By Michael Welber...
A large number of people all over the country will take to the streets on Saturday to express their displeasure about what the mega-corporation Monsanto is doing to farms, consumers, and, quite literally, the world. Whether Monsanto gives a rat’s rectum about these marches is open to question but they certainly didn’t change their rapacious and damaging ways after last year’s march.
If you want to take action but don’t think that walking around in the hot sun, carrying a sign, will have any impact, here are five things you can do to keep your money out of their hands. Money talks and… well, you know the rest.
- Never, ever, buy Roundup.
Roundup is Monsanto’s flagship product that is designed to kill weeds. Farmers use increasing amounts of the herbicide to do what mulching and other techniques would do without the poison. And consumers use it so they won’t have those ugly, nasty weeds on their property. The county uses it. The church down the street where I live uses it. The Marathon Garden Club sprays their pea rock with it. Crane Point Nature Center uses it!!
Glyphosate, the active chemical in Roundup and many other broadleaf weed killers, is one of the most popular and widely used herbicides in the United States. Americans use about 100 million pounds of glyphosate annually, to kill weeds in fields of "Roundup-ready" soybeans and corn, along highway rights-of-way, around oil tanks and on lawns. Lawns!
Not only does buying Roundup contribute to Monsanto’s bottom line but it can kill you. Which leads me to number 2.
- Never, ever use Roundup.
You may or may not have read earlier this year that 17 cancer experts from 11 countries reviewed the ingredient in Roundup – glyphosate -- and said that it was “probably” carcinogenic to humans. If you know researcher-talk then you also know that they are unlikely to say definitively that Roundup causes cancer because, just like with cigarettes, not everyone who is exposed to it gets cancer. Spray the nasty stuff at your own risk.
The researchers also found that:
- 44 percent of tested city dwellers in Europe had glyphosate residue in their urine.
- 35 urine samples from U.S. women found levels ten times higher than those in the European report.
- Glyphosate is used to dry wheat after harvest. In Britain samples showed that 60 percent of nearly 3,000 bread samples had carcinogenic glyphosate residue in them.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t monitor our food for glyphosate residues because it’s “too expensive.”
- Never, ever use Roundup in the Keys
Research on the DNA-damaging effects of Roundup indicates that it can do significant harm to fish even after short-term, environmentally low concentration exposures in the parts per billion range.
In case you haven’t noticed, the rocks we all live on are very porous. Rain runs through it extremely fast. Even after a major rain storm the puddles disappear quickly. It doesn’t take a genius to know, therefore, that glyphosate will also run through the ground and into the ocean, too. Apparently there aren’t enough geniuses in the Keys to understand that simple fact.
Skeptics might say that they aren’t putting that much on the ground so there’s no problem. How about this then. A study released by a University of Pittsburgh researcher finds that the chemical may also be deadly to amphibians. Pittsburgh assistant professor of biology Rick Relyea found that Roundup is “extremely lethal” to amphibians, and these results may provide a link to global amphibian population decline.
- Never, ever eat GMO food.
While there is no solid evidence that eating food with genetically modified ingredients will harm humans, the movement is slaughtering the very ground we stand on. Walk into a field treated with herbicides and what you’ll see isn’t dirt. It’s something else. Industrial farming is slowly destroying top soil.
Some years ago Monsanto came out with genetically modified Roundup Ready seeds. These crops resist the company’s herbicide while it kills the weeds growing between rows. But the company didn’t absorb the lessons of Charles Darwin published over 150 years ago. The weeds evolved a resistance to Roundup so now farmers must apply more and more of the stuff to do the same job. Actually maybe Monsanto had that in mind all the time.
Nearly 90 percent of soybeans and 70 percent of corn seeds are now Roundup Ready. The company also produces genetically modified alfalfa, canola, cotton, sorghum, sugar beet and wheat seeds. Most of those crops are used to feed animals and make gasoline. When you eat industrial beef (not grass fed), chicken (non-pastured), or pork (non-pastured) you are supporting Monsanto.
Solution? Eat only grass fed or pastured meat and organic vegetables. That’s the only way you can be sure you aren’t eating genetically modified foods. Think organic food is too expensive? Americans spend the lowest percentage of their income on food at 6.7 percent. Canadians spend 10 percent, Germans 12 percent and the French 13.8 percent. Our industrially produced food is heavily subsidized by the government (us), keeping prices ridiculously low. That also means that the government is subsidizing Monsanto. Which leads to reason #5.
- Never, ever vote for federal politicians who are supported by Monsanto
Good luck with this one. There aren’t many. President Obama appointed Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary and Vilsack has very close ties to Monsanto. Hillary Clinton’s ties to agribusiness giant Monsanto, and her advocacy for the industry’s genetically modified crops, have environmentalists in Iowa calling her “Bride of Frankenfood.” In a 2014 public appearance she announced her support of Monsanto’s GMO seeds and chemicals.
The Republican candidates? All of the major candidates are opposed to GMO labeling — and many are directly supporting Monsanto’s biotech aspirations. Jeb Bush was in agreement, stating: “We should not try to make it harder for that kind of innovation to exist. We should celebrate it … I think [labeling GMOs] a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”
March if you want to, knowing it’s a symbolic gesture. But don’t support this company with your dollars. In Key West the March there steps off from Mallory Square at 4 p.m. In Marathon, the group will gather at Food for Thought at 11 a.m. where the participants will get information about foods with GMO ingredients.