October 5, 2019

Cause the Problem, Sell the (Fake) Solution


GMOs help cause this and cannot help fix it

As climate chaos worsens, over most of the world drought tolerance will become an ever more critical trait for food crops. Conventional breeding on a regional basis for agroecological horticulture is the great need and is proven to be the only framework which is effective. Industrial agriculture is doomed to collapse for any of all of its many intrinsic fatal flaws: Fossil fuel dependency; fossil water dependency; fossil phosphorus and potassium dependency; soil toxification, malnourishment and physical erosion; the destruction of the genetic base of crops; the rising strength of pests and diminishing possibilities for combatting them; global heating which suppresses more yield for every degree of temperature rise; the general collapse of the ecology upon which monoculture agriculture is completely dependent. Corporate crop varieties geared to commodity production are developed for a system which has no future and offers no guidance for what needs to be done.
Even within the industrial commodity framework conventional breeding is proven to be superior to genetic engineering in every way, especially where it comes to agronomic traits like drought tolerance. Here the record has been clear for many years: Conventional breeding works and GM does not.
As is typical, most governments have not listened to the facts or conformed to reality, and so subsidies, regulatory approvals and mainstream media propaganda campaigns have emphasized GM drought tolerance as yet another way GMOs are going to “feed the world”, however much of a lie that is in detail and overall.
GM-based drought tolerance has been a special feature of the propaganda for the Monsanto-Syngenta-Gates Foundation colonial assault on Africa. Several African governments have approved these corporate products for cultivation in spite of their proven agronomic inferiority and socioeconomic and ecological malignity.
So it’s a significant victory for food sovereignty, democracy and deep ecology that the South African government has rejected Monsanto’s application to commercialize one of its so-called “drought tolerant” products:
“After more than 10 years of battling Monsanto’s “bogus” drought tolerant maize project, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has welcomed the decision by the Minister of Agriculture, Ms Thoko Didiza, upholding the decision by the Executive Council: GMO Act and the appeal board to reject Monsanto’s application for the commercial cultivation of its triple-stacked “drought-tolerant” GM maize seed.
This landmark decision is a win for the ACB and other civil society organisations on the continent that have resisted the introduction of these GM varieties in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The Minister’s decision was made following the failure of the GM varieties to increase yield under drought conditions during repeated field trials in South Africa.”
The notion of “drought-resistant GMOs” is one of the most common PR scams found in pro-GMO propaganda. Along with similar hoaxes like golden rice and the GM Kenyan sweet potato, the purpose of the drought-resistant GMO trope is to misdirect attention from the fact that GMOs were created for no reason other than to sell poison. The two kinds of GMOs which actually exist on a significant economic level are those tolerant of herbicides, and those which generate their own Bt insecticidal poison in every plant cell. These also consistently fail in the field.
Drought-tolerance, on the other hand, along with traits like real pest and disease resistance, salt tolerance, improved nutrition, and improved nitrogen uptake, is solely the province of non-GM conventional breeding. This breeding, like any other, builds upon the accumulated work of thousands of years of farmer breeding, a collective human heritage. This status was reinforced in the 20th century, as all significant modern crop breeding was done using public money. Anything corporations do with this heritage is at most a minuscule contribution to a monumental and ongoing collective human project. That’s part of the reason it’s morally and rationally impossible for seed patents to have any legitimacy.
At best modern commodity breeding is a person standing on the shoulder of a giant. This “at best” is 100% within the realm of non-GM conventional breeding. A “drought-resistant” GMO, on the other hand, is nothing but a drought-resistant conventional variety which has one or more of the poison-enabling transgenes inserted. Thus we have the conventionally drought-resistant variety with an added Roundup Ready and/or Bt trait extraneously added. This then fraudulently is called a “drought-resistant GMO.”
The corporate GMO propaganda sounds especially bogus when we take into account the fact that of all economic sectors the industrial agriculture/food system is the primary driver of the climate crisis. Any big corporation, especially an agribusiness concern, which offers any sort of product touted as part of climate mitigation or adaptation, is engaging in straight disaster capitalism, seeking to profit off the crisis they themselves take the lead role in driving and having caused in the first place.
They [agribusiness] cause the problem [industrial agriculture is #1 driver of the climate crisis which is driving changing chronic drought and extreme drought events], then want to sell you the solution [drought tolerant maize], which doesn’t even work [the technology fails to produce greater yield under drought conditions] and is harmful in itself [as a typical GMO it drives escalated pesticide use; drives the crisis of antoibiotic resistant bacteria (ABR) through its use of a antibiotic resistance marker in the development process, as well as contributing to herbicide-driven ABR ; GM-driven mutations are never legitimately tested for safety].
Such “solutions” based on profit-seeking product and hi-maintenance technology also work to reinforce the technocrat ideology, that drought and farmer dependency aren’t socioeconomic and political problems but purely technical ones to be solved only by technology deployed by technocrats. But again this is precisely the mindset that has caused and driven the crises all along. No part of this framework can ever be anything but counterproductive and destructive, just as there can be no constructive action which doesn’t include rejecting and breaking free of this framework.
This particular example is typical of the overall economy and civilization which causes the climate crisis and general ecological crisis, then wants to sell you the solution of “green” capitalism, green hi-maintenance tech, technocratic carbon-trading schemes and “carbon neutral”, “offset”, “zero net carbon” regimes. These are solutions which don’t work (for over thirty years they’ve been deployed in various places and invariably are proven to be failures and often scams; overall emissions keep rising and accelerating their rate of rise, atmospheric carbon keeps rising and at increasing rate, deforestation and ecocide continue to rampage, often with the direct encouragement of climate policy as in the case of the Paris accord’s drive to accelerate deforestation by escalating subsidies for burning of wood pellets for electricity, biofuel, and heating*, aka the “biomass” scam/atrocity; plus the whole concept of “industrial renewables” is a fraud in that it remains completely dependent upon a fossil fuel foundation) and are harmful in themselves (industrial fake-renewables directly require massive mining destruction, poisoning of water and the environment, and then the electricity is put to harmful uses; hydroelectric generation is founded upon the enslavement of rivers and massacre of river ecological communities, most notoriously wiping out salmon; the whole concept is designed to prop up the inherently ecocidal economic system).
We see the overall recursive pattern. From the grandest “Green New Deal” perspective to the nitty-gritty detail of a particular product like Monsanto thirst-corn, this system offers nothing but malign scams designed to prop up profitable cancer/growth capitalism and herd the sheep away from real ideas and real work for the good.
There’s an endless number of such scams. They cause the problem then want to sell you the snake oil, while slandering and where possible forcibly suppressing the real cure. In the case of the climate crisis this means:
End all industrial emissions; stop destroying carbon sinks; allow all natural sinks to resume their natural ranges.
Food has to be grown on the basis of agroecology and distributed in accord with food sovereignty.
All else is a lie.
*Heating is done effectively in a low-impact way through passive solar and using the underground as a thermostat. Industrial electricity and fuel are inherently ecocidal, there is no sustainable or “eco-friendly” way to produce or consume them, we don’t need them, and would be better off spiritually and socioeconomically without them.


  1. Russ,

    The response of the BLM in Western Oregon to the climate crisis and to the decline and apparent extirpation of species, is a ratcheting up of their extractive activities. That is, not only is this public agency, charged so by the 1937 O&C Act, required to “protect watersheds” and “regulate streamflows,” insistent on imposing its own relatively large forest canopy openings on landscapes already replete with large private industrial clear cuts and monoculture fiber farm plantations, but now they are moving, after about a 25 year hiatus, back into stands that have not as yet been logged. One stand I have seen proposed for what is called “regeneration harvest” lately is approximately 160 years old. The latest regional management plan in Oregon allows trees thereon less than 40″ in diameter as measured at breast height and which did not sprout before the year 1850 to be felled and hauled off on log trucks. As I say, this particular stand, as so very many others in Western Oregon, is virtually surrounded by very large private clear cuts and plantations.

    Fool that I am, gullible chump if you will, I have been protesting these activities to the BLM, applying simple easy to comprehend logic, offering historic and current management contexts as background, and appealing to the agency’s ethical sense. Predictably, over the last several years, all of my arguments, however well supported (in my estimation) have been brushed aside. I have grown weary of this endless and deeply dispiriting joust with windmills and must desist out of a sense of emotional, mental, spiritual, physical self preservation. Only, I am convinced, when a widely based, very angry and concerted and persistent public outcry is heard in legislative chambers, state and federal, will much change. We so often heard in past years politicians and religious spokespersons tell us about the sacred and historic fact of America’s Judaeo Christian inheritance. If that is truly the case then the god America has and continues to worship under aegis of that paradigm is not Jesus or Jehovah et al. but Holy Dollar in all its puissant if too often corrupting manifestations.

    All the best,

    Joseph Patrick Quinn
    Camas Valley, Oregon

    Comment by Joseph Patrick Quinn — October 5, 2019 @ 2:23 pm

    • Dominion theology is refuted by two simple facts:

      1. If God wanted man to dominate nature, the result truly would be “reclamation” and the recovery of the orderly Garden of Eden. Instead the result invariably is chaos, disorder, destruction. From the point of view of Christian theology, an honest person would have to admit that extractive actions boost Satan’s dominion, not that of God.

      2. If God created nature in order for it to be dominated and destroyed by man, ki never would have created such unfathomable biodiversity, such an infinite expanse of detail. On the contrary, the miraculous infinity of earthly life would prove to any truly religious person (except a Satanist) that God wanted man to integrate harmoniously with nature, or at most to be a good and benevolent steward. (Which is what many people claim is a more accurate translation of Genesis than “dominion”.)

      I’ll add that anyone who truly believed the Rapture and/or the Second Coming was imminent would of course devote all their energies to preparing their souls. They’d have zero time or interest in temporal things like making money. Indeed, they’d consider that to be a bad time to indulge greed, violence, and all the other sins inherent in capitalism.

      So that proves that those who assert the end times are imminent and therefore there’s no reason not to destroy the Earth are pure frauds and liars. They’re really either closet atheists or closet Satanists.

      Thanks for all your efforts Joseph. I know how it feels to be exhausted, especially where it comes to such an often heartbreaking cause. I’ve had a terrible year myself. I hope a rest will do you good, and rethinking perspectives, and maybe you’ll find renewed energy later on.

      As for the BLM, they might be up next for me; unless some other topic catches my eye, I’m planning to write next about the extermination campaign against the pinon-juniper community.

      Comment by Russell Bangs — October 5, 2019 @ 2:52 pm

      • “extermination campaign against the pinon-juniper community.”

        A sad tale indeed.

        Comment by rose imagine — October 6, 2019 @ 2:39 pm

    • BTW I just started reading Chris Maser’s Forest Primeval tracing the history of a forest up your way in the Oregon Cascades. It’s good so far. Ever read it?

      Comment by Russell Bangs — October 5, 2019 @ 2:58 pm

  2. Russ,

    Yes, I have read this excellent book, although it has been a while. As a side note, Chris Maser was kind enough, a few years ago, to be the keynote speaker at our small, non-profit, environmental group’s annual award/fundraiser banquet.

    Another interesting work, providing useful perspective on the history of timber ownership, management and shennanigans in the Pacific Northwest is called “The Money Tree.” Ironically, it was sent me by a sympatico BLM silvaculturist. Unfortuneately, I loaned out my copy, forgetting to whom I loaned it and cannot now recall the author, a woman out of Oregon State University, if memory serves.

    BLM hides behind their regional Resource Management Plan in a way that is remeniscent, to my cynical mind, of how the Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials excused their unconscionable actions: “We were only following orders!” It gives me no pleasure to say so, but I have long thought that it is we human beings who are the invasive species doing the greatest harm, a sentiment you express in your posts. The worrying part about this purview is that it seems to involve a progression from chagrin to cynacism to self loathing, the latter being, it seems, a prerequisite for true misanthropy. From this sad surmise, perhaps you can further discern my need to step back for a while, more’s the pity, because, if anything, the “tree eaters” are only going full steam ahead. My wife’s response to this seemingly overwhelmingly depressing context goes something like: “Well, I choose to be happy!” To date, I have not been able to achieve this kind of nirvanish mind set, being unsure what attitude to adopt when one senses that our globe’s axis has spun a babbit, its rotation gone eccentric, its orbit increasingly eliptic, in danger of hurtling off to somewhere far less hospitable.


    Comment by Joseph Patrick Quinn — October 7, 2019 @ 2:23 pm

    • As a rule I can’t just choose to be happy either. But on the other hand I feel no self-loathing over the crimes of the civilized, because I’ve always hated all this, never identified with it at all, and always felt myself to be living in occupied territory. If I could press a button and abolish it all instantly I’d do it in a second. I agree completely with Derrick Jensen that it’s not humanity who is psychopathic, but civilized humanity. Especially “moderns”.

      Glad to hear about Maser speaking to your group. That gives another dimension as I read his book. I’ll add “The Money Tree” to my list.

      Stay well, keep healthy, keep physically active, find other things to be interested in, that’s how I’ve worked to overcome doldrums in the past.

      Comment by Russell Bangs — October 7, 2019 @ 2:57 pm

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