Uncovering the Real Story Behind the 'Conversion' of Mark Lynas from Climate Change Journalist to Cheerleader for Genetically Modified Foods
Continued from previous page
If we pin our hopes for the future of our environment and our climate on a Lynas-type environmentalist, we are all in trouble.
Lynas's speech is rife with bad science and biotech industry talking points. In his pre-conversion speech days, Lynas said he mistakenly believed that GM crops would result in an increase in the use of pesticides, but, he said, “It turned out that pest-resistant cotton and maize needed less insecticide.”
Not so, according to study after study, including the evidence-based GMO Myths and Truths study published in 2012 by Earth Open Source. According to the scientists behind GMO Myths and Truths , farmers applied 318 million more pounds of pesticides as a result of planting GM seeds over the first thirteen years of commercial use. In 2008, GM crop fields required over 26% more pounds of pesticides per acre (1 acre = 0.4 hectares) than fields planted to non-GM varieties.
Among those chemicals? Glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup. In his speech, Lynas called glyphosate “benign.” Perhaps he missed the report last year by the Institute of Science in Society, with its long list of “serious” health and environmental concerns linked to glyphosate. The study concluded: “There is a compelling case for banning or phasing out glyphosate-based herbicides worldwide, in favour of a global transition to non-GM, herbicide-free organic agriculture.”
Lynas spelled out a long list of reasons for his conversion, all of them perfectly in line with the biotech industry's propaganda. Much of the corporate media failed to recognize or challenge the litany of inaccuracies, but some lesser-known journalists took him on, including Jason Mark of the Earth Island Journal, one of the world's leading agro-ecologists Professor John Vandermeer, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Dr. Brian John.
The fact is, by every measure, GM crops are a disaster. They don't increase yields . They do produce super weeds. They aren't good for farmers: By the end of 2012, farmers had paid Monsanto over $23.5 million from patent infringement lawsuits.
And they surely aren't good for the environment. Genetic engineering creates large-scale monocultures that destroy biodiversity and make crops vulnerable to disease and drought.
The Real Story: A Growing Peoples Movement for Food Democracy and Freedom
Mark Lynas's conversion speech bought the biotech industry a few days of good press. But as more and more evidence surfaces as proof that GMOs are not harmless to human health, that GM crops increase, rather than decrease the amount of pesticides released into the environment, and that they are in fact destroying the environment, not benefiting it, Lynas and his speech will fade away into the dustbin of history.
What isn't going anywhere, is the growing people's movement demanding greater food transparency and freedom, a healthy and sustainable food and farming system, a green and equitable economy, a stable climate and mandatory labeling of all foods that have been genetically engineered in a laboratory.
Everyday people are taking on the multi-billion dollar pesticide and biotech industries in a fight over the future of the food supply. A few examples:
- Growing numbers of citizens are demanding the FDA reject the commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) salmon;
- Voters are mobilizing in support of upcoming high-profile GMO labeling battles in Vermont, Connecticut, and Washington - with as many as 30 more states planning to pursue similar labeling efforts in the near future;
- Increasing numbers of Fortune 500 corporations are abandoning the biotech and pesticide industry's anti-choice agenda, and rethinking the bottom-line costs of bankrolling anti-right-to-know campaigns;
- And counties and cities across the United States are banning GMO crops entirely -- others even demanding their own local “food bills of rights”.
These kinds of bottom up, people-driven grassroots movements dedicated to putting the rights and health of humans ahead of the profits of the pesticide and biotech industries are sprouting up everywhere -- and winning.