“Changing Course for Life – Local Solutions to Global Problems” Julian Rose
“It is said that a civilisation that is loosing its seeds and destroying its soil is a dying civilisation: and we are. Today, over eighty percent of mankind’s diet is provided by the seeds of less than a dozen plant species – and most of these are ‘owned’ by just two or three transnational corporations. Ninety eight percent of vegetable varieties have disappeared from the diet of the western world over the past hundred years. Unless this catastrophic loss of biodiversity is reversed, our gene pool – upon which all life depends – will run dry within the span of this century.”
As US citizens remain transfixed by the financial crises engulfing their nation, the US House of Representatives is about to take a decision on a seemingly innocuous series of bills that appear to offer further protection against poor hygiene and sanitary conditions in the food chain. However, these bills are not what they seem. A carefully planned and executed heist is underway, care of the Monsanto Corporation and the ‘Codex’ arm of the World Trade Organisation, to rid the agribusiness dominated food chain of any genuine ‘organic’ produce. ‘Nutrients’ of virtually all descriptions are under attack as potentially ‘unsafe’ and therefore a threat to public health. They should be made illegal according to the protagonists of these bills. So only sanitized, irradiated and chemically treated ‘nutrients’ will be permitted to enter the food chain if these bills get through Congress. In fact, the food chain will be one step nearer ‘total ownership’ by the “two or three transnational corporations” cited in the above chapter of my book.
Its a very disturbing development for US citizens who, for the most part, still appear to be bathing in the ‘Obama Honeymoon’ with its still lingering promise of change and more power to the people. Barak Obama had, prior to his election, raised hopes amongst anti GMO and pro organic activists, by stating that he would support the development of ecological farming and critically review GM technology. As it is, he has elected Tom Vilsack, the most solid of GMO supporters, as Secretary of Agriculture. Vilsack was named ‘Governor of the Year’ by the Biotechnology Industry Organisation in 2008. Just to compound the deception, the President’s wife instigated the digging up of part of the White House lawn in order to grow some symbolic organic veggies.
What happens in the USA tends, after a small delay, to arrive in Europe. Owing to the dubious distinction of the ‘special relationship’ between the USA and UK, almost everything involving US corporate aggrandizement and power politics gets ‘special attention’ by leading political figures in our Country. Blair was already promoting Monsanto’s GM technology on the behest of Clinton. Lord Sainsbury was given the job of pushing forward the UK GM agenda when he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry. I was surprised to see his heraldic ‘Knights of the Garter’ flag hanging in Windsor Castle’s Saint George’s chapel, in 2000.
Blair’s team invested large sums of pension funds in UK GMO developments, but was no doubt disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm of the British public for GM foods and field trials. The trials were unceremoniously ripped up by protesters who knew that pollen from the maize and oilseed rape crops would soon contaminate the British countryside, causing irreparable damage to the food chain. Brown, not to be outdone, continues to press-on with secretive GM research funding programmes and Hilary Ben has never flinched from the idea that genetic modification still has an important role to play in the future of our food.
What all this tells us is that the Agricultural Policy in the UK, USA and most of the ‘developed’ world, is an unashamed attempt to exert almost total politico-corporate control over the food chain, and to do it using a technology that guarantees the patented ‘ownership’ of plants and seeds by the corporations that create them. This involves expropriating the seeds that are the intellectual property of peasant farmers from around the world, laying claim to the seed’s DNA, and selling them back again under strict contractual conditions that include prohibiting any subsequent harvested seed to be saved, as well as demanding royalties be paid on every new purchase. Such practices are condoned by our governments as part of necessary ‘development’ and ‘modernisation’ policies for southern hemisphere countries. But the reality is that they force independent farmers into slavery to the vast corporate agribusiness and pharmaceutical agencies that profit from their carefully conceived ‘patents on life’ and the vast outreach accorded to them by the World Trade Organisation’s forcible demands that poorer Countries lift their protective trade barriers. This, in exchange for vast loans designed to ‘Westernise’ native agricultural practices whose origins and current practices are about providing food sovereignty to their people – and not providing western supermarkets with mass produced green beans.
The ‘Codex Alimentarius’ arm of the WTO is now working in tandem with the US pharmaceutical companies to destroy not only organic food and farming, but natural medicine as well. All herbal, naturpath and homeopathic practices are being told that they will have to to be registered under the same costly terms as commercial pharmaceutical companies by 2010/12, or be forced to close.
Our ‘freedom of choice’ is being curtailed at a rapidly gathering pace. Once the food chain has become dominated – and quite literally ‘owned’ – by the corporate conglomerate, it will be too late to protest. It is for this reason that “Changing Course for Life” is calling for us to “take control of our lives before we become unrecallably controlled.” This can done by shifting our allegiances away from the supermarkets: the mass global food purveyors of unashamed ‘consumerism’ – and returning to more human , local and regional, small to medium-scale decentralised models of genuinely sustainable production and consumption.
Its a challenge we cannot shirk if we want to retain the ability to feed and house ourselves in the not too distant future. But its not just a countryside challenge. City dwellers take heart; in Cuba 8% of the total urban land area is cultivated by 18,000 gardeners and is thus helping to supply urban generated food for many thousands of families. Greening the city is not just a nicety, it is an essential component in the strategy of ‘taking control’ recommended in my book as a sine qua non for forging a new renaissance of enduring community living; in defiance – if necessary – of the bureaucratic rule book and state interference. Such an event is, in fact, already beginning to manifest itself in many urban centres throughout Europe and beyond.
The stage is now set for a radical, and distinctly pragmatic, reappraisal of our long overrated consumerist life styles. The catalyst of such a change will be the no longer tolerable forces of politico-corporate oppression, coupled with a resource and climate crisis that demands a very different approach to the way we currently manage our planet and ourselves.
In “Changing Course for Life – Local Solutions to Global Problems” the reader will be able to find a thought provoking resolution to these crucial issues that confront us in all the main avenues of contemporary life. It is a call to action, providing answers at a time when mainstream politics has no answers. If we really want to escape the clutches of Codex and the advancing ‘One World Government’, we have no option but to invent and build the new society.
“There is no magic pill to cure our planet or its people. However the more aware we become about the deep seated ills afflicting all realms of planetary life, the more ready we will be to shift the angle of our current trajectory, and embark on the new course. A course that leads beyond the ensuing chaos and into the new order which it is our absolute prerogative to set in motion.”
“Changing Course for Life – Local Solutions to Global Problems” by Julian Rose. New European Publishing Company. Paperback. Price 10 pounds. See julianrose.info