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Featured Articles on GMO issues

Lobby Schwarzenegger NOW! / GMOs in the USA

1.Monsanto CEO turns to organic
2.They Call It "Pharming" And It's Phrightening!
3.Lobby Schwarzenegger NOW!
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1.Against the grain
John Vidal
The Guardian (Eco Soundings), September 17 2008
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/17/1

Back in 1999, it emerged that Monsanto had to ban GM food in its canteen at its High Wycombe HQ, Buckinghamshire. Now Eco Soundings hears that Hugh Grant, the company's CEO, has turned to organic food. Here is an extract of Grant on American public radio two weeks ago.

Interviewer: Do you worry at all about the rise of organic foods and people being more interested in more natural produce and product? Grant: No, no, I don't. I think if you walk through any supermarket a portion of that shelf is going to be organic, and that's fine. And a big piece of that shelf is driven by quality and affordability. A lot of the organic material is still pretty expensive. Interviewer: Do you ever buy organic food yourself? Grant: Yeah, I do.
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2.They Call It "Pharming" And It's Phrightening!
by Robert Singer
OpEdNews, September 16 2008
http://www.opednews.com/articles/They-Call-It-Pharming-An-by-Robert-Singer-080916-752.html

Biofuels are often blamed for 85% of corn price increases since 2002. Even Congress is growing weary of the corn/ethanol inflation.  

Why were we on this road in the first place?

It would seem an easy road to avoid, considering over 140% more energy-mostly high value oil and natural gas, is expended to produce a gallon of corn ethanol than is in the ethanol itself.  In 2007, 20% of the U.S. corn crop was converted into 6 billion gallons of ethanol-to replace only 1% of U.S. oil consumption.

President Bush 43 – known for his insight into our energy problems (We need an energy bill that encourages consumption), on April 29, 2008 told reporters at the Rose Garden "the solution now is to make ethanol out of switchgrasses or wood chips."    Later in that same speech he said, "...it's in our national interest that our farmers grow energy."  Really?  I thought that's what our food supply was supposed to provide-energy for our bodies to survive.

Switchgrass and growing energy is not a solution to our energy and global warming problems.  They worsen Global Warming and are a Trojan Horse for Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOs), promising not only whole new markets for biotech products, but the irreversible entrenchment of genetically modified crops throughout the world.

When GMOs were first introduced into agriculture, farmers and consumer groups questioned the lack of basic protections. Since then, GMO contamination has spread from the cornfields in the Midwest to the birthplace of corn in the remote mountains of Mexico. Farmers have not been able to protect themselves from this genetic trespass. Instead of holding GMO manufacturers liable, the courts are upholding the patent rights of seed companies and making the farmers pay!

The latest proposals are to produce biofuels from more cellulose-rich plants like switchgrass rather than food crops. This may seem like a solution to the food v. fuel conflict inherent in ethanol production, because people will not directly starve when we fill up our gas tanks (of course they probably wouldn't starve if we subsidized alternative fuels, mass transit or just demanded automakers produce cars that get 50+ miles per gallon). However the energy it takes to unlock the energy in cellulosic ethanol is far greater than the energy it produces, making it a net energy loser, but a winner for genetically modified organisms or GMOs because the cellulosic plants will be grown from these high tech seeds, which independent sources have warned of emerging human health and environmental problems.

With the advent of biofuels, however, Monsanto and other biotech companies have found a market that is more insulated from public rejection because none of these crops are directly destined for our food supply–only our gas tank.

The problem is that once Genetically Modified or GM seeds are planted in the field, there is no way to prevent GMO fuel crops from contaminating their food-crop cousins.  Because these crops are wind-pollinated, cases of genetic contamination are commonplace. In the past two years alone, there were at least 73 publicly documented cases of genetic contamination. Once GM agrofuels have entered the agricultural gates, they will soon escape into the wild, contaminating food crops across the globe.

It gets worse, no commercial fuel crop that is under consideration or that is already approved in the U.S. has had the benefit of long-term unbiased testing.  Independent sources have warned about the
*nutritional deficits in food made from GMO crops
*problems of genes wandering when GMO crops cross with other plants
*setting recombinant viruses on the loose
*growing problems of resistance and tolerance

Why are a select group of people, probably in St. Louis (home of Monsanto), going to all this trouble to make sure we have an agronomically flat, untested GMO world that leaves our food systems vulnerable to climate change, pest and disease outbreaks?  According to Henry Kissinger, every president's friend,  "Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people."

Even though national polls show that over 90% of U.S. consumer's want GMO food labeled, government regulators still refuse to consider it. Meanwhile, soybeans that resist weed killers and corn that poisons the insects that eat it, are already in our food supply. These experimental crops contain pharmaceutical proteins, industrial chemicals, and even human genes.

This powerful new use of biotechnology is called "pharming" and it poses a very real threat to our personal and environmental health-and phrankly, I, for one, am phed up!

What about you? I urge you to Contact your U.S. House Representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor Representative Dennis Kucinich's bill, "The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act", when it gets introduced before Congress. Or even better, why not tell members of Congress and the Senate to support and co-sponsor legislation that would restrict the open-air growing of biotech crops that contain pharmaceutical drugs and industrial chemicals.
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3.Lobby Schwarzenegger NOW!

AB541 Assemblymember Huffman's bill passed the Assembly and now has passed the Senate!

This bill presents itself as the first GMO bill for California and would set a precedent for the whole country.

WE NEED YOU FOR THE FINAL STEP:

Write to Governor Schwarzenegger to give support to AB 541. Ask him to sign the bill

Your e-mail letter can be sent to: Paige Brokaw, Huffman's legislative staffer who has worked tirelessly on this bill! She will forward them on to the Governor's office.

Her e-mail address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We have until the end of September before the vote,  the pressure needs to hit the Governor's office NOW!

Your letter can be as simple as why you support farmer's having the right to not be sued by a corporation like Monsanto. You can also mention that you also support labeling of genetically engineered foods and look forward to supporting a bill with  that kind of language next time around.

A sample letter is included, but can be much shorter (a few
sentences).You can copy and paste it into your e-mail body. Make sure to sign it.

Yannick
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The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE:  AB 541 (Huffman): REQUEST FOR SIGNATURE

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

I am writing in support of AB 541. [Describe your organization, company,
or farm here if applicable].

Currently, California has no laws in place to address the issue of genetic engineering (GE), yet citizens across the state have expressed concerns about the risks the technology presents for farmers, consumers, the economy and the environment.

AB 541 is a good first step towards addressing the many issues related to genetic contamination caused by GE crops and seeds. This bill will enact protections for California farmers against frivolous lawsuits that intimidate and harass those who have not been able to prevent the inevitable drift of GE pollen or seeds. It will level the playing field for farmers by discouraging the practice of Monsanto and other biotech corporations of sampling crops without explicit permission farmers and prosecuting based on unverifiable test results.

AB 541 has no opposition and enjoyed broad bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature. The bill is supported by diverse organizations, some of which are traditionally opposed on the GE issue.

Given the fact that GE crops continue to be developed for dozens of California specialty crops, it is prudent that California lawmakers get out in front of potential problems to assure that the rights of our farmers are protected. AB 541 will put California in the forefront of efforts in various states to protect farmers from the unintended presence of GE material in their crops.   

Please sign AB 541 into law. It represents an important first step on establishing statewide legislation regarding genetically engineered crops. Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.

Sincerely,