The USDA has issued an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and announced that following a 45-day public comment period it expects to approve Dow’s line of GMO crops resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D. This poison is one of the two main constituents of the infamous chemical weapon Agent Orange. Up for approval are one maize variety and two varieties of soybeans. This impetuous approval process, taking less than eight months to draw up such an allegedly rigorous EIS, is part of the Obama administration’s drive to “streamline”, i.e. accelerate, what was already the USDA’s rubber-stamp procedure for deregulating GMOs. As always, we see how Obama is the most aggressively pro-Monsanto president yet.
This approval and the huge surge in 2,4-D use that will follow comprise a major escalation of an already insane and failed policy.
(Here’s the USDA’s request for public comments. Apparently the comment form isn’t up yet, but I’ll post a link to it when it’s available.)
These GMOs, manufactured by Dow and called the “Enlist” series, are part of what’s being touted as “second generation” herbicide resistant GMOs. There are similar dicamba-resistant types in the pipeline. “Second generation” is a marketing term meant to obscure the fact that these are the same highly toxic and environmentally reckless herbicides which cartel and government propaganda originally promised would be rendered obsolete by glyphosate-resistant GMOs.
What happened instead? Every knowledgeable and honest commenter predicted it from the start: The massive deployment of glyphosate-tolerant crops resulted in a tremendous increase in glyphosate use. Like clockwork, this unrelenting, unabated slathering of one poison encouraged the target weeds themselves to become resistant to glyphosate. Today glyphosate-resistant superweeds are a major, chronic, spreading problem, unsolvable by the industrial agriculture methods which created it. The Roundup regime is in ruins. Industrial growers must spray ever greater amounts of glyphosate to attain continually diminishing results. Monsanto no longer legally warrants that Roundup will actually suppress weeds.
Now we’ve come full circle. 2,4-D and dicamba, originally relegated by GMO propaganda to history’s garbage heap, are now touted as the solution to the artificial problem of glyphosate’s collapse. (I should note that glyphosate itself isn’t being phased out. No one in cartel or government wants to end or diminish the distribution and application of any type of profitable poison, no matter how useless it is. The Enlist crops are “stacked” varieties, resistant to both 2,4-D and glyphosate. So when the Agent Orange crops are grown, they’ll still be drivers of the escalating use of glyphosate, and will add a massive surge in 2,4-D application on top of the massive glyphosate use.)
What will the specific results be? 2,4-D is a viciously poisonous substance. It’s an endocrine disruptor and causes birth defects and cancer, as well as being linked to Parkinson’s disease and other health detriments. It’s more volatile than glyphosate and causes far more problems with drift, trespass, and the destruction of other farmers’ crops. This is why the Agent Orange GMOs originally generated an unusual coalition of industrial opponents, including many specialty crop farmers and processors. (These have since dropped their opposition, claiming to believe Dow’s lies about “special formulations” which will reduce drift. In other words, the leaders made some kind of deal to sell out the farmers.) Meanwhile, in the past the Center for Food Safety and a coalition of organic farmers said they may file suit once the USDA’s phony review procedure was concluded.
(For those who are interested in legal actions, I think that now would be a good time to start compiling a dossier of poison trespass, crop and other plant destruction, soil poisoning, and other torts. Every victim of drift, genetic contamination, soil toxification, well or water poisoning, should be invited to report and register his loss and place the blame. This can be for lawsuits right now, and for a future New Nuremburg. We abolitionists recognize the strict liability of anyone who produces, plants, cultivates, sprays, any GMO or other agricultural poison, for all damage caused by that poison. I emphasize that there’s no longer any doubt at all about the inexpediency and destructiveness of the agricultural poison regime.)
The USDA itself expects 2,4-D use will increase two- to sixfold. Other more independent assessments predict it’ll go up as much as fiftyfold. The only thing it will do is escalate the chemical/bioweapons arms race which, as we knew from day one, the weeds will inevitably win. They’ve already routed glyphosate. Meanwhile there are already many documented instances of weeds resistant to 2,4-D. These have already developed because any kind of evolved resistance to one herbicide (or antibiotic) may simultaneously manifest as a resistance to a whole genre. Thus for example waterhemp, one of the most bothersome weeds afflicting corn and soy growers, has been developing resistance to glyphosate for a long time now. And today, before Agent Orange corn and soy have even been deployed, 2,4-D resistant waterhemp is already out there in the fields issuing the taunt, “Bring it on!”
All this proves the fundamental lie at the core of the whole GMO regime. Herbicide tolerant GMOs as a genre already comprise a proven failure from any reality-based point of view, in the same way that corporate agriculture has long since been proven to be unable and unwilling to “feed the world”. If there was ever any doubt, there no longer is. Both of these now qualify as Big Lies, repeatable only by conscious liars and by those with a willful, reckless disregard and contempt for the truth.
What’s more, humanity is sustaining a world-historical disaster with the overwhelming poisoning of the earth by nearly twenty years of massive glyphosate use, all for no purpose at all but to amass profits and power for a handful of corporate gangsters, and for the benefit of the glyphosate-tolerant weeds. We’ve given ourselves nothing but a legacy of accelerated landgrabbing, sprawling shantytowns, the intensified debt enslavement of farmers, and the wholesale poisoning of our soil, water, and bodies. All this has gone for NOTHING. That we’re now planning to respond to this by building this most insane Tower of Babel even higher, to inflict upon ourselves an even worse scourge and destruction, is insane in the most profound sense of the term. And those who understand it and support it embody a radical evil seldom seen in history.
This proves the fundamental insanity of a civilization which has subordinated the production of our very food to the production of poisons for profit.
It’s difficult to find words, and the attempt to do so will be my main occupation, to convey the evil and insanity of this. Humanity has always started by seeking its bread. Now we’re shackled to a system which starts by producing poison, wants to force this poison upon us, and is doing so by hijacking our food and using it as the delivery mechanism.