- Roundup, GM and health – especially kids and women's health
- The Easter bunny is nearly here! What chocolate should he bring?
- SA’s new Agriculture Minister stands up to the GM companies in support of health!
- Farmers say FFFU! Creating Fair Food together
- Refugees and Australians building communities and friendships with food
- What MADGE has been up to
Mums in America are having their children’s urine tested for glyphosate (the active ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup). This is the most commonly used weedkiller in the world. It’s sprayed on most GM crops and used to ‘dry off’ grain crops like lentils, beans, barley and wheat before harvest. It’s sprayed on curbs, roadsides, playgrounds and parks.
Glyphosate is linked to infertility, birth defects, cancer, bowel and stomach disorders, kidney disease and endocrine disruption. It is also linked to autism. In the US it is estimated that by 2025 half of all children (1 in 2) will be on the autistic spectrum. This is up from 1 in 10,000 in the 1970s.
Glyphosate has been found in groundwater and in the urine of European city dwellers at rates 5-20 times the allowable level in drinking water. Glyphosate was found in all humans and animals tested. People who are chronically ill have higher levels than healthy people.
What is happening?
Glyphosate attacks the shikimate pathway in bacteria. Since humans do not have this pathway it was assumed that we would be unaffected by glyphosate. However only 1 in 10 of our cells is human. The vast majority of our cells are microbial, especially in our guts. We cannot digest food, make certain nutrients or detoxify without the help of the ‘microbiome’ (bacteria) in our digestive tract. The majority of our immune system is in our gut. Glyphosate also locks up many minerals, including zinc and manganese, which are essential for our health. Watch Dr. Stephanie Seneff talk about her work on glyphosate and illness (18.30 onwards). Prior to that a pro-GM scientist speaks. See whom you find more credible.
What is being done about this in Australia and worldwide?
Ask your council to phase out Roundup:
- Action sheet on how to get your council to phase out Roundup
- Site listing all the studies showing harm from Roundup
- If you live in the City of Yarra in Melbourne you can contact Clare Murrell, the Consultation and Research Officer, as they are currently inviting people to contribute creative ideas on ways for the council to consult with the community.
Australian groups working on pesticides:
Other Actions around the world include:
- The Netherlands has banned the sale of glyphosate-based herbicides to private individuals after 2015;
- Sign a petition for a Royal Commission into the use of pesticides and the effect on health in Australia. Please share widely;
- Glyphosate has just been banned in Sri Lanka although this has been partially reversed due to lobbying by the plantation industry . Recent research shows glyphosate is causing an epidemic of fatal kidney disease. It ‘chelates’ (locks onto) metals that damage kidneys, making the metals a thousand times more toxic. Water in farming areas is polluted with both Roundup and these metals, leading to farmers in poor areas being most affected by the disease. It is occurring in 11 countries and tens of thousands of people have died;
- Denmark is investigating the effect of glyphosate on animal health; and
- The EU has a public consultation on the re-approval of glyphosate. Anyone worldwide can comment on the draft assessment produced by Germany. This report claims no toxic effects. However these claims are based on industry studies and data which the public and scientists are not allowed to see!
Removing GM foods from your diet is likely to lessen your exposure to Roundup because most GM crops are sprayed with Roundup. This paper shows extremely high levels of glyphosate on GM soy but none on organic or conventional soy.
Eating organic food will reduce exposure even more as crops at harvest time cannot be sprayed with glyphosate to ‘dry’ them off.
Mums and kids in the US are reporting great improvements in health from getting rid of GM food. After two years on organic food the teachers of one child didn’t even realize he has once been severely autistic (9 mins in)
Other kids are recovering from asthma:
And nut allergy
Pesticides, GM foods and chemicals have been allowed into our food and lives on the basis of flawed company data and the complicity of regulators. They are causing widespread harm. Watch “Endocrine Disruption -The Male Predicament” to see the full extent of the harm being done. We cannot turn away from this – our children need us to protect them and our joint future.
Shop Ethical recommends Haigh’s chocolates as they are non-GM, use ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients, support a rabbit-free Australia and are locally owned! Also their chocolate is delicious.
Leon Bignell (ALP) said "I don't want to be the politician like the politicians in the 70s, who listened to James Hardie who said there are no dangers with asbestos…."As members of parliament, we have a responsibility to protect the citizens of South Australia in terms of any health consequences that come from GM crops." You may want to thank him for his brave stance and his integrity. firstname.lastname@example.org
The push for the takeover of the food system by global companies is intense and needs to be resisted:
The Chilean Congress has protected small farmers by withdrawing the “Monsanto law” which would have patented and controlled seed.
Africa is under ‘philanthropic’ pressure to accept industrial agriculture, Monsanto and GM seed via the Gates Foundation’s “A Green Revolution for Africa".
In India the Green Revolution meant rice varieties plummeted from 100,000 to 6,000. Indian conservationist Debal Deb is helping farmers bring back diversity, including drought resistant and high yielding varieties. “I have varieties of rice that can grow and live for months in 12ft-deep water. There are varieties with amazing medicinal properties. The tribals know about certain dark-grained rice that give high levels of antioxidants and can prevent cancers." He stressed the importance of farmers using their fields as living seed banks. Up to 90% of seeds stored in conventional seed banks cannot be germinated but their genes can still be extracted and used by biotech companies. He says companies have used bribery and deception to try and get his seeds.
What we need is farmers and scientists working together with the aim of feeding people well. Not increasing corporate profits. This amazing short film shows the incredible success evolutionary plant breeding is having in Iran. Farmers are told to plant many different types of (F2) seeds in their worst fields. The vigorous growth crowds out weeds and brings them their best crops.
Corporations are more profitable the larger the share of the market they control. They are using propaganda and political influence to expand their power and profits. Activists in the UK wittily provided a cake to the UK’s Department of International Development that is funding the expansion of companies like Unilever and Monsanto into Africa. Strangely the officials did not want to ‘carve’ into the Africa shaped cake, perhaps it too clearly showed this is not ‘helping’ people but the same old resource grab by another name.
Another resource rich area is the Ukraine. It was known as the bread basket of Europe and now it is being targeted by global agricultural companies. Cargill, a privately owned US company that controls much of the world’s grain, recently spent $200 million on a stake in Ukraine’s UkrLandFarming. This company “is the world’s eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer.” Cargill also purchased as stake in the Black Sea port at Novorossiysk.
Cargill bought the Australian Wheat Board in 2010. They have been prosecuted for tax evasion, using child labour, mistreatment of workers and deforesting the Amazon.
Should we feel secure in a world where a handful of companies with records of criminal behavior are buying up the world’s food resources and infrastructure with the help of governments? It is up to us to stop it. See item 4 for what you can do.
- Jon Faine interview;
- Joined the Alliance to Ban ISDS Provisions;
- Signed a joint statement from international civil society groups opposing allowing Low Level GM contamination of food; and
- Let us know what you think of the MADGE animation: “ Your right to know what is in your food"
- Can mums sue over GM genes in their children’s bodies? This was in support of the Steve Marsh case. The verdict should be released in the next few weeks
- Why is Australia allowing Monsanto to patent screening its biodiversity? Monsanto has been granted a patent by the EU patent office to allow it to mass screen Australian glycine plants that are related to soy. It is looking for plants adapted to various climates. Why are we allowing this to happen? One journalist rang MADGE about the release but no story made it to air.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African proverb