By Rachel Gray, Cobb Greens & Friends
Georgia Greens March Against Unethical, Anti-Science Experiments on Food Supply, Ecosystems and Public Health
It is no longer enough for nature enthusiasts, activities and scientists to be environmentally friendly. Our Green-focused families, sustainable communities and grassroots movements must be eco-conscious, reconstructing both U.S. agriculture and global trade policies. Georgia Greens, in cooperation with the March for Science on Earth Day, implore scientists to demand their research and funding be dedicated to enacting policies to make much-needed progress for the public good. Publically-funded, government agencies must stop choosing to line the pockets of billionaires operating massive chemical companies, who always choose profit over people and planet.
Despite decades of using toxic chemicals in food production, the promise of eradicating hunger by this irrational approach remains a sick joke. Instead, the Green Party stance makes it very clear: There is a fundamental conflict between economic growth and environmental protection…An optimum size of the economy is reached which maximizes human welfare in a holistic sense.
Deadly Chemicals Compound Risks
In a 2013 survey, 71 percent of Americans expressed a concern over the number of toxins and pesticides in their food supply. Yet, more than 1 billion pounds of chemicals are used each year in the U.S. alone. “Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing.”
Scientific studies and laboratory research has found alarming amounts of the weed killer, glyphosate, in nearly every food product. Roundup — the world’s most widely used herbicide, coated on both GMO crops and conventional fields, as well as public parks and other landscaping spaces — is manufactured by Monsanto, which got its start in 1902 producing saccharin, later moving into synthetic rubber, PCBs, AstroTurf, Agent Orange and aspartame.
Through industrialized food production, this insecticide is fed to our livestock and to our children, poisons farm workers, contaminates water supplies, degrades soil, pollutes air quality, kills wildlife and could cause antibiotic-resistant pandemics. These chemical compounds are found in common, every-day and even iconic processed foods from cereals and cookies to baby food and honey to fruit and farmed salmon.
Many anti-chemical (pro plant-based/all-natural) activists have been pushing for the U.S. government to properly investigate if glyphosate is linked to the nation’s rising childhood cancer rates. And, as an endocrine disruptor, glyphosate has been tied to disrupting hormones, leading to reproductive problems like birth defects, infertility and neurological disease. And, this carcinogen kills good bacteria needed for proper gut health, leading to inflammation and diabetes.
For 35 years, the EPA has known about the harmful, cancer-causing side effects of agrichemicals, often waiting to release this evidence until conflicting reports by the manufactures could refute, or at least dilute, the evidence. This long-anticipated evidence proves the U.S. government conspires to push for the use of more chemically-intensive, corporate-dominated, industrialized, toxic, wasteful farming methods rammed through our nation’s precious land resources by Monsanto, Bayer, DuPont and Dow Chemical.
The collusion is most evident by presidential administrations and their cronies purposefully causing our regulatory system to fail in protecting the American people. The trail of toxic policy from the White House started with former Monsanto executive Donald Rumsfeld, who held prominent, high-ranking positions in the Ford, Regan and Bush Jr. administrations. The influence continued with Obama’s quick appointments of other top Monsanto executives to the USDA, FDA and other agri-business agencies, and their successful influence is evident in Obama’s support of the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership and his signing of the Dark Act, which “blocks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from ever implementing mandatory GE food labeling, and allows food companies to continue to make misleading ‘natural’ claims for foods that contain GE ingredients.”
Genetic Splicing of Plants Loses Ground
In March of 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization, said the herbicide glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans.’ This year, the UN Human Rights council released the ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food,’ which accuses global pesticide conglomerates of systematic denial of harms, aggressive, unethical marketing tactics, and heavy lobbying of governments that has obstructed reforms and paralyzed global pesticide restrictions, which have catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole, including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning.
In February, DuPont and Chemours Co. agreed to pay about $671 million in cash to settle more than 3,500 lawsuits related to the leak around a West Virginia manufacturing plant of a toxic chemical used to make Teflon (perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA or C-8, used to make the nonstick coating on pots and pans, which has been linked to cancer and other diseases.) And last month, the state of California began requiring Monsanto to label their weed killer, in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
But industrial chemicals pesticides are just some of the lucrative pillages of industrialized farming. Genetically modified/engineered organisms (seeds) are ‘crafted’ to contain bacterium that produce toxins to kill weeds and pests, or are manufactured to be so resilient as to remain alive while continuously sprayed with killer chemicals to deter insects — possibly collapsing entire colonies of bees and other pollinators. GMOs has the known effect of causing weed and pest strains to genetically mutate for greater resistance, which allows multinational agri-businesses to pump out more chemicals and more engineered seeds to combat the problems these false ‘scientific solutions’ are creating.
The modified plants are ‘made’ tougher as well, with each cycle reducing the amount of nutrients absorbed by the plants, making the food supply less nutritious and limited on yield. All while profits soar on this type of intellectual, patent-friendly, property. There is no doubt that , sustainable economy and much more benefit to independent, local, family farmers.
Small-scale, organic (non-chemical/natural fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides), GMO-free farming is the only way to feed the world. Studies have shown the consumption of an organic diet significantly reduces pesticide exposure in adults. The good news is that organic farmland in the U.S. hit a record 4.1 million acres in 2016, an 11% increase in two years, with alfalfa/hay the leading crop. The bad news is Georgia only accounted for 7,832 acres, being far outpaced by North Carolina (21,688), Indiana (40,380) and most plains and western states, which average more than 100,000 acres each.
Georgia Greens Encourage Growth from the Grassroots
Being part of the Green Party community means being part of an international movement to combat this global toxic epidemic, from India to most of the European Union. Instead of flooding the Caribbean, Africa and other developing regions with subsidized GMO rice and corn, it is time for some real ecological economics. A true Green food system in America must be promoted through the Economic Justice & Sustainability platform of the U.S. Green Party – which respects the human right to safe food and the liberty to grow, consume and trade natural food.
“Green economic policy places value not just on material wealth, but on the things which truly make life worth living — our health, our relationships, our communities, our environment, and building peace and justice throughout our nation and the world…Production is best for people and planet when democratically owned and operated by those who do the work and those most affected by production decisions (co-operatives). This model of worker and community empowerment will ensure that decisions that greatly affect our lives are made in the interests of our communities, not at the whim of centralized power structures of state administrators or of capitalist CEOs and distant boards of directors.”
Georgia Greens support strong local economies and regional trade from self-sufficient production, without corporate control and unwanted, unwarranted intervention. This includes true-cost pricing (like a carbon tax), eliminating waste with composting and closed-loop durable goods, as well as minimally producing and clearly identifying toxic chemicals. Greens must demand chemical producers adhere to independent testing, with transparent oversight. Greens must protect ‘traditional’ farmers’ rights and seed storage. Greens must insist our governmental regulators hold manufactures financially and criminally liable for the harm these chemicals inflict on communities and wildlife. And, Greens must immediately implement processes to ensure the public’s right to know what is in our food from raw to processed forms.
Turn Your Green Passion into Action
1. Purchase or even make chemical-free household products like cleaners and detergents.
And stay tuned for a future article, Go Green, Grow Hemp & Get High, where we fight back against the petroleum-based plastics industry, and demand hemp finally be implemented as the superior industrial, medicinal and recreational plant that it is!
Democrats and Republicans alike are in the pocket of chemical companies, of Big Ag, Buig Pharma and the rest. Only the Green Party fights for the right to a clean and healthy environment. Help us make that happen by joining the Georgia Green Party at our minimum dues level of only $10 per month.