In a press statement conveniently released just before the busy holiday weekend, the USDA stated that Scotts Miracle Gro's introduction of a new GM Kentucky bluegrass seed did not require any regulation. Despite ongoing protests and legal challenges from environmental groups, land managers, federal agencies and other organizations, the USDA's decision paves the way for the unregulated use of GM lawn seed in U.S. neighborhoods - and a potentially dramatic increase in the use of a toxic herbicide that is increasingly being linked to adverse impacts on human health and the wider environment. The introduction of GM glyphosate-resistant Kentucky bluegrass will force us all to become subjects of an experiment that should have happened in the USDA’s laboratories - not in our lawns, backyards, in our local neighborhoods, and in parks where our kids play. This experiment will further increase the use of this toxic herbicide, and will inevitably lead to the cross-pollination with wild relatives and the many environmental problems this will entail. The potential human health impacts have yet to be discovered, but I know I would plow my lawn up if I thought this seed was in it. For the sake of a few weeds, are the potential risks of GM lawns really worth it?
Despite claims from the likes of Monsanto and the biotech industry that GE crops are an environmental panacea and will feed the world, two decades after they first went on sale the evidence suggests that GE’s key golden promises are beginning to look more like epic failures…[metaslider id=14538]
So Who Really Benefits?
The billions of dollars spent by the likes of Monsanto on PR, lobbying Congress, and bullying and threatening other nations has certainly helped to maintain the fascination with this seemingly glamorous technological solution among politicians and policymakers. But the honeymoon is now over: emerging science from both home and abroad is raising serious questions about the long-term benefits and risks of GE crops. What’s more, mounting anecdotal evidence suggests that U.S. farmers are beginning to regret sowing the crops in the first place.
But even if you think the collateral damage to global biodiversity associated with GE crops and the intensification of farming is a necessary cost, my question is this: if GE crops don’t actually reduce overall pesticide use or increase crop yields, and if most independent scientists around the world contend that GE crop technology offers limited solutions to the challenges of poverty and hunger in developing countries, and further contend that available research funding would be much better spent on other research areas if we’re going to feed the world sustainably, then exactly who or what stands to benefit from the fixation on GE crop technology—other than Monsanto, its shareholders, and its army of lackeys?