The Ecologist


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Photo: PAN North America.

EPA bans toxic pesticide mix on GM crops

The Ecologist

26th November 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency has just withdrawn its authorization for a toxic mix of two herbicides, glyphosate and 2,4-D, to be used on GM crops. The move came in response to a lawsuit claiming the initial registration was unlawful. more...
Traditional Farmer in Kabaune village, Kenya working in the field with his cattle. The village has joined in planting trees in order to increase rain and water. Photo: P. Casier / CGIAR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The tremendous success of agroecology in Africa

Colion Todhunter

21st November 2015

While the Gates Foundation and conservative politicians are bigging up GMOs and agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter, a quiet revolution has been working its way across Africa. Agroecological farming, constantly adapting to local needs, customs, soils and climates, has been improving nutrition, reducing poverty, combatting climate change, and enriching farmland. more...
Dr. Mark VanGessel brandishing a Palmer's amaranth on a Delaware farm - one of the glyphosate-resistant superweeds that's pushing biotech companies to develop 'stacked' herbicide resistant traits in soybeans and other crops. Photo: Delaware Agriculture vi

Regulators and retailers must stop ‘next generation' GMO imports

Helen Wallace

20th November

A new wave of ‘next generation' GM crops resistant to multiple herbicides, may be approved for import into the European Union, writes Helen Wallace, even though the health impact of the herbicide combinations is unknown. Regulators and retailers must refuse to authorise these GMOs or allow their use in any part of the food chain. more...
After four separate attempts to rein in the biotech companies failed, an estimated 10,000 people marched through Honolulu’s Waikiki tourist district. Photo: Christopher Pala.

Hawaii: anger rises over health impacts of pesticides used on GMO crops

Christopher Pala

4th November 2015

Hawaii has got everything, writes Christopher Pala, and not just for holidaymakers. It's also the perfect place for biotech companies to develop GMO corn varieties and spray them with toxic agrochemicals. People are getting sprayed too - and doctors report high rates of birth defects. But grassroots efforts to restrict the use of pesticides have twice been over-ruled by state courts. more...
No signs of structural damage, but a a political earthquake took place here last week. Photo of European Parliament by Michal Sänger via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Europe's big NO to half baked GMO compromises

Molly Scott Cato MEP

3rd November 2015

Political groups in the European Parliament have sent a clear message to the Commission on its GMO proposals, writes Molly Scott Cato - we are not willing to have piecemeal and vaguely-defined 'opt-out' legislation forced down our throats. more...
Women in the Mustard Fields In Uaipur Mishrikh, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Nitin Bhardwaj via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Rice, wheat, mustard ... India drives forward first GMO crops under veil of secrecy

Colin Todhunter & Oliver Tickell

3rd November 2015

Seventeen or more secret applications have been made to India's GMO regulators for trials and release of GM crops including rice, wheat, chickpeas, brinjal and mustard, write Colin Todhunter & Oliver Tickell. In a violation of the law regulators have released no information about the applications, raising fears that India's first GMOs will be released with no health, safety or environmental testing. more...
The quality of the milk those kids are drinking would be much lower if their mother was fed on GMO soy, stunting their growth. Photo: Lawrence Wright via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

GMO soy produces altered milk and stunted kids

Dr Jonathan R. Latham / Independent Science News,

26th October 2015

Mother goats fed on 'Roundup-ready' GMO soy produce milk that's much lower in fat, protein and antibodies than non-GMO controls, writes Jonathan Latham, and contains traces of GE DNA. The milk also stunts their kids' growth. more...
Michael Meacher MP addresses the group 'The State We Need' at the Occupy Democracy protest in Parliament Square, 25th October 2014. Photo: Sheila via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Michael Meacher: an environment minister who stood up for his beliefs

John Vidal / the Guardian Environment

22nd October 2015

The late Labour MP fought both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on environmental policies, writes John Vidal, standing up for climate and access to countryside, and against GMO crops and road building. Radical to the end, he was one of the few MPs to support Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. more...
Pro-GMO philanthropist Bill Gates has been a big funder of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY - he even paid for its magnificent Gates Hall. But is Cornell's Alliance for Science performing a flip on GMO safety? Photo: Anne Ruthmann Photography via Flickr (CC

Surprise - Cornell is taking the GMO safety debate to a new level!

Steven M. Druker

19th October 2015

Something important just happened at Cornell's Alliance for Science, writes Steven M. Druker. Long known as a keen promoter of genetic engineering, the organization has experienced a profound change of direction. Its new director, Sarah Davidson Evanega, has opened an inclusive scientific dialogue on the safety of GMO crops. Who says it's all 'over'? more...
Make hay while the sun shines! This farmer in Cyprus can remain GMO-free - for now. Photo: Tony Woods via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

GM crops: an uneasy truce hangs over Europe

Mary Dobbs, Queen's University Belfast

9th October 2015

With all the EU's GMO exemptions filed, a clear majority - by number, population and area of farmland - have chosen to be GMO-free, writes Mary Dobbs. But the rules surrounding their opt-outs are complex in the extreme and many countries will find it hard to maintain their GMO-free status - specially if the Commission and the biotech corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta choose to exercise their powers. more...
No GM crops here! Typical farm house amid cropland in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), Germany. Photo: Domenico via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Two thirds of EU cropland, population ditch GM crops

The Ecologist

1st October 2015

Fifteen EU states have now joined the GM-free movement as the 3rd October deadline for registration nears, along with four regions. They collectively account for 65% of the EU's arable cropland, and 65% of its population, and Greenpeace expects more to sign up. more...
A cob of Portuguese maize: Portugal being one of the only countries in the EU to permit the cultivation of a GMO maize variety. Photo: Rosino via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

France, Germany, Poland ... ten European nations to go GMO-free

Oliver Tickell

30th September 2015

With the deadline for EU countries who wish to ban genetically GM crops drawing near, writes Oliver Tickell, Poland is the latest to register with the European Commission to go GM-free. Now the division of the EU into pro and anti-GM zones may test the single market beyond its limits. more...

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At the New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos scientists are using genetic engineering to improve algae strains for increased biomass yield and carbon capture efficiency. Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Re-engineering life? The dangers of 'next generation' biofuels

Almuth Ernsting

30th September 2015

The biofuels of the future will depend on microbes, writes Almuth Ernsting: algae to produce the biomass, and fungi or bacteria to break cellulose down into useful molecules. Just one problem: wild strains aren't up to the job. So scientists are trying to genetically engineer supercharged 'synthetic biology' variants - which will inevitably enter the environment. What could possibly go wrong? more...
What dark secrets have been lurking in Monsanto's filing cabinets? Finally, the truth about Roundup toxicity is coming out. Photo: Jonathan Ryan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monsanto knew all along! Secret studies reveal the truth of Roundup toxicity

Richard Gale & Gary Null / Progressive Radio Network

18th September 2015

Forty years ago Monsanto carried out detailed studies of glyphosate and Roundup toxicity, write Richard Gale & Gary Null. But they have remained buried in filing cabinets ever since. Now a determined scientist has breached the wall of secrecy - and all the evidence is that Monsanto knew just how toxic its products were all along, while claiming they were 'safe as lemonade'. more...
This one goes all the way to the top: Prof. Nina Fedoroff of Penn State, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with shown with President G W Bush. Photo: Penn State via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

GMOs and the puppetmasters of academia - what the New York Times left out

Dr Jonathan Latham

8th September 2015

The NYT's expose of Kevin Folta's PR role as a pro-GMO shill in the employ of Monsanto barely scratched the surface of a huge web of corporate money, influence and intrigue that permeates the US's premier universities and scientific institutions, writes Jonathan Latham - from Harvard and Cornell to the AAAS. Why the reticence to name all the names? more...
Weeding a cotton field in Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, South India. Photo: jankie vis Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

GMO versions of 'desi' indigenous cotton threaten our organic future

Dr Vandana Shiva

9th September 2015

India's decision to release GMO cotton seeds that incorporate genes for Bt toxins into indigenous 'desi' varieties threatens disaster for the country's small and organic cotton farmers, writes Vandana Shiva. The danger is that the GMO characteristics will spread rapidly into the gene pool, contaminating India's unique heritage of cotton seed diversity. more...
It's not just toxic seeds and herbicides ... Monsanto's PR practices carry their own toxic load. Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Monsanto's scientist shill exposed

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

8th September 2015

The 'Kevin Folta affair' has cast the hard light of day into the dubious PR tactics of the GMO industry, writes Claire Robinson - recruiting and paying scientists as secret shills to promulgate a pro-GM message without revealing their funding sources. more...
No GMOs here. The harvest is in on this farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Photo: Gordon Robertson via Flickr (CC BY).

We scientists welcome Scotland's GM-free status

The undersigned 30 scientists and specialists

4th September 2015

Scotland's decision to maintain its GM-free status is in the best interests of the country, its people and its farmers, 30 scientists write to Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead. It is abundantly justified by the scientific evidence and will support the sustainable, agroecological farming systems of the future. more...
Golden rice may be a marvel of modern technology, but it is consistently outperformed in the field by native varieties. Photo: traditional rice farmer at Budid, Philippines, by Shan Sheehan via Flickr (CC BY).

Golden rice: the 'GM superfood' that fell to Earth

Glenn Stone

2nd September 2015

Golden rice was once hailed as the wonder crop that 'could save a million kids year', writes Glenn Stone. But in the 15 years since that bold prediction, the carotene enhanced GMO has been held back by persistent 'yield drag' and inconclusive nutrition outcomes. It now appears unlikely ever to fulfill its early promise. more...
The protestor is right: GMOs are indeed a science experiment. And we are the guinea pigs. Photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Growing doubts over GMO safety: a scientist's experience

Jonathan Latham

31st August 2015

Are GMOs safe? Up to a point, writes Jonathan Latham - provided you're not eating them. That's certainly not proven to be safe, indeed the hazards are numerous: protein encoding viral DNA fragments, herbicide metabolites, biotoxins whose operation is not understood, poorly conducted experiments ... and those are just the ones we know about. more...
Roundup by Monsanto, photographed in February 2015 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia. Via Flickr (CC BY).

Roundup may cause potentially fatal 'adrenal insufficiency'

GMWatch & The Ecologist

21st August 2015

A new study finds that the Roundup herbicide disrupts the hormonal system of rats at low levels at which it's meant to produce no adverse effects. By the same mechanism It may be causing the potentially fatal condition of 'adrenal insufficiency' in humans. more...
Now protected against GMO contamination: fields of seed potatoes growing in Perthshire, Scotland. Photo: Matt Cartney / Agriculture, Food and Rural communities via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Crofters welcome Scotland's GMO ban

The Ecologist

10th August 2015

Scotland's small-scale farmers have welcomed their government's decision to prevent the growing of GM crops, aimed at enhancing the country's 'clean, green status', among a coalition of green NGOs. more...
A small scale farmer weeding a cotton field in Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, South India. Cotton farming can be very profitable, but is also very risky in India due to high input costs and droughts. Many farmers get highly indebted and see no way out

GM cotton really is helping to drive Indian farmers to suicide

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

11th August 2015

A new study finds that Indian farmers in rain-fed areas are being driven to suicide from the increased cost of growing Bt GMO cotton varieties that confer no benefits to them, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. The extra expenses arise from buying new seeds each year, along with increased chemical inputs, while suffering inadequate access to agronomic information. more...
Ordinary white rice, and Golden rice. Photo: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) via Wikimedia (CC BY).

Golden rice GMO paper retracted after judge rules for journal

Retraction Watch

31st July 2015

A key paper that's been widely cited to justify the use of GM 'Golden rice' to boost vitamin A nutrition has been withdrawn due to ethical breaches, with no proof of consent by parents of the children taking part in trials. But that's not the only objection. more...
Munnaf's wife Lovely Begum, showing dead Bt brinjal plants. Photo: Faisal Rahman.

GMO propaganda over facts? BBC Panorama and Bt brinjal

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

30th July 2015

A BBC documentary claimed 90% success for a controversial GM crop in Bangladesh, Bt brinjal, writes Claire Robinson. But as journalist Faisal Rahman discovered, there's no evidence to support the claim, the BBC relied on biased sources, and its journalists failed to investigate reports of widespread crop failure. Was it all an exercise in pro-GMO propaganda? more...


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