Millions March against Monsanto

Durban GMO protest

Wow. On Saturday 25 May 2013, two million people worldwide marched against Monsanto, reported the Guardian. (Image above by Phillip Martin of the Durban protest from No GMO South Africa).

One of the top ten US chemical companies - think Agent Orange and DDT -Monsanto started buying up seed companies in the 1980s. Now it is the biggest producer of GM (genetically modified) seed.

Portman Square Bristol BS2 Sat 25 May 2013

Portman Square Bristol BS2 Sat 25 May 2013

Here in Bristol, we chanted: “We don’t want no GMO.”

GM (genetically modified) technology is based on the outdated scientific premise that a gene is responsible for a characteristic. So all you have to do is add a desired characteristic from one species  into another species and ta da, you have a nice new genetically modified organism (GMO).

It’s nothing like traditional breeding because it crosses species barriers, creating organisms that would never exist in nature.

Once a seed is genetically modified it can be patented – which means the company that patents it, owns it.

Which means you can now prosecute farmers who have your patented seeds on their fields. Even even if the seeds arrived (as seeds do) by wind or bees.

Check out GMO Myths and Truths for more info. This fully-referenced report shows that Monsanto et al‘s claims – that GM crops yield better, reduce pesticide use, and are safe to eat – are dubious.

Also check out: GM Education, GM Freeze and GM Watch. Also: Thierry Vrain, former pro-GM research scientist for Agriculture Canada now promoting awareness of the many dangers of GM food.

NO GMO Monsanto couple

Back to the march.

Well, despite some “trolling” beforehand including fake reports that marches were not going to happen, or would be violent, they happened and they were 100% peaceful.

See these pics of the London march and below.

Bianca Jagger - image from http://www.demotix.com/news/2088303/environmental-gmo-activists-march-against-monsanto-london#media-2088296

Bianca Jagger – image from
http://www.demotix.com/

I was a steward (I have an NVQ in Green Stewarding, I’ll have you know) for the approx 500-strong Bristol march and I can report it was filled with good humour and co-operation.

Portman Square Bristol BS2 Sat 25 May 2013

Portland Square Bristol BS2 Sat 25 May 2013

As we waited at Portland Square before setting off from the march, a man with a beautifully-ironed shirt volunteered he had escaped his “corporate pay masters” to support us.

“O, that’s great,”I said. “Are you coming on the march?”

Well, no, he wasn’t because he had already been there 45 minutes already.

He said Monsanto probably had some observers at the march but they were likely dressed in a “bohemian” way.

He was keen to meet local organisers but was uninterested when I suggested Bristol Friends of the Earth.

Monsanto has used a PR firm in the past to discredit opposition and according to some, employed a security firm to monitor activists online.

I think a security firm will have its work cut-out. The thing is there is not one over-arching or hierarchical body behind people like us.

These marches are organic and spontaneous – the human spirit rising up to protect our food.

Veg fest

After the march, Julia and I went to the VegFest (above), and reaped the benefits of a happy healthy food movement.

Who would have thought that wholesome food could be subversive?

9 responses to “Millions March against Monsanto

  1. I am worried about these GM crops that the government seems to sanction. Supermarkets are slowly creeping in GM food without consumers knowledge. I wont buy corn anymore, because they are not labelled and one doesn’t know what they are consuming. People end up with various diseases,one one knows how they got it! The govt. say the population has increased, there again, are we going to be poisoned?

  2. Hi Nina – thanks for your comment. I agree – labelling is a key issue.

    When a food or feed product contains over 0.9% GM, it has to be labelled as such in the EU.

    However meat or dairy products from animals fed on GM feed do not need to be labelled.

    Most GM in this country is in the form of animal feed.

    Recently, Marks & Spencer, the Co-operative and Sainsbury’s have stopped their ban on GM animal feed (“Traitors!” my mum called them!).

    Now along with Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, they are using GM feed for their own-brand poultry.

    This article in the Guardian gives an overview of the situation.

    Please also see GM Freeze.

    Fresh corn grown in the UK is not GM. But let me research this a bit more.

    It strikes me as wrong that we have to do all this research to find out if our food is free from GM.

    Organic standards ban GM.

    In my view, organic is just ordinary food, and should not need to bear the extra time and cost of being certified.

    It is the GM and chemically-enhanced food that should be certified.

  3. You are right, why should the consumer pay to be reassured we are eating food and not chemicals or GM? Governments laud “choice” and “freedom” but I feel my choices are getting very limited indeed. It is heartening to see so many people feel strongly about this issue, and thank you for giving us so much clear and concise information about it.

    • Thanks, Geraldine. Yes, we sure live in back-to-front world.
      Good point about “choice.”
      It reminds me of the kind of “choice” you get a supermarket:
      rows of crisps, and biscuits and other foods with low nutritional value at so-called knock-down prices.
      Meanwhile the essential-for-our-health fruit and veg is more expensive than in a greengrocer’s.
      Not what I would call choice.

  4. This post from the US Organic Consumers Association gives a (excuse pun) Round Up of the Monsanto Tipping Point.

  5. Thanks for the article Elizabeth, I hope it was ok to share this on my fb page,

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blueberries-and-Beans/343657772403133?ref=tn_tnmn

    We have an extra battle here in Italy with labelling as lots of Italians naturally don’t trust organic certificates and the like so the issue of GM is hardly spoken about. Happily we have some decent sources and getting more every day.
    Samantha

  6. We marched in Ibiza town! It was a beautiful afternoon. And what struck me was how little passers-by seemed to know of this bio-tech giant seeking to control all our agriculture; our sustinence. Awareness needs raising first and foremost. Thank you for helping in this (ad)venture Elisabeth!

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