Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Musings: Connected

I saw no sign of the lunar eclipse, though a friend sent an email saying his son witnessed it while working in Waikiki. Instead, I was treated to the lulling patter of steady rain, which is continuing now into a blessed third day, this winter solstice day.

When Koko and I went out at about 6:30 this morning, the rain was light and the fog was thick, so thick that all the mountains were blotted out and even houses a few hundred yards down the street. Only the blue light from a distant Christmas tree shone through the milky swirl. The pea soup fog and relentless rain reminded me, happily, of my childhood in Northern California, although the temperature there was a good 20 degrees cooler.

I imagine the relationship between France and the U.S. has gotten a bit chillier with the revelation — in a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks — of the American strategy for bullying that nation into accepting genetically modified crops:

Summary: Mission Paris recommends that that the USG reinforce our negotiating position with the EU on agricultural biotechnology by publishing a retaliation list when the extend "Reasonable Time Period" expires. In our view, Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the Commission. In France, the "Grenelle" environment process is being implemented to circumvent science-based decisions in favor of an assessment of the "common interest."

Combined with the precautionary principle, this is a precedent with implications far beyond MON-810 BT corn cultivation. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices. In fact, the pro-biotech side in France -- including within the farm union -- have told us retaliation is the only way to begin to begin to turn this issue in France. End Summary.

The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory.

Yup, that’s our government – firmly in the pocket of Monsanto — at work, folks. But hey, we can rest assured that the USDA is strictly neutral and looking out for our best interests when it waives environmental impact statements on GM crops, determines they are essentially the same as non-GM crops, fails to require longterm feeding trials and balks at GMO labeling.

As a report on this topic on The Raw Story noted:

The law that was considered in France would have made farmers and biotech firms liable for pollen drift of their modified crops -- a move that "could make any biotech planting impossible in practical terms," [Ambassador Craig] Stapleton wrote.

It was essentially the same principle the US employs for environmental pollution: the polluter must pay. GMO firms, however, are given exception to those regulations in North America.

The spread of modified genes into the wild is of particular concern to critics of biotech food crops, who cite studies linking GM seeds to organ damage and infertility in animals.

Monsanto's genetically modified corn, currently banned across the EU, was also found growing in Ireland, the Irish Department of Agriculture said.

Kinda makes you wonder what’s happening with all the GMO corn being grown right here on Kauai. Not that we’ll ever know, because no one is looking, or even asking.

Related questions that likely won’t be answered any time soon were posed in an article on MSNBC.com: “Are we willing to poison owls and a variety of other wild animals in order to fight rats?” and “Just how far into the food web have these poisons penetrated?” Seems a Canadian study is linking new super-potent rat killers to the decline of owls, as well as other wildlife deaths:

“We’re finding this stuff all over the place,” said John Elliott, an Environment Canada scientist who co-authored the owl study published last year. “There’s a lot more rodenticide in the food chain than we would have ever thought. We’re surprised that there’s that much of the stuff kicking around.”

Studies in Canada, the United States and Europe show that this newer generation of rat poisons is killing a variety of wild animals, including mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, skunks, deer, squirrels, possums and raccoons, along with bald eagles, golden eagles, owls, hawks and vultures.

Some animals are ingesting the pesticides by eating poisoned rats as the rats stagger about, dazed but not yet dead. This goes on for days before the rats succumb, in the meantime making them easy targets for owls and other predators.

But there’s a mysterious wrinkle in this picture. How are plant eaters like deer and sheep ingesting rat poison? Grain eaters like squirrels? What about hawks that subsist almost exclusively on songbirds – songbirds that probably aren’t eating rats?

Gee, do you suppose everything actually is connected?


Anonymous said...

Connected and evolving... For better or worse!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Kauai has no vision when it comes to jobs, work, beneficial use of land?Why is it acceptable to poison our land and water , not to mention the children, elderly, frail, the workers, anyone within breathing distance of the geneticlly altered testing sites that are next to our schools and shopping centers as well as west side neighborhoods? Interesting to see how the multinationals change europe's sane stance on GMO's.
Kuai exports not only these sick seeds, but the whole west side seems to be in a dark period. One would think the officials who sell promote Kauai so heavily would try to protect that reputation.

Anonymous said...

The Environmental Working Group released a report Monday indicating that millions of Americans are regularly drinking hexavalent chromium, made famous in the film "Erin Brockovich" as a carcinogen, through their tap water.

The highest concentrations were found in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu; and Riverside, Calif. The substance had been a widely used industrial chemical for decades and has evidently leached into the groundwater in many areas.


Anonymous said...

Where in Honolulu would the "industrial chemical" come from.
Their water comes from the non industrized mountains directly behind Honolulu.

Anonymous said...

From an anonymous commenter on the aforementioned news.yahoo.com site: "Is it ironic that most if not ALL toxic cities currently have or have had a military base? It has alway been and alway (sic) be about money. Tell me the greedy gas and electric companies care about any living thing but their pocketbook?"

Anonymous said...

as a long time resident of the west side, 30 yrs in Kekaha, I have noticed a dramatic drop in the owl population. Just five yrs ago, on any given day one could always see at least a few flying around in the evening at dusk as they started their nocturnal hunt for food. They were a part of the wildlife/ecosystem in abundance. Now it is a rare occasion to see even one. I have long suspected it has a lot to do with the enormous proliferation of the seed cos. out here in that period and ongoing. I also suspected it had to do with their rat poisonings. I am not alone in noticing this.

Anonymous said...

welcome long night.

Carly Foxtrot said...

Lets punish the French for not allowing us to poison them too. If it's good enough for us then by god it's more than good enough for them.
^^^^^^^^ satire above ^^^^^^^^^^^

Anonymous said...

Monsanto and the like are the face of evil. I think they want to kiLl off the ignorant and unknowing so there is more of the worlds resources for the elite. Interesting that they serve no GMO food in their employee cafeteria. Gee I wonder what they know that they hide from the masses?
Consumers have the power. Refuse to buy GMO products. No High Fructose Corn Syrup, no non-organic canola oil, no non-organic soy products. Use real cane sugar NOT sugar from sugar beets. Buy only sunrise papaya.

It's not convenient or cost effective but I'd spend my money protecting the health of myself and family.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12/23 9:51..... how do you know that no GMO food is served in their cafeteria, and what more do you know about that? Very interesting at the least!

Anonymous said...

check out Jeffrey Smith on Democracy now today

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:54:

Jeffrey Smith's lecture here on Kauai acouple of years ago is when I first learned this. Since then I read his book "Seeds of Deception" which I highly recommend. It is why food security here should be top priority for all of us. Grow local and help rid the island of this insidious industry.