What? No Birds?

A couple of species that just might outlast us...
Buzz… Buzz… Buzz… B??

Whaaattt? No birds?

Looks like the environmental Rip Van Winkles among us, after letting Monsanto, Bayer et al. poison everything that isn’t a profitable crop, are finally getting a rude awakening:

CBC’s Ontario Today asked people to call in and report what species they’re not seeing now that they used to see. The many responses were scary. Here’s one dramatic example:

Russ, a farmer from Acton, ON, has seen 50 barn swallows every year in his barn. This year: NONE. Suddenly, none.

The 23-minute podcast is here.

We snored through the Monsanto Roundup years and even the recent Bayer Neonicotinoid bee-killing years. “Health Canada” is a disgrace to its name, in recent years just a follower and a pawn of agribusiness and big pharma. And, down south, Monsanto is close to being favoured with draconian legislation that will nullify a ton of existing local American laws against GE crops!!

Maybe the accelerated vanishing of our feathered, fellow-vertebrate friends like barn swallows and (in our back yard) hummingbirds, will wake us up to the global threat to the entire food chain caused by pesticides that are hugely potent and woefully undertested. We are blind to the critical importance of the tiny, even microscopic, living things in this world, without which the bigger things like us can not continue to survive.

Gotta be a better way than snoozing our way to mass extinction…

We must learn to tread gently on our earth. We’ve been struttin’ way too long, John…

Hummingbird at feeder
Ruby-throated at our feeder in 2012

Monsanto and Other Crap

Jeff Nguyen, the author of Deconstructing Myths, a blog that I follow, got me going with his delightfully facetious and hard-hitting “Dear Monsanto” post.

“Well put” sounds like lame praise for this creative way of addressing the ongoing horrors of Agent Orange as experienced by the people of Viet Nam and US GI’s.

I never fail to puzzle (and grind my teeth) over how Canadian and US media do their endless “show and tell” about the terror produced by foreign agents while ignoring the terror exported by (recently) drones and, in the 1960’s, Napalm and, as Jeff Nguyen points out in his eloquent “Thank You” letter to Monsanto, the long-lasting legacy of cancers and other horrors caused by using the defoliant, Agent Orange, during the Vietnam War. Continue reading “Monsanto and Other Crap”

In The Way Of Progress

Girl prepares to blow us a kiss at Cai Be farmers’ market in the Mekong Delta

My dander became elevated on reading an article by Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail entitled “Frankenfoods” have moved on. When will opponents?  

In this article Mr. Saunders argues that genetically modified crops, GM crops for short, are what the world needs to feed itself. He mentions that recently the left-wing Guardian newspaper has written no less than three articles in support of GM technology and implies that those opposed to GM are dwindling in numbers and misguided or otherwise addle-brained, often right-wing, “fundamentalists”:

Opposition to biotech has been left to revanchist agrarian conservatives such as Prince Charles, a handful of fundamentalist green groups and people who believe what they read in the tabloids.

Mr. Saunders defends GM as the new way of doing things driven by altruism, not profit:

But today, the frontier of biotechnology is in the sphere of international development and public interest. The research lab facing protests last Sunday was Rothamsted, a non-profit, entirely government-funded, public-sector institute. What its scientists have created there is a strain of wheat that repels aphids, potentially ending the deadly developing-world problem of entire crops being destroyed by aphid infestation. It is one of hundreds of “pro-poor” GM initiatives designed to create a new range of crops that will allow Asian and African countries to eclipse the West in food production. That’s vitally important because the world has faced food shortages since 2008, for the first time in three decades.

This is, in my opinion, a naive argument. Continue reading “In The Way Of Progress”