Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monsanto, Microsoft and Africa

I didn't watch the News Hour much all summer - either baseball or work in the garden filled the early evening slot - and so I was surprised to see the Monsanto ad when I tuned in last week. It isn't greenwashing - it's just blatant lying.

This print version
is tame by comparison.

The ad on the News Hour concludes:
"That’s sustainable agriculture. And that’s what Monsanto is all about."

I screamed disgust at the tv, and Moko ran under the bed.

This latest mass media lie by Monsanto has convinced me that the word sustainable is lost - I feel as though I can only use it when I know exactly to whom I am talking, and know that they share my ideas.

Vandana Shiva doesn't pull any punches in her opinions about Monsanto in this short promo for the non-profit Center for Food Safety:

But we've known Monsanto's game for a long time.

What was news to me was just how intertwined Monsanto and the Gates Foundation are.

A friend handed on the 21 September issue of The Nation, which had this article by Raj Patel et.al.
with a nuanced critique of the new green revolution proposed for Africa.

The writers draw on the research of the Community Alliance for Global Justice in Seattle, which reports that that they have found the Gates have given over $100 million in grants to organizations with links to Monsanto.

And what do Monsanto and Microsoft have in common? A deeply held belief in the value of intellectual property. It's not the simple belief in technology; it's the belief in who owns it, in who controls knowledge, in who profits.

This is so depressing I may have to find some silly comedies to watch before bedtime.

If Bill and Melinda really wanted to do something for the farmers of Africa, they would stop supporting GM seeds, with the monocropping and related land grabs and environmental degradation they cause. They'd find a way to use communication technology to help the small-scale farmers on that continent share the successes they are having using traditional knowledge of ecological agriculture in even better ways.

But philanthropy will condescend.

There's an exchange of letters about the article here:

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