ETC Group reported on a patent application(1) under examination at the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in which Siegers Seed Company of Holland, Michigan, claimed invention of a “warted pumpkin...wherein the outer shell includes at least one wart...” On February 13 2009, the USPTO put its 9-page verdict in the mail(2) rejecting all of the application's 25 claims.
OTTAWA, Canada –More than 80 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 20 countries sent a sharp message to scientists meeting in Copenhagen, by releasing a joint statement initiated at the World Social Forum in Belém, Brazil: “The Better World we seek is not Geo-engineered.” The statement is being released as a small group of scientists, using a high-profile platform at a climate-science meeting in Copenhagen1 , are ratcheting up pressure on governments to support and fund real world geo-engineering experiments. ETC Group, a Canadian-based international CSO, is releasing the statement, which focuses on ocean fertilization, one of the most controversial geo-engineering technologies. The groups assert that “Ocean fertilization and other unjust and high risk geo-engineering schemes are the wrong answer to the challenge of global climate change.”
This statement was initiated at the World Social Forum in Belém, Brazil in January 2009. ETC Group released it on March 10, 2009 on the eve of a geo-engineering panel at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions.
Since the World Social Forum last met in Nairobi in January 2007, civil society organizations from around the globe have confronted an alarming new threat to our rights and biodiversity: the threat of unjust and high risk geo-engineering schemes and specifically ocean fertilization. We are facing off against several multimillion-dollar private and government-backed projects that aim to re-engineer our climate and oceans. We will soon face other attempts to intentionally alter our soils, deserts and other ecosystems on a large scale in the name of climate protection and profit-making, including the lucrative carbon trade.
With less than a month left (March 2009) to enter ETC Group’s Pie-in-the-Sky contest, people from all over the world are sending in their outlandish ideas to re-engineer the planet so it (and we) can survive climate change.
Some professional geo-engineers have real designs in the works to manipulate the earth, sea and atmosphere on a large scale – to make carbon disappear, to keep sunlight from hitting the earth and, of course, to profit from the carbon market. They're a busy bunch: pleading their case in the press and at meetings of international environmental bodies; dumping iron particles from ships to “fertilize” the ocean; applying for monopoly patents on schemes to increase the carbon-sequestering capacity of plants by applying proprietary insecticides(!)1; and publishing articles in influential journals declaring that now is the time to “take geo-engineering out of the closet.”
The first ever “Pie-in-the-Sky” contest for the wackiest geoengineering scheme to combat global warming is taking off just as controversial planetary techno-fixes are heating up.
On December 4, 2008, while most folks in the United States were eating the last slices of pumpkin pie left over from Thanksgiving dinner, the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) published patent application US20080301830A1 on a Warted pumpkin, “invented” by the Director of Sales & Marketing at Siegers Seed Company in Holland, Michigan, USA. The patent application claims a “warted pumpkin...wherein the outer shell includes at least one wart associated with the outer shell of the body.”
ETC Group joined the chorus of voices, including the German Environment Ministry, expressing its deep regret at the decision of the German Minister of Research to re-authorize the controversial LOHAFEX ocean fertilization expedition. Researchers on board the German vessel RV Polarstern have now begun dumping 6 tons of iron sulphate over 300 square kilometers of open ocean in the Scotia Sea (east of Argentina) to artificially prompt the growth of a large plankton bloom. It will be one of the largest ocean fertilization experiments to date.
ETC Group and our allies in Germany, India and South Africa reported on an Indo-German research expedition, codenamed LOHAFEX, which was about to breach the global moratorium on ocean fertilisation established through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).(2) The LOHAFEX researchers plan to spread 6 tonnes of iron sulphate (in earlier statements, they said they had 20 tonnes of iron sulphate)(3) over a 300 square kilometre patch of ocean, in order to spur phytoplankton growth. This "ocean fertilization" experiment is just one example of proposed technologies to intentionally alter the climate, known collectively as geo-engineering. By targeting the high seas, the LOHAFEX researchers are clearly breaching the terms of the CBD moratorium.(4)
A controversial climate-engineering expedition – flying the German flag – set sail from South Africa, in defiance of a United Nations agreement signed by 191 nations and brokered by Germany last May. In response, civil society groups are calling on governments and United Nations to take action.
ETC Group released a 48-page report, "Who Owns Nature?" on corporate concentration in commercial food, farming, health and the strategic push to commodify the planet's remaining natural resources.
In a world where market research is becoming increasingly proprietary and pricey, ETC Group's report names names, discloses market share and provides top 10 industry rankings up and down the corporate food chain. Not all the corporations identified in ETC Group's new report are household names, but collectively they control a staggering share of the commercial products found on industrial farms, in our refrigerators and medicine cabinets.