Genetic Engineering Doomed

SUBHEAD: We will have to be responsible for our own food in our own places by abandoning the corporate teat.

By Juan Wilson on 13 January 2013 for Island Breath  -

Image above: A midwest GMO corn field scorched by drought in 2012. From (

The Bad News
For the last two days we have concentrated on posting articles relating to Climate Change as it relates to globalized industrialization and its effects on food production and ultimately bio-diversity on Earth life. It's a dark and depressing subject. Much of the living Earth, as we have known her for tens-of-thousands of years, is threatened.

Fellow bloggers like Guy McPherson are going so far as to say that all life on Earth is now about to be extinguished. His latest article Climate Change Update projects that we will make life here inhospitable to humans in the lifetimes of the current generation... and it will only get worse as feedback loops releasing atmospheric methane and adding acidifying CO2 to the oceans really kick in. Cue soundtrack - Doom-Di-Doom-Doom!

Yet Some Will Survive
Well it's not quite as bad as that. Humans could not kill all life on Earth even if we really tried... for example detonating all the nuclear devices in our trembling hands. Why?
  • Because more than 90% of the Earth's biomass in the oceans is single celled animals. 
  • Because ten-times more single celled (or more primitive) life forms exist under ground than above its surface. 
  • Because simple life forms can be generated from underwater steam vents in the darkest depths of the ocean without light or air.
  • Because we are greatly out numbered by simple forms that can wait us out as we choke on our own poisons.
Scientists with knowledge of biology, radiation, physics and evolution will tell you that although the "accidental" release of large amounts of radioactivity locked in nuclear fuel and weapons would be a terminal disaster for humans, that "in the long run" it would accelerate microbial evolution resulting in a new era of biodiversity. By "long run", of course, we mean in millions of years. The bottom line is that humans cannot destroy all life, even if they wanted to. Gaia will prevail until more planetary events prevail.

Human Nature
However, what humans will likely do is ruin the habitat of the remaining megafauna on planet Earth. As you probably know, " megafauna" means the big animals. That would include tuna, whales, kodiak bears, moose, lions, tigers, elephants, gorillas and of course ourselves.

Megafauna are fussy. They need large, complicated and stable habitats.  Those kinds of environments can become delicate when their resources are damaged or depleted. They can be wrecked if those conditions persist. And hey! Nobody can tell us we're not good at wrecking habitats.

As humans spread out across the world as hunter-gatherers,  just about the first thing they did was hunt out the top megafauna in any environment they encountered. In North America that included giant sloths, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, giant camels and anything else big enough to chase into a pit and spear.

We continue pushing back all other forms of life as we spread the industrialized human habitat (and its growing cloud of miseries) across the globe.

GMO Corn Everywhere
Our domesticated sources of meat and protein are almost entirely dependent on GMO corn, and that GMO corn is 90% of the corn grown. And that corn is the primary source of feed for meat that humans consume - includes beef, pork, poultry and even fish. Because of federal subsidies for corn and cheap oil and monopoly protection for big-ag, GMO corn is the cheapest thing to feed any animal; including our cats and dogs (just check the ingredients of any bagged pet foods).

The percentage of prepared and packaged food that contains GMO corn has grown to the point where it is no longer possible to buy a bottle of ketchup in a Big Save Supermarket on Kauai that does not contain GMO High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Almost all fruit and soda drinks are sweetened with GMO HFCS making them alone a significant percentage of daily caloric intake. A typical McDonald's meal of a cheeseburger, medium fries and a medium soda is about 890 calories.

The 16 ounce soda contributes about 25% of the calories of that meal in the form of GMO HFCS. Of course the nearly 300 calories of fat from cheese and beef are the result of GMO corn feed. That makes almost 50% of the calories in that McDonald's meal derived directly from GMO corn.

The results are obesity, diabetes, heart disease as well as possible relationships to depression, autism and a host of other problems.

Our dependence on mono-culture genetically-modified food to feed the masses has morphed into a form of mass suicide. 

Running on Empty
Our ability to continue the level of damage we are capable of, through continued industrialization of natural resources, is quickly coming to an end. The cheap energy is about burned up, the deep topsoil is exhausted and the fresh water is depleted. Our ability to feed our vast numbers with modern agriculture is being degraded at an alarming rate.

The bogeyman of global warming is certainly playing his part. The interior of large continents are increasingly unfriendly to modern farming.  With rising temperatures, depleted soil and loss of topsoil the desertification of the corn-belt of North America is underway.

The record drought this summer in the corn country of America this summer resulted in a significant decrease in yield and increase in price. And what we eat in America has become hostage to GMO corn yield because only a few patented strains of GMO corn make up 90% of the corn grown - thanks to the monopoly practiced by Monsanto and a few other global corporations.

The cornbelt is fueled by the Ogallala aquifer and topsoil:
"The Ogallala supplies water to 176,000 square miles of land in parts of eight states from the Texas panhandle to southern South Dakota. That amounts to about 27 percent of all irrigated land in the nation, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The volume of water in the aquifer stood at about 2.9 billion acre feet in 2009, a decline of about 9 percent since 1950, according to the Geological Survey. About two-and-a-half times as much water was drawn out in the 14 years ended 2009 as during the prior 15-year period, data shows.

The water may run out in 25 years or less in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and southwest Kansa
s." (NBC News 12/30/12)
 The cornbelt soil is washing away to the Gulf of Mexico:
Iowa’s soil is washing away at rates far higher than anyone realized... For Iowa — and other Corn Belt states facing similar problems — this means an increasing loss of fertility that has to be replaced chemically...  And every particle that washes away causes problems downstream, including sedimentation — which can increase the risk of flooding — and the alarming dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the result of runoff of the chemical fertilizers farmers apply to make up for lost fertility...

The Agriculture Department says that a “sustainable” rate of topsoil loss for most of Iowa is 5 tons per acre per year, and the actual average soil erosion is 5.2 tons. But using Iowa State University statistics and an aerial survey, the Environmental Working Group concluded that average annual soil loss in much of Iowa is double the federal government’s estimates. (NY Times 5/4/11)
As long as you've read this far
These and other factors are making it ever more difficult to rely on the big-ag industrialization that has bloated our population since the "The Green Revolution" of mechanized farming, synthetic fertilizer, pesticides and easy transportation that was enabled by petroleum products. The following technology of GMO is now only exacerbating the problems.

I think the "powers that be" already smell the smoke of their smoldering ruin. Although they won't talk about it, those running things know climate change due to global warming means the jig is up. They will have to mitigate the nature of their own activities - and nature will be far harder to control.That doesn't mean their won't be desperate thrashing from dying dinosaurs like Monsanto. Watch out! Those bastards are capable of any perfidy.

The Good News
People in many roles are "getting it". It may have started with the enthusiasm in organic farming, but resistance to big-ag GMO based agriculture has spread among the locovore movement, Transition Towns, sustainability advocates, urban farmers and end-of-suburbia doomster preppers.

We are all realizing that our modern food delivery system is bad for us and the planet. Energy is food and food is energy. And we've been using the wrong kind of both.

We will have to be responsible for our own food in our own places by abandoning the corporate teat. It is too poisonous to suck on anymore. Goodbye Monsanto!

Hawaii is where the GMO research is done. We here on Kauai are at the fountain head of genetic engineering industrial agriculture. One of our island's responsibilities is to push back on Syngenta, Dow Agroscience, DuPont-Pioneer, Monsanto and the others as we did with the military's Super Ferry. They will go in peace or with resistance, but ultimately we will have to deny them access to our land and water. 

We are going to do this to live.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto Empire Protested 1/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Dust Bowl Redux 1/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Global Warning 1/12/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Climate Change Update 1/12/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Vandana Shiva on Kauai 1/5/13 (to be here on 1/17/13)


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