The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
Subscribe
| more

Photo Gallery

Sonoma County March Against Monsanto

thumb_2_March-against-monsanto-600.jpg

Sonoma County March Against Monsanto

We're marching with 400+ cities in 40+ countries against Monsanto!  Join us on May 21 from 2-5pm in Sebastopol at Downtown Plaza, McKinley Street and Petaluma Avenue for the march, rally, food, music, and plant sale organized by Occupy Sonoma County.  Volunteer, donate, info at Occupysonomacounty.org, 707-877-6650.

Monsanto was the producer of "safe" polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), banned in 1979; DDT, banned in 1972; Agent Orange, banned in 1971; and the first plastic soft drink bottle, banned in 1977.  Internal Monsanto papers indicated that Monsanto knew about the dangerous health effects of PCBs and Agent Orange but failed to tell regulators, leading to thousands of needless deaths/birth defects.

Monsanto paid hundreds of millions of dollars for health-related lawsuits and Superfund cleanup sites. To escape future lawsuits, Monsanto either sold or spun off several product lines. Then Monsanto relaunched itself as an agricultural biotechnology company and introduced its first biotech genetically modified organism (GMO) crops in the U.S. in 1996.  GMOs refer to an organism which has the DNA from a different species, such as bacteria, virus, insect, animal, or plant, injected into it, to create a novel organism  not occurring in nature.  

The majority of GMOs are modified to tolerate the spraying of herbicides which kill surrounding weeds or which produce a pesticide in every cell of the plant and kills pests biting into them. GMO crops are corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sugar beets, canola, zucchini, yellow squash, papaya, apples, potatoes, golden rice.  The main foods for livestock are corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.  Monsanto provides roughly 90% of the GMO seeds worldwide.

The dangers of GMO crops are:

1.  Safety Concerns

Monsanto claims its GMO products are safe.  But no independent studies were done before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved them. They relied solely on Monsanto's studies.  The FDA's anti consumer right-to-know policy said GMOs did not have to be safety tested. 

Glyphosate, a major ingredient in Roundup, has been declared a "probable human carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization.  California has listed glyphosate as a carcinogen.  In 2009 the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that "several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with gm food" and asked physicians to advise patients to avoid them. 

Cultivation of GMO crops are banned in 38 countries in Africa, Asia, Central/South America, Europe, 5 counties in California and 2 in Oregon.  A similar initiative, if approved by the Registrar of Voters, will be on the ballot in November in Sonoma County.

France has banned Roundup.  Currently there are hundreds of lawsuits pending against Monsanto in the U.S. alone. 

2.  Revolving door

Employees working for the FDA, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Monsanto go back and forth.  Michael Taylor, who is currently Deputy Commissioner for Food and Veterinary Medicine, previously represented Monsanto as its attorney, as did Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas..  

3.  No GMO labeling laws

More than 80% of processed foods in the U.S. contain GMO ingredients, and 90% of the U.S. public wants mandatory on-the-package labeling.  Although 64  countries, including the European Union, China, Russia, and Saudia Arabia have mandatory labeling laws, the U.S. does not.  A bill HR1599, pre empting states from requiring mandatory labeling passed the House but was rejected in the Senate.  If the Senate does not pass an amended version/amendment, Vermont's mandatory labeling law goes into effect on July 1.  Similar legislation is pending in 17 states.

Some food companies will label their products:  Campbells, General Mills, Mars, Kelloggs, and ConAgra.  Del Monte will be GMO free. Public pressure was a contributing factor.  Some will produce organic  products.

4.  Cross pollination

Unwanted GMO seeds can be windblown onto farmers' non GMO fields.  If 1% of a non-GMO farmer's crop is contaminated, Monsanto can sue them for compensation claiming infringement on their patented seed rights.  This can drive farmers into bankruptcy.  Their future crops cannot be certified as organic for 3 years.

5.  Danger to bees and biodiversity

The EPA reports that "pesticide poisoning" is a likely cause of bee colony collapse as pesticides and herbicides like Roundup and neonicotinoids weaken the bees' immune system.   Roundup threatens the biodiversity of the planet. 

 


 

Are you sick of having toxins in your food?

Are you concerned about all the poisons being used by agriculture?

JOIN OVER 400 CITIES IN 40 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE IN A GLOBAL MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO

Sat, May 21 starting at 2 PM

Sebastopol Downtown Plaza

McKinley Street & Petaluma Avenue  map

March led by Hubbub Club

Rally from 3-5 PM with speakers, music, and entertainment

Music by Kym Trippsmith and Kate Willens 

Political Comedy by Swami Beyondananda

Food by Lydia's Kind Foods 

Pay-What-You-Can Plant Sale

Free Seed Exchange (bring your extra seeds to share) 

Let Monsanto know how you feel about the cancer-causing poisons that they are putting on our food. Together we can stop this toxic food industry!

COME TO OUR SIGN-MAKING PARTY!

Monday, May 16, 7-9 PM

Peace & Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa 95401 

Materials provided or bring your own 

For more info: OccupySonomaCounty.org or 707-877-6650

Join our event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1687679744786457/ 

Endorsements for the March:

  1. Advocates for Social Justice of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa
  2. Bohemian Grove Action Network
  3. Circles of Light Ministries
  4. Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) North Coast Chapter
  5. Community Market
  6. GMO Free Sonoma County
  7. Green Party of Sonoma County
  8. Harmony Connections
  9. Lydia's Kind Foods
  10. Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored
  11. Moms Across America
  12. North Bay Jobs with Justice
  13. North Coast Coalition for Palestine
  14. Occupy Petaluma 
  15. Our Green Challenge
  16. Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County
  17. Petaluma Progressives
  18. Praire Fire Times Radio
  19. Sonoma County Gazette
  20. The Metta Center for Nonviolence
  21. Trash the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  22. WaccoBB.net
  23. Wine and Water Watch: A Four-County Network 

http://OccupySonomaCounty.org/es (en español)

http://www.facebook.com/OccupySonomaCounty

https://twitter.com/OcSoCo

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmJoCP-ePUTPWNgHZwtBelg

Occupy Sonoma County embraces the egalitarian, deep democracy principles of the Occupy Movement with a regional strategy for effectively organizing county-wide social justice campaigns that are globally relevant.