Vandana Shiva recently appeared in an interview with Bill Moyers in order to express the emergency situation our world's agriculture system is in thanks to the monopolistic tendencies of Monsanto. Shiva opens the interview by telling Bill Moyers about a key teaching Krishna gives in the Bhagavad Gita:
You know we have this very beautiful text in India, the [Bhagavad] Gita. And there is a very simple lesson that Krishna gives, that you do not measure the fruit of your action, you have to measure your obligation for action. You have to find out the right thing to do. That is your duty. Whether you win or lose? It's not the issue. The obligation to do the right thing.
Eighty percent of the food of the world is even today produced by small farmers. Our small farmers are feeding 1.2 billion Indians. We forget the scale of what smallness means multiplied many times. Because we've got used to the dinosaur mentality. We only see the big. We forget that dinosaurs go extinct.
It comes down to seed for the simple reason: everything begins a seed. The food on our plate, you and me were seed at one point... Seed is the source of life. And seed is the source of the renewal of life. That is where life gets renewed in perpetuity.
Bill Moyers: So what does it mean when a corporation patents a seed?
Vandan Shiva: The first thing it means is a lie, that 'I' [the corporation] have created it. 'I' [the corporation] have created life.
BM: What's the claim? Speak from their side, what are they claiming?
VS: Well, they're claiming intellectual property. And they change the language. They say the seed is [no longer] a seed, it's an "intellectual property". They make the society shift its thinking of what is at stake. Seed is the first link in the food chain. And therefore when you control seed, you control food...
Why should we be force-fed a genetically engineered, beaty eggplant when we have the most delicious eggplants? 4,000 varieties! It took a movement, thirteen governments, seven public hearings to put on a moratorium. The [US government] advisers flew in to try to undo that moratorium. The White House, the USDA, the Department of Agriculture, and the FDA all have a revolving-door with Monsanto. And this is all on record. So on the top there's Monsanto hi-jacking all of our governments and through that trying to hi-jack our food supply. And from the ground, farmers, consumers, regional governments saying "we want a Monsanto-free food system".
BM: Bill Gates says that genetically modified seeds are necessary to prevent starvation in poor countries because they enable farmers to double and triple their productivity.
VS: Unfortunately, he's so totally wrong on the assumption that genetically modified seeds produce more. In India, Monsanto came in with a claim of 1,500 kilograms of cotton per acre with their genetically engineered cotton. The average yields are 400 kilograms. Our studies show that, the government studies confirm this. When you grow just a genetically modified cotton, you destroy all of the associate crops that were feeding the poor families. So it actually leads to less food. When you spray roundup and kill the greens that are necessary for women to have iron, for children to have vitamin A, you're creating hunger, you're creating disease. Super weeds taking over your fields are a recipe for hunger, pests overtaking your fields are a recipe for hunger, but worse, seed patents are a way of getting money out of poor people. This is not a solution to hunger and poverty. This is aggravating the crisis poor people already face.
Vandana Shiva gives an illuminating interview on the atrocities that Monsanto is undoubtedly committing. There is a clear link between the quarter of a million Indian farmers who have committed suicide and the failure and false promise of genetically engineered Monsanto cotton crops. Do you understand 'ONE QUARTER OF A MILLION'? And of course that sort of atrocious news is kept away from washing up the mainstream news' shore. So I urge you to watch the video below in order to inform yourself with the reality of the matter. You can share the video link if you'd like to spread the word.
Although, it may seem like a difficult fight, there are small steps we can take to eradicate GMO foods off of our dinner plates. It's been sixteen years since GMOs first appeared in the global food supply. During that time many countries such as France, England, Italy, Spain, Colombia, Australia, Russia, Brazil, India and China have taken steps in order to demand the labeling of GMO foods. Isn't it about time the United States passes some GMO food labeling policy? Why are they so unwilling to let consumers know what's in their food? As this January article in The Atlantic perfectly articulated, ''Given its opposition to the labeling of GM foods as well, it seems clear that Monsanto wants you to close your eyes, open your mouth, and swallow.'' That about sums it up. We obviously have a right to know what's in our food. So do us all a favor and just label it, Monsanto.