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Posts Tagged ‘agro-ecology

Global Status of GMO and Non-GMO Crops

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4/03/14   The Institute of Science in Society monsanto2

Dr Mae-Wan Ho takes you behind the latest, most blatant scientific disinformation campaign to show how GMO crops have remained a minority sector in food production and shrinking from overwhelming consumer rejection; in contrast, non-GMO sectors are rapidly taking over the global food market, the largest, agro-ecological farming, is also the most sustainable, resilient and climate friendly, and currently produces over half of the world’s food.

Scientific disinformation on GMO plumbs new depths

Scientific disinformation on GMOs is rife; more so and more blatant than any other area where science has become enmeshed with corporate profit. The battle to reclaim people’s food rights intensifies worldwide as the failures and hazards of GMOs can no longer be concealed behind the relentless propaganda. Within the past 18 months, learned societies, science journals and sundry scientist have joined the fray, spreading false claims that the scientific debate is over and GM food is proven safe, that GM crops are a great success with more miracles on the way, and needed to feed the world [1-4] (see our response to one of them [5] Scientific American Disinformation on GMOs, SiS 60).

This most recent global disinformation campaign has been carefully orchestrated. Anne Glover, a molecular biologist at St. Andrews University in Scotland, was appointed the European Commission’s first chief scientific advisor in 2012, and since then, used a series of interviews with EurActiv news network to promote GMOs. In an open letter addressed to Glover, Dr Brian John of GM-Free Cymru wrote [6]: “Your claim that there is no evidence of adverse GMO impacts is a lie.” He referred to a recent list compiled by GM Free USA [7] consisting of more than 1 400 scientific papers on various adverse health and environmental impacts of GM crops and related pesticides, and a statement signed by nearly 300 scientists declaring there is no consensus on the safety of GMOs [8] (Scientists Declare No Consensus on GMO Safety, SiS 60). And ISIS has produced our own comprehensive report on the health and environmental hazards of GMOs especially in the light of the new genetics,  recommending individuals, families and local communities everywhere to institute their own ban on GMOs [9] (Ban GMOs Now). John’s timely letter [6] was released just before Glover went on a mission to sell GMOs to Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sustainable Agriculture and Off-Grid Renewable Energy

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Small integrated farms with off-grid renewable energy may be the perfect solution to the food and financial crisis while mitigating and adapting to climate change

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho  July 18, 2011     Institute of Science in Society

In a Nutshell

An emerging scientific consensus that a shift to small scale sustainable agriculture and localized food systems will address most, if not all the underlying causes of deteriorating agricultural productivity as well as the conservation of natural soil and water resources while saving the climate

To substantially improve living standards, access to modern energy is also crucial. Small agro-ecological farms are known to be highly productive, and are ideally served by new renewable energies that can be generated and used on site, and in off-grid situations most often encountered in developing countries

A model that explicitly integrates sustainable farming and renewable energies in a circular economy patterned after nature could compensate, in the best case scenario, for the carbon emissions and energy consumption of the entire nation while revitalising and stimulating local economies and employment opportunities

Food crisis, global economic instability, and political unrest

Soaring food prices were a major trigger for the riots that destabilized North Africa and the Middle East, and have since spread to many other African countries [1, 2]. The UN Food Price Index hit its all-time high in February 2011, and the May 2011 average was 37 percent above a year ago [3]. This is happening as the global economy is still staggering from the 2008 financial (and food) crisis, with public debt expanding and unemployment sky high [4].

Lester Brown, venerated veteran world-watcher, says food has quickly become the hidden driver of world politics [5], and food crises are going to become increasingly common. “Scarcity is the new norm.” The world is facing increasing demand for food as population increases while food crops and land are being diverted to produce biofuels; in 2010, the United States alone turned 126 million tons of its 400 million tons corn harvest into ethanol.  At the same time, the world’s ability to produce food is diminishing. Aquifers are running dry in the major food producing countries where half of the world population live. There is widespread soil erosion and desertification; and global warming temperatures and weather extremes are already reducing crop yields [6-9], hitting the most vulnerable people in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia the hardest.

“We are now so close to the edge that a breakdown in the food system could come at any time.” Brown warns [5]. “At issue now is whether the world can go beyond focusing on the symptoms of the deteriorating food situation and instead attack the underlying causes. If we cannot produce higher crop yields with less water and conserve fertile soils, many agricultural areas will cease to be viable…..If we cannot move at wartime speed to stabilize the climate, we may not be able to avoid runaway food prices….The time to act is now — before the food crisis of 2011 becomes the new normal.”

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