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Jan 23, 2011
Hadn't expected this (I mean, not surprised at Beddington, as he's said it before), but the Guardian dedicating a whole article to cheerleading GM: I am referring to 'Genetically modified crops are the key to human survival, says UK's chief scientist'

The whole article focuses on Sir John Beddington's opinion - cheerleading GM - with only one (inaccurate/ incomplete) sentence to 'balance' it ("Such remarks will enrage many environmental groups, who believe it is wrong for the west to impose a technology it has developed on the third world."); this *endless* pushing of GM does not only enrage "environmental groups", but farmers, anti-debt groups, religious groups, poverty alleviation agencies and many, many more. Also, the objection is not that the "third world" shouldn't benefit from a 'western technology' (how silly would that be - technology transfer - under just conditions! - is actually something that these groups actively advocate for!), but because (amongst others):

- The potential abuse of power that this technology and gene patent laws give the breeding companies (the crops are purposefully made sterile), thus making farmers subservient/ at the mercy of GM companies
- It has been proven that it does *not* systematically increase yields (as promised by GM)
- The 'benefit' of being able to use more pesticides mainly serves to increase profit of GM-linked pesticide sellers and pollute fields and rivers plus poison farmers, *not* benefit food output
- It is *not* a solution for the emotive 'world hunger' (as a humanitarian aid worker I know that many die of hunger surrounded by food... because they can't afford to buy it, because 'globalisation/ free trade' make it difficult for farmers to compete with cheap imports; because people lack access to simple solutions to store excess food; because farmers and local traders face trade barriers to export; because land is leased to rich foreigners...)
- Funding for biotechnology reduces the money that is available for researching other technologies that would probably be more beneficial, cheaper and more sustainable (if probably less profitable for shareholders).
- GM is not safe (several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system)
- If Beddington doesn't want 'environmentalists' from stopping GM, then Beddington should also listen to his intended 'beneficiaries' of the technology: e.g. the 'global south' do *not* want it

I could go on forever, but will leave it at this. I could provide several reputable sources for all (and more) arguments above if you wish. I'll mention just one: The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is a major World Bank and UN funded study that has been endorsed by 58 governments, including the UK. Its findings are that small-scale sustainable agriculture (using local variaties) is the way forward if we are going to provide food for the Earth's growing population in a time of climate chaos and is dismissive of GM for some of the above mentioned reasons.

I hope in the future The Guardian (and all) will provide more balanced reporting!

I wrote a variety on the above in an e-mail to the Guardian Environment Editor.

Lots of other relevant research and info on Political CleanUp.
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Posted: Jan 23, 2011 6:33am
Nov 28, 2009

The Lancet has just published a series of articles on health and climate change. Besides being informative, I love the following sentence in the executive summary: "Addressing climate change is not just an issue of international agreements, or economic costs; it is a choice of what kind of world we want to live".

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Posted: Nov 28, 2009 8:27am
Nov 15, 2009

According to an article in The Independent, the GLOBAL number of swine flu deaths so far is 6,250. Of course a tragedy for the affected families, no doubt. However, let's again put these figures in perspective: that's PEANUTS compared with the 20.5 MILLION who died of starvation, just so far in 2009. According to Jean Ziegler (the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food for 2000 to March 2008 in his book L'Empire de la honte, Fayard, 2007), mortality due to malnutrition accounted for 58% of the total mortality in 2006: "In the world, approximately 62 million people, all causes of death combined, die each year. One in twelve people worldwide are malnourished. In 2006, more than 36 millions died of hunger or diseases due to deficiencies in micronutrients.

And considering that, as economist Amartya Sen observed, in recent decades, famine has always a problem of food distribution and/or poverty (inability to exercise purchase/ procure food), as there has been sufficient food to feed the whole population of the world (so NO need to push GM - this will only make things worse, putting start of food chain in hands of global corporate behemoths), this is a collective disgrace in my opinion.

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Posted: Nov 15, 2009 8:19am
Sep 16, 2009

I've neglected my blog a bit. Actually, I didn't want to repeat myself as whatever caught my attention seemed to be 'same old, same old':

- Big Pharma encouraging 'swine flu panic' (if they truly cared and were honest they wouldn't charge 6 month's salary equivalent for e.g. ordinary Egyptians for their famous Tamiflu or other pills; Egypt is now thinking of closing all schools to avoid epidemic... but what about the kids education then?! & parents )
- organisations starting to talk green/ sustainable, but not walking it, see e.g. Worldbank.

- climate change is getting worse and worse and we continue to ignore it too much, e.g. today health impacts highlighted.

Until there is justice for all... let's keep up our 2p's! (though not always easy, justice does sometimes prevail as in this case of pollution of Africans)

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Posted: Sep 16, 2009 4:56am
May 3, 2009

Enjoying your salmon/ chicken/ beef? Did you know how your food got raised? Its impact on communities of people and animals elsewhere?

"He created the earth for all creatures... Which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?" (Quran chapter [55]10, 13)

And: "There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end." (Quran [6] 38)

Watch this video as a reminder that being a believer is not just about our prayers in church/ mosque/ synagogue etc, but these prayers are more like a reminder to be God conscious in all our actions, God willing.

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Posted: May 3, 2009 3:15am


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Rianne ten Veen
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Solihull, United Kingdom
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