I just heard this today...called "'The Monsanto Song"
So, here we are...the subject of Terminator Seeds. I'm just now becoming educated about it somewhat.
So where have I been? Why have I had no idea about this issue?
Probably because for most of my life, I've not been gardening to raise my own food.
If it had not been for doing further Monsanto research, I'd never have known about this...the Terminator seeds, or V-GURTs. Supposedly, V-GURTs are a "protection" for the patent-holders of genetically-modified seeds...you know, so all those greedy small farmers won't save their seeds...or "benefit" from inadvertent cross-pollination?? (Said with sarcasm)
What I just learned is that a Terminator seed is an engineered seed that has a "suicide" mechanism built in that makes it impotent beyond a single crop. It destroys itself after one crop.
Why is that a big deal?
Well, it may not seem like much to those who grow only hybrids. Hybrids never breed true a second time around anyway. But it's a death sentence to non-hybrid, or "true" seeds. It's these non-hybrid seeds that are the foundation of all the seeds we have on earth, because they produce seed after each crop that will produce repetitive crops ...as has been done throughout the history of human agriculture. Well, until our mad science began "improving" things.
What's so wrong with a Terminator seed anyway?
First, it's engineered...not as a hybrid...crossing one variety with another, say a white geranium with a red geranium, to produce a specific trait. No, this means altering the actual gene of a plant and putting non-species genetic material...from some other species...into its code to create not a hybrid but a trans-genic.
Of, relating to, or being an organism whose genome has been altered by the transfer of a gene or genes from another species or breed: transgenic mice; transgenic plants.
It's monumental that the Terminator seeds are seeds of global foodstuffs...corn, rice, wheat, grains. We're not talking about geraniums here. These seeds have been genetically altered to include non-species genetic materials...transgenically...in order to select for a trait of self-impotence. What's monumental is that this is not the natural process of any plant in nature. It's not a part of the natural workings of any plant. It's the seed vasectomy of the 21st century.
Secondly, you cannot save the seeds...they are all infertile and cannot be used to grow a further crop...at ALL.
Why is that a big deal?
After all, that's the case with hybrids anyway, right?
Transgenics are made with big investor money, money made to benefit from patenting the transgenics. Because in patenting a living thing at all, whether with altered genetics or not, you control its accessibility.
But hybrids, while sometimes "belonging" to the hybridizer (is that a word?) in a proprietary way, did not ALTER the genome of the species. Anyone could come along and cross this sort of geranium with that sort of geranium and get a hybrid GERANIUM...because they were crossing
geranium with geranium. Transgenic is a...thing...altered.
If you put genetic code from a lobster into the DNA of a geranium, in a sense you've mated two unrelated species. It would be like breeding a human with any animal, or an orangutan with a starfish...except this is real and not just some Frankenstein story. What you GET when you cross a transgenic with a true species is anyone's guess. What the natural predators are (you know...the things that keep something balanced in population naturally) for transgenics are anyone's guess. What the effects of EATING something transgenic, or perpetuating its existence, or ALLOWING IT TO REPRODUCE...IS ANYONE'S GUESS.
There are NOT enough statistics, and NEVER WILL BE, to track the PERMANENT implications of altering our world in this way. Or to justify that natural boundary's ever having been transgressed in the first place.If free to use Terminator seeds, Monsanto would have no more worries about farmers "stealing" their patented seeds. There's no risk of their being stolen because they simply self-destruct, and cannot be used as a source for further seeds.
It goes against what all agriculture in history has striven to produce...fertility, reproduction. It goes against the cycle of eating what we need and saving the excess seed for the next year's harvest.
What are the world wide implications? The implications are DEPENDENCE.
Whoever plants with Terminator seeds, seeds whose fertility beyond the initial planting have been terminated, are DEPENDENT upon an outside supplier for yearly new supplies of seeds...a supplier such as MONSANTO...for there is no seed that can be collected from that crop with which to plant next the next season's crop.
Furthermore, the Terminator seeds were developed and then protected by a patent, in this case a patent held by a corporation ...Monsanto or one of its subsidiaries. That means that the farmers who use these Terminator seeds MUST pay to USE the seeds, beyond the price of the seeds. That means that Monsanto controls who can have the seeds, who can plant, who can eat the harvest.
From http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ENG20060827&articleId=3082 dated 2006
The United States Government has been financing research on a genetic engineering technology which, when commercialized, will give its owners the power to control the food seed of entire nations or regions. The Government has been working quietly on this technology since 1983. Now, the little-known company that has been working in this genetic research with the Government’s US Department of Agriculture-- Delta & Pine Land-- is about to become part of the world’s largest supplier of patented genetically-modified seeds (GMO), Monsanto Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri.
Here's the kicker. It's not just Monsanto who is ultimately the engineer of this sort of thing so much as the U.S. government. The U.S. government has been working for decades to HELP DEVELOP TERMINATOR SEEDS.
Or in clearer terms,
THE ONE WHO CONTROLS THE FOOD SUPPLIES HAS THE ADVANTAGE.
Food has historically been used as a screw to turn by governments as a "tool of co-operation." The facts are that every government's business is "national interests," and this equates to money or a commodity that has worth. What has greater worth than fertility...the ability for a population to continue to live and reproduce? To eat?
That is why I find all talk of over-population suspect, but that's another issue.
Don't think it's just the US that has this capability and has done this research. Rest assured that if food can wield this much power, it is an international race.
When I read that the U.S. government is the CO-ENGINEER of Terminator seeds, a lot of things began to make sense as to why corporations such as Monsanto have had such a carte-blanche power party since the 1970s. The U.S. government FUNDED the research and development of Terminator seeds in PARTNERSHIP with these corporations, through its US DEPT of AGRICULTURE.
The above article written in 2006, is something I just ran across as I try to wrap my head around this issue...well, this FAMILY of issues. It was instrumental in opening my eyes...it's worth a full read. There are more articles than can even be read. It's been an issue now for some time, and has met with sizeable protests on different fronts.
I see this as a bigger threat than nuclear annihilation. I see Terminator type genetic alterations of the main foods of the world to be bigger because of the risk we run that they will inadvertently threaten the existence of UNALTERED i.e. "true" seeds the world over...from something as simple as cross-pollination. To alter the genome FOR the trait of infertility by inserting non-species genetic materials has UNKNOWN RESULTS, but PREDICTABLE DANGERS. The danger is the infection of the entire world's major food crops...once that pollen gets accidentally shared, such as in cross pollination, with unaltered crops, it's like sex...something's gonna happen. You've just shared an altered crop with an unaltered, and the result will be a SHARED GENETICS...the genetically-altered crop will produce a cross-bred with ALTERED GENETICS.
Not to get all shouty or anything, but...THIS IS BIGGER THAN A NUCLEAR THREAT.
You sterilize the world's food seeds, you have a Doomsday scenario.
To me, at least.
Please explain it to me if I'm wrong. Yes, I know some scientist has tried to offset the dangers of transgenic seeds by further altering the gene codes to include an "exploder" that would return a sterile seed to a fertile one. Uh, yeah. Like you know when you plant it if your seed is altered...unless of course, you're further BUYING some more of that patented stuff??
Please show me where there are protections built in that can't be exploited by force.
Yet this is all touted as being a necessary control...a PROTECTION. Beware of corporations bearing patents for our "protection"...
I have to ask this question:
If the Terminator seeds cross-pollinate other crops...(because as we know "bees will be bees" and the pollination range is miles and miles for adjacent or nearby crops)...then what's stopping us from "accidentally" polluting our entire food supply of crop seeds with Monsanto's frankenstein genetically-altered suicide Terminator seeds, thereby wiping out the world food supply ENTIRELY???
Or not accidentally.
This very thing has provoked actions worldwide, things such as the burning of GMO crops in India and elsewhere across the Globe. "Protection" looks very different depending upon which side of the fence a person lives.
Yes, I can see how any government can use this as a "tool" in underdeveloped nations to manipulate "national interests," and I'm ... aghast.
Isn't this bio-terrorism masquerading as "progress"??
Monsanto's not off the hook in my mind just because the U.S. government is in bed with them. Monsanto has been buying up water supplies...did you know that?? With the patents to the GMO seeds, they have control of food supplies.
Owning the "right" to the major foods of the world, and buying up water sources...
What the flipping heck??
Now that the law now exists opening Pandora's box on the patenting of living creatures, what is to stop this?
What are we going to do to defend our world food supply from becoming a government-controlled weapon, or worse yet, in becoming nearly extinct unless birthed in a petri dish??
I'm very suspicious about the current world food shortage being the result of anything but OPEC and some behind-the-door government manipulation. And I'm getting pretty sick of the farmers being the ones blamed. Please read Phelan's recent post here. I so agree.
I have a hard time wrapping my brain around politics and getting a grasp of history in the making. I'm ok in other areas, but in those and algebra, I struggle for perspective and understanding.
It's never pretty when you find out innocence was really naivete. It's my own fault for not having followed these things in the news better during these past decades. A journey is made in inches, and this has been going on a long, long time. I'm only now beginning to understand that the destination might be disaster for many.
I'm late to the answer for the question "what can we do?"
I'd like to know where to begin...