Archive for » March, 2011 «

Friday, March 18th, 2011 | Author:

As a political science major, all this talk about how the FDA (and other influential members of government) is essentially run by former Monsanto executives is especially disturbing to me. Monsanto’s product is seeds that are genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Monsanto produces 90% of the world’s GMO seeds for farming.

While it may seem like Monsanto is a bully that no one wants to stand up to, The Organic Consumers Association is a strong organization trying to expose the truth about non-organic foods/farming techniques. They take a harsh stance against Monsanto. The Organic Consumers Association posted this very enlightening article: ten-things-monsanto does not want you to know.

The documentary Food, Inc. really nailed the truth about Monsanto…which is that it’s evil/unhealthy! It seems like it is forcing small farmers to make a choice: use our product, or we’ll run you out of business one way or another. This article summarizes the extent that Monsanto has penetrated our government. Dear government, aren’t you supposed to be protecting us!?

It seems as if Monsanto is everywhere in our government: poisoning our justice system (Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas…former Monsanto lawyer), infecting government executive positions (former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld…formerly on the Board of Directors of Monsanto’s Searle pharmaceuticals), and penetrating our Departments (U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Anne Veneman was on the Board of Directors of Monsanto’s Calgene Corporation and U.S. Secretary of Health, Tommy Thompson, received $50,000 in donations from Monsanto during his winning campaign for Wisconsin’s governor).

If Monsanto continues to have powerful and influential friends in the government, it will be very hard (though not impossible) to instill change in the system.

In addition, while I was surfing around the Monsanto website, and found this extremely misleading video about their goals and vision: Monsanto.

If I had seen that video without seeing Food, Inc., I would have just assumed that Monsanto was an honest company invested in trying to make the world a better place one seed at a time.

Dr. S was right…I’ve definitely changed my eating habits since watching Food, Inc. I haven’t eaten meat since watching the documentary because I don’t know if Mary Washington’s meat is organic or not. Anyone know whether it is or not?

-Kristen Callahan

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Friday, March 11th, 2011 | Author:

I think Australia’s first issue is that farmers tried to “command and control” the environment. Australia’s soil has low fertility, therefore to get any productivity out of it, the farmers had to command and control it by adding lots of inputs. However, it’s not like the people really had any choice…they needed food, therefore they farmed. However, over the centuries since farming started in Australia, clearly the soil and the environment has been degraded to a tipping point. It seems like all of their problems have culminated up to this pinnacle time of record droughts, climate change, and environmental degradation (due to farming).

I think the best solution would be to stop trying to control the environment, and start working with it. Since Australia’s soils and climate are not optimal for farming, trying to control the land does not work nearly as well as it does in, say, the U.S. (I’m not saying that command/control is good or sustainable, I’m just saying that it works better in the U.S than in Australia). One way (and I think possibly the best way) to start working with the environment would be to switch to new high-value crops that don’t need water. (One of the solutions that we discussed in class). I think this would be effective because it works well with Australia’s climate (hot and dry), and can be grown in less fertile soils. Some of the crops that were mentioned in class were wine and nuts, and in addition, having kangaroo farms.

Lastly, I think the soils in Australia that have already been devastated completely by salinization (I think in class Dr.S said it was about 10% of the soils with the potential to reach 25%) should be left alone. Possibly the Australian government could even make those areas National Parks, or just protected areas, to ensure that they have a chance the recover (even if it does take 500 years, it will be helpful in the long run!)

Also, this article is a good read!

-Kristen Callahan

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