing
that's changed is we’re surrounded by GM fields.
Cindy, Coldwater Michigan, USA
Cancer Warning Can No Longer Be Ignored, the
International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside hosted Sophia Gatika
in Krakow in October 2012. She had already spoken in the European and German
Parliaments, telling a shocking story of sickness and death in her community in
Argentina as a result of mass glyphosate spraying of GM soya. Here is the list
of sicknesses attributed to the spraying, as analysed by the University of
Buenos Airies: leukemia, cancer, lupus, tumours, anaemia, hepatitis, and infant
death. Sophia lost her own daughter to the spraying. The feeding experiments of
Seralini’s team can surely leave no one in doubt that an outright ban of GMO
must be set in motion without further delay (see Why
Glyphosate Should Be Banned, SiS 56).
Sir Julian Rose, President, International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, Krakow, Poland
I have been reading your
articles on Fukushima and Chernobyl (Announcing
Death Camp Fukushima Chernobyl - an ISIS special report, also SiS 55) . Why not check out the worst US
‘accident’ in history…the one that no one ever heard about: Simi Valley (Santa
Susanna) nuclear accident of 1959, involving a sodium reactor. The plant was
later converted to a rocket engine testing site into which RocketDyne/McDonnell
Douglas injected millions of gallons of toxic fuel into the soil. The drinking
water is still contaminated for miles around the tract. This incident was more
than 100 times worse than Three Mile Island. Families
have been moved back in. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) covered up this
incident and denied it for over 20 years. Cancer deaths are up more than 5
times the national average.
Gene Sperling, Los Angeles, California, USA
In Aptamers for
Biosensing, Diagnosis, Drug Delivery and Therapy (SiS 56), you write “they are more likely to survive in the
environment with unknown consequences for health and the ecology of our aquatic
systems.” This comes in as an afterthought. So even for i-sis our ignorance is
still less important than our knowledge.
Jerome Ravetz, Oxford, UK
contamination: if proven, treatment centres with bio-waste controls will add
costs, but not terribly high, while the life-saving possibilities are developed.
Linus Hollis, Oakland California, USA
My comment may seem like an afterthought to you Jerry, but definitely not. I see an obligation to inform on what is known as far as possible and then point out the areas of our ignorance. You would not want me to speak from a position of ignorance do you?
Re World Water
Supply in Jeopardy (SiS 56), I have just finished reading Wes Jackson’s book Consulting
the Genius of the Place. In it he shows that our abuse of the eco-sphere
started with the agricultural revolution some 10 000 years ago when humankind
first domesticated annual grasses for grains rather than perennial grasses.
Even though it has been obvious to untold generations that agriculture using
annual grains is environmentally destructive we have not questioned the
annuality of grains rather we have been trying to ameliorate the negative
consequences of their cultivation through equally ecologically destructive
means like chemical fertilizers. I would guess that the cultivation of
perennial grains would be much less demanding of water than the equivalent
annual grains. Wes Jackson through The Land Institute, which he established in
Kansas USA, has been working to develop perennial grain crops for the last 30
years. In my view his efforts are creating a glimmer of light at the end of a
very dark tunnel.
Rory Short, Gauteng, South Africa
Mae-Wan Ho replies
Regarding the full benefits of perennial grains please read Ending 10 000 Years of Conflict between Agriculture and Nature (SiS 39) by Stan Cox, a scientist with the Land Institute. Perennials certainly use water much more efficiently, but also other nutrients, thereby preventing water pollution, and even more importantly, runoffs and loss of topsoils. They also give higher yields, sequester more carbon both above and below ground, and save energy; and are suitable for production in marginal lands.
Article first published 14/11/12
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Rory Short Comment left 20th November 2012 07:07:26
I have just finished reading, as you recommended, SiS 39 by Stan Cox. Uplifting and challenging, how do we get our departments of agriculture, agricultural research institutes and plant breeders to focus on developing perennial grain crops and, perhaps, even more importantly getting the Gene Giants to change direction. Their nostrums are just compounding the original 10,00 year old human error of domesticating annual grains.