Tags: food security, GMO, organic, seed patent
Recently I saw the film Seed: The Untold Story. While I was familiar with the presented issues, I wasn’t aware of just how extensive they were.
For example, did you know that 94% of seed diversity was lost in the last century? Some countries have made it illegal to collect heritage seeds, saying they need to “maintain the quality” (monopoly) of commercial stocks. And yet history has repeatedly shown us the hazards of widespread use of the same crop. Mono-crops can be compromised or wiped out by easily spread disease.
A more recent development is seed patents. Make a few small changes and you can own the seed stock. Farmers are not allowed to collect seeds or the seeds produce only one crop, obliging them to buy seeds again every year. Those seeds are often dependent on chemical sprays and again encourage mono-crops.
Thousands of farmers in India were convinced to borrow to buy seed they formerly harvested themselves. They got a crop they couldn’t renew and often failed, bankrupting them and causing over 250,000 suicides.
Thousands of small seed companies have been bought up by chemical companies which now control 2/3 of the global market. In other words, our food supply has become very dependent on international chemical corporations. The same ones who are patenting seeds.
The “small changes” that allow patenting seeds often take the form of genetic modification. Unlike our long history of culturing plant qualities through selective breeding, Genetically Modified (GMO) foods have directly altered DNA, often by adding features from other species. They’ve added fish DNA into tomatoes, for example. Those foods are then put on the market, untested. Some crops like corn and soy are almost all GMO, both of which are widely used in packaged food.
Scientific research is beginning to show correlations between GMO food consumption, cancer, and other health issues. Our dinner tables have become a laboratory for testing GMO. Unlike the also present pesticide residues, GMO cannot be washed off.
As pollination doesn’t recognize farm boundaries, nearby fields get contaminated. The seed owners can successfully sue farmers for using patented plants they didn’t plant. And the supply of non-GMO seeds gets further compromised, again moving towards mono-crops.
Yet the film is not dominated by a doomsday message. They also cover solutions and highlight people who are saving seed diversity for future generations. And happily, governments are slowly legislating GMO labeling so consumers can make informed choices.
Western Canada has a well-developed seed-sharing community.
Tags: harm, Justice, Natural Justice, violence
A friend of mine sent me an article on the recently founded International Tribunal for Natural Justice (ITNJ). While I don’t have a background in the field, I found the introduction a pretty interesting read. It was launched this month to coincide with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. Here are a few quotes:
“What is Justice? What is fairness? What is the rule of law? When in the course of our lives we discover that we have been harmed by another, by what process do we seek to correct this harm, and ensure no other is also harmed? Justice is the answer to these questions, but what is Justice?”
“The fundamental ‘rules’ of the Universe are known by many names, written in many books, but all are reflections of objective Truth. The ITNJ is founded on the recognition of a logical or causal consequence of Natural Laws, present everywhere in existence and experience – moving from higher to lower. In order to understand why Justice is objective, and not the arbitrary whim of ‘authorities’ and government, we must understand the fundamental aspects of reality itself.”
They list 8 fundamental principles or laws.
“The International Tribunal for Natural Justice is a body of knowledgeable, active and committed individuals seeking to act in harmony with the fundamental laws of the Universe. These laws are inherent, meaning they existed before humanity, and will continue to do so now and into the future. By seeking for, and gaining knowledge of these fundamental laws from experience itself, an awareness of objective morality is developed, and a duty is placed on such individuals to become an agent for Natural Justice; the ITNJ seeks to be one of these agents. As we are living on a planet ravaged by deception, coercion and piracy, only the people themselves can take up their creative prerogatives to correct tyranny and injustice when it is discovered.”
“Natural Justice is based on the premise of honor and trust, as such a harm incurred by one cannot be corrected by incurring harm back on them; ‘an eye for an eye. The cause of harm is incomplete knowledge and/or an unwillingness to honor the rights of others, as such the solution must be an attempt to offer the truth to such individuals, an establishment of trust.”
“When we see injustice being done (violence) and take actions to stop the harm and disclose this to the violating party (full disclosure); we offer them a chance to address the harm honorably. Natural Justice always seeks to honor others even when they seek to dishonor us.”
“ITNJ can serve as a grand venue to hear the grievances of all the people who have been harmed by corporations, governments or any other. Court cases will be transparent and public, freely available to all. Judgements will be presented to any guilty party by Attorney Generals who will issue notices, and begin the process of redress.”
This reminds me of the local First Nations court where the goal is community and healing rather than further harm. It is a profound rethinking of justice, especially in light of how it is performing in the present day.
Please follow the opening links to read more.