Tunis 2013: If we rely on corporate seed, we lose food sovereignty

World Social Forum Event organized by La Via Campesina, GRAIN and ETC Group

GROWING POWER IN PEASANT SEEDS SYSTEMS: Farmers seeds and struggle against GMOs, AGRA- 2nd Green Revolution. Tunis, March 29.

It has become crucial to defend seeds. In the past 20 or 30 years, what was once seen as normal – peasant farmers growing, selecting, saving and exchanging seeds – has come under attack from corporations seeking to control and commodify the very basis of agriculture.

Case Study: Ocean Fertilization near Haida Gwaii

Full links and background on the 2012 ocean fertilization scheme by HSRC.

In October 2012 ETC Group uncovered that a commercial geoengineering firm had quietly carried out the world's largest geoengineering deployment to-date (in July 2012). When the news became public as a result of ETC Group's investigations, it caused a wave of concern among scientists, governments, the public and of course the people of Haida Gwaii. HSRC have since said they intend to carry out further ocean fertilization dumps. On this page we have collected some of the background on the Haida Gwaii ocean fertilization episode, how the story was reported, the legal situation, the science and more.

Informational Backgrounder on the 2012 Haida Gwaii Iron Dump

Almost six years ago ETC Group blew the whistle on a commercial geoengineering outfit called Planktos, Inc., which was making its way to dump 100 tons of iron nanoparticles into the waters of the Galapagos Islands . Working with allies ETC Group was able to prevent that ocean fertilisation dump. In 2012 however we were less lucky. The same geoengineering entrepeuner, Russ George, suceeded in dumping over 100 tonnes of iron into the Pacific ocean west of Haida Gwaii in Canada, claiming that his actions had prompted a 10,000 square km plankton bloom. This time his new company, The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC), was using millions of dollars in funds from a small indigenous community. Read here the full story of how ETC Group uncovered HSRC's rogue geoengineering scheme and the storm of international concern that ensued.

Geoengineering – The Opium of the People? Pain-killer, Plane-chiller, Plane crasher

Geoengineering – The Opium of the People? Pain-killer, Plane-chiller, Plane crasher

In the first two months of 2013, leading advocates of geoengineering have argued variously that researching geoengineering (as a Plan B to GHG emission cuts) is like helping a cancer patient manage pain while seeking a cure; or, that an accelerating gaggle of executive jets circling the equator could spray enough sulphuric acid in the stratosphere to keep the Earth’s thermostat within bounds; or, that a single island state could thumb its nose at the military might of the major powers and geoengineer the planet to its liking. So much lobbying and still months to go before the IPCC delivers its fifth assessment report – with an anticipated treatment of geoengineering.

ETC Group at the World Social Forum 2013

Tunis, Tunisia

ETC Group will be participating at the 3rd World Forum on Science and Democracy and the World Social Forum 2013 that will take place in Tunis, capital city of Tunisia between 23-30 March 2013. Come join us in various activities, workshops and assemblies! We hope to meet you there!

To know more about our side event Geoengineering: Resisting Climate Manipulation, click here.

Date: 
Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 09:30 to Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 19:30

Gene Giants Seek “Philanthrogopoly”

Ag monopoly makes mergers suspect – Big Six create “charity” cartel instead, conning regulators and public breeders

Issue: The Gene Giants know their market dominance looks conspicuously like an anticompetitive oligopoly, so they’re launching a series of initiatives – including the false promise of cheap, post-patent GE seeds – to mollify antitrust regulators and soften opposition to transgenics while advancing their collective market control. Meanwhile, the world’s two richest men – Bill Gates and Mexico’s Carlos Slim – are working with CIMMYT (the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) to make bargain GE seeds and traits available to farmers in the global South.

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.

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