Michael Riordon

the view from where I live


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Food fight, high stakes

In Independent Science News, January 12, Jonathan Latham sets out a stark bottom line for the survival of multi-cellular organisms – eg human beings – on this planet.

Industrial agriculture

Latham: “The project to fully industrialise global food production is far from complete, yet already it is responsible for most deforestation, most marine pollution, most coral reef destruction, much of greenhouse gas emissions, most habitat loss, most of the degradation of streams and rivers, most food insecurity, most immigration, most water depletion, massive human health problems, and so on. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that if the industrialisation of food is not reversed our planet will be made unlivable for multi-cellular organisms.”

So then, a matter of life and death. Jonathan Latham offers a recipe for survival.  It’s worth a try.

For a taste of how to feed the world on a human scale, visit with Ann Clark, plant physiologist and farmer, in Bold Scientists, chapter 2, Digging thistles. Read an excerpt here.


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Bold Scientists, the trailer, now on YouTube.

“Tremendously hopeful and profoundly disturbing.”

Great minds don’t think alike. They think differently.  Here.

Bold Scientists trailer, screen shot


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New GM Crops: fields of insanity

A definition of insanity: If something clearly doesn’t work, do it again.  And again…

TRAUDT AERIAL SERVICEPhoto: Aurora Cooperative

The corporate leviathans that brought us GM crops promised no pollen spread. Fact: Any place these invasive crops are planted they spread pollen as far as wind and bugs can carry it, making it impossible to grow non-genetically manipulated crops for miles around.

The industry promised that GM herbicide-tolerant crops would need less chemicals to suppress competing weeds. Nature laughed. Fact: Very quickly, weeds developed tolerance to the most widely used herbicide, glyphosate. The resulting ‘superweeds’ already infest an estimated 70 million acres of US farmland, and they’re spreading rapidly.  It’s being called an agricultural crisis.  Another one.

The corporate solution to the new problem: Throw more chemicals at it. No surprise, chemicals induce dependency and generate enormous profits. The pushers are pushing hard – not that it takes much pressure – to get US government approval to sell the highly toxic 2,4-D herbicide/defoliant, infamous as a weapon of mass destruction in the US war on Viet Nam.

At the same time, the industry plans to release GM crops.2, corn and soybeans genetically manipulated to tolerate repeated dousing with multiple herbicides, including 2,4-D. Details here, in Wired: http://www.wired.com/2014/09/new-gm-crops/.

For a saner path, stop in for a visit with Ann Clark, plant physiologist and post-oil farmer, in Bold Scientists, chapter 2, Digging thistles. Read an excerpt here.


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Bold Scientists on Green Majority Radio

A feature interview on Green Majority Radio:  Fresh from the New York City climate march, host Daryn Caister chats with Michael Riordon about Bold Scientists.

MR and BS, Green Majority MediaWe range far and wide: science and scientists – bold and not, knowing our place (in nature), who owns knowledge, hubris and humility, power and resistance… Far and wide.

Hear it here: http://greenmajoritymedia.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/419-bold-scientists/.

 

 


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Good news from Chile!

From the newly elected government of Chile, an inspiring initiative on the genetic manipulation front:

Chile Derails ‘Monsanto Law’ That Would Privatize Seeds.

Chile protests GMOsPhoto: International Business Times

The bold move followed years of public protest against GMOs throughout Chile.

Alicia Muñoz, of the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women (Anamuri) explains: “All of the resistance that rural organizations, principally indigenous communities, led during these past years was a success.  We were able to convey to the parliament how harmful the law would be for the indigenous communities and farmers who feed us all.  Big agriculture, or agro-business, is just that, a business.  It doesn’t feed our country.”

Meanwhile in Canada, the US and the EU, governments beholden to the agri-corps rush to do their profit-driven bidding.

The new government in Chile sets an example of what responsible governments can do when they attend to the needs of their people, rather than serve the grey ghosts that stalk the corridors of power.

Follow the international GMO battle in Bold Scientists: dispatches from the battle for honest science, coming from Between the Lines, autumn 2014.