Gene Giants Seek "Philanthrogopoly"

A report released today by ETC Group warns that 6 multinational Gene Giants control the current priorities and future direction of agriculture research worldwide. Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Monsanto and DuPont control 59.8 % of commercial seeds and 76.1 % of agrochemicals. The same 6 companies account for at least 76 % of all private sector R&D in these two sectors.

Amid unprecedented corporate concentration, ETC Group’s report provides a critical look at new initiatives launched by the Gene Giants – including the false promise of cheap, post-patent GE seeds – aiming to appease antitrust regulators and pass off oligopolistic practices as acts of charity. Meanwhile, the world’s two richest men – Bill Gates and Mexico’s Carlos Slim – are teaming up with CIMMYT (the international public maize and wheat breeding center based in Mexico) to get bargain GE seeds and traits in the hands of farmers in the global South.

Event: Lets talk Ocean Fertilization

A talk with policy expert Pat Mooney of ETC Group in Haida Gwaii, BC

* Tuesday March 5: SKIDEGATE
Kay Centre Performing House - 7 pm

* Wednesday March 6: MASSET
Howard Phillips Community Hall - 5 pm

Pat will share ETC Group's ongoing research into the potential impacts of geoengineering and his experience of the international legal and governance questions raised by ocean fertilization and geoengineering. He will also talk about the global movement of civil society groups, Indigenous Peoples Organizations and science and policy experts now calling for a halt to geoengineering.

Date: 
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 19:00 to Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 19:00

The Artificial Intelligence of Geoengineering

Communique # 109

Chaos theory proposes that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could cause a hurricane in Texas. Complexity theory compounds the chaos by adding the quantum-like effects of, for example, genome changes in the butterfly to the conflictions of supercomputer models. Now, geoengineers want to multiply the complexity with politics. The result is an extreme form of artificial intelligence.
Gaia is complicated. From stratospheric currents to undersea rivers – and from plankton to palm tree emissions and sequestrations – quantifying, qualifying and calibrating planetary systems is at least as challenging as understanding genes or neurons. Despite decades of modeling, we are no more likely to predict next month’s best picnic day than we are to anticipate the proclivities of our DNA or to trace a memory in our cranium. Frustratingly, we have learned to map and manipulate genomes, geographies and memories, but we can’t control the consequences.

The Year We Didn't Want

...Or "193 Shades of Grey".

2012 Whizzed and then it Fizzed, but 2013 can be Better

To get 2013 off with a technological BANG, ETC staff are offering (what, for us, amounts to) a ‘light-hearted’ reflection on the year past and projections for the one already upon us.

Uppers: At the end of the year, New Scientist announced that we have reduced the under-5 child mortality rate by 60 % in the last 20 years. In the United States, government studies revealed during the year that teenage pregnancies have declined 40 % since 1990; teenage smoking (at 10.6 %) is at its lowest level since records were first kept in 1975; the number of traffic fatalities in New York City (declining ever since 1971) are the lowest since 1910; in spite of a 50 % increase in the number of firearms, the number of US households possessing guns is continuing to drop. And, in late October, The Economist reported that, across most industrialized countries, the annual crime rate has been dropping steadily since the mid-1990s. In 2012, studies announced that homophobia, at least in OECD states, is declining steeply – a little short of World Peace or ending hunger but still something to celebrate.

Growing Maize Disaster

Mexico remains on high alert following the attempts of Monsanto and other agribusiness multinationals to win the government’s approval to plant 2.5 million hectares of transgenic maize in Mexico, the center of origin and diversity of maize. As ETC wrote last month, approval would allow the boldest coup of a global food crop in history and would threaten biodiversity, farmers’ rights and resilience in the face of climate change. While the outgoing government of Felipe Calderón did not approve the applications before leaving office on November 30th, its last-minute, surreptitious changes to regulatory procedures removed obstacles that could have hindered the new administration’s ability to grant the companies’ requests.

Inside and outside Mexico, voices have decried the attack aimed at the heart of Mexican cultures, food, health and nature. Since mid-November, there have been workshops and public meetings, as well as petitions and protests by farmers, artists, activists and scientists in social and print media and on the radio. La Via Campesina, Grain and ETC Group wrote an open letter to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) asking the multilateral agencies to intervene for the sake of global food security.

Sign the global petition against commercialization of GMO Maize in Mexico!

It may be a time of thanksgiving for the harvest in North America but in the boardrooms of Monsanto, Du Pont and Dow Agrosciences biotech executives may be saving their biggest thanks to the outgoing Mexican President: Felipe Calderon.

In these last dying days of his presidency, Calderon is widely expected to grant permission for the commercial planting of more than 2.5 million hectares of genetically modified maize (corn) in the global centre of origin and diversity for this important world food crop. If he does so this move of historical importance would amount to a "knife in the heart" of both Mexico's ancient maize culture and the diversity of maize worldwide.

Please take a moment to sign and support a new international petition against the impending commercialization of GMO maize in Mexico at http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_Monsanto_in_Mexico/?fSLKJbb&pv=1

The Great Mexican Maize Massacre

Gene Giants Prepare the Genetic Wipe-out of One of the World’s Most Important Food Crops

Agribusiness giants Monsanto, DuPont and Dow are plotting the boldest coup of a global food crop in history. If their requests to allow a massive commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) maize are approved in the next two weeks by the government of outgoing president Felipe Calderón, this parting gift to the gene giants will amount to a knife in the heart of the center of origin and diversity for maize. The consequences will be grave – and global. With the approvals and December planting deadlines looming, social movements and civil society organizations have called for an end to all GM maize in Mexico. Mexico’s Union of Concerned Scientists (UCCS) has called on the Mexican government to stop the processing of any application for open-field release of GM maize in Mexico. ETC Group joins these calls, and appeals to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – intergovernmental bodies mandated to support food security and biodiversity – to take immediate action.

Please take a moment to sign a global petition against the commercialization of GMO maize in Mexico at:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_Monsanto_in_Mexico/?fSLKJbb&pv=1

International Marine Treaty Body Agrees Statement of 'Grave Concern' Regarding Haida Gwaii Ocean Fertilization Dump

The Contracting Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol, at their Joint Meeting in London this week (29 October to 2 November 2012), agreed on a statement of concern regarding the iron fertilization project in ocean waters west of Canada.

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