Monday, January 22, 2007

La Vanguardia has one of its typical unquestioning reports on what Europeans call "altermundismo," the naive belief that "another world is possible." Seems they are having something called the World Social Forum in Nairobi. Says La Vangua's reporter, "Disputes over land were a factor, along with the fall in the price of coffee and tea, in the genocidal catastrophe in the overpopulated highlands of Rwanda, and they are a factor in the Sudanese province in Darfur."

This sounds to me like economic justification for genocide, as well as a way to blame what happened in Rwanda on someone else rather than the people who beheaded their neighbors with machetes.

Said Vandana Shiva, billed as "an Indian ecologist," "The green revolution in India destroyed the most prosperous land."

And, said Nmimmo Bassey, billed as "the African coordinator for Friends of the Earth," "So far, no genetically modified crops offer benefits to the consumer in terms of quality or price, nor have they done anything to alleviate hunger and poverty in Africa or anywhere else."

Gee, really? From Wikipedia:

There has also been rapid and continuing expansion of GM cotton varieties in India since 2002. (Cotton is a major source of vegetable cooking oil and animal feed.) It is predicted that in 2006/7 32,000 km² of GM cotton will be harvested in India (up more than 100% from the previous season). Indian national average cotton yields have been boosted to close to 50% above the long term average yield during this period. The publicity given to transgenic trait Bt insect resistance has encouraged the adoption of better performing hybrid cotton varieties, and the Bt trait has substantially reduced losses to insect predation. Economic and environmental benefits of GM cotton in India to the individual farmer have been documented.

Or how about this:

The majority of commercially available crops have an agronomic advantage like herbicide tolerance or insect resistance. These traits offer major benefits to the farmer and the environment. Importantly, economic benefits of GM crops in developing countries are more significant compared to industrialised countries because agriculture in these countries is a larger part of the economy, and employs a larger fraction of the labor force, and often agriculture suffers from losses of crops to insects which are remedied in insect protected GM crops. However, in industrialised countries, the consumer benefits from GM traits are mainly indirect, and channeled through their benefits to the environment, including promotion of efficient use of available arable land and water.

GM crops have shown to contribute to significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices. This reduction results from decreased fuel use, about 1.8 billion liters in the past nine years, and additional soil carbon sequestration because of reduced ploughing or improved conservation tillage associated with biotech crops. In 2004, this reduction was equivalent to eliminating more than 10 billion kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. GM cotton has greatly reduced synthetic pesticide use in the US, Australia and India.

Or this:

Proponents say that genetically-engineered crops are not significantly different from those modified by nature or humans in the past, and are as safe or even safer than such methods. There is gene transfer between unicellular eukaryotes and prokaryotes. There have been no known genetic catastrophes as a result of this. They argue that animal husbandry and crop breeding are also forms of genetic engineering that use artificial selection instead of modern genetic modification techniques. It is politics, they argue, not economics or science, that causes their work to be closely investigated, and for different standards to apply to it than those applied to other forms of agricultural technology.

Here's why:

There is a significant amount of evidence suggesting that the Green Revolution had the effect of weakening socialist movements in many nations. In countries like India, Mexico, and the Philippines, technological solutions were sought as an alternative to expanding agrarian reform initiatives, the latter of which were often linked to socialist politics.

No comments: