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Issue#30 - Dedication Theme:
Freedom of Information in the Genetically Modified Age
Lack of transparency might be the worst problem of genetically modified foods

March Against Monsanto

Ask not what your ecology can do for you, but what you can do for your ecology.”

Julie Mardin, March against monsanto

May 24, 2014, New York

As documented by Julie MARDIN

“There’s a movement forming on the corner of Empathy and Anger.”

[Lightmillennium.Org] On May 24, 2014 thousands gathered in New York’s Union Square, as did hundreds of thousands of activists around the world in 400 other cities in over 50 countries, to protest Monsanto’s and the GMO industry’s stranglehold on our food and agricultural system. Speakers from a variety of organizations to do with Food and Trade Justice issues spoke at the podium. One message that came across time and again was that of the importance of community, of going against the grain of our brusque culture and having conversations with people you aren’t normally in the habit of connecting with. This might be the only way to spread information and achieve any kind of transformation.

Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto, 2 Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto

Novel ideas on how to make a difference ranged from
- Label things yourself!
- Create a petition at, from national to local calls, such as the current petition to stop the use of Roundup in New York City parks .
- Attack their brand, turn ‘Monsanto’ into a dirty verb, ie. “I got a stomach virus and Monsantoed all night.”

Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto
Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto
Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto
Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto

People dressed as bumble bees, human sized Flavr Savr Tomatoes, or hoisting beautifully crafted monarch butterflies, added a touch of playfulness to the day, but the issues being discussed were deadly serious. People from different paths around the world came together.

A Zapatista member spoke of the corn, the proud heritage of the Mexicans, being half GMO now. After NAFTA trade barriers had to be removed, and price guarantees for corn farmers were eliminated. The country was flooded with cheap US subsidized GMO corn that the local farmers could not compete against. Farm workers lost their livelihoods, came to the cities, and came to the United States, where they became cheap labor and took good jobs from American citizens. The seeds from this foreign corn must have mingled with the local varieties. Now this ancient land of biodiversity and genetic wealth has been compromised and is in danger of being wiped out, a loss to the entire planet.

Activists from Puerto Rico called for Monsanto to get off their island, where they say they have installed the biggest research lab. Puerto Rico has been the site for military experiments for years, including tests for Agent Orange. The island of Vieques has been plagued with the radioactive pollution from depleted uranium. Now Puerto Rico is host to more GM food experiments per square mile than any U.S. state, except Hawaii.

Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto

Hawaiian representatives were also in the crowd, displaying signs to keep GMOs out of their land, and telling of an ancient Polynesian canoe Hokulea that has set out on a world voyage called Malama Honua. Literally translated it means to care and live in harmony with the earth, but Honua’s many meanings go deeper than earth. The vessel is due to arrive in New York in the summer of 2015.

Hawaii is said to be the Ground Zero of open field testing for GMO crops. The national school trust has leased large tracts of land to various transnational chemical corporations, who have been conducting open field trials for more than twenty years on the islands of Kauai, Molakaii, O’ahu, and Maui, without any public disclosure as to what materials are in use, nor any testing done to ensure conservation of the air, land and water. The farm workers are observed to be wearing hazmat suits as they spray chemicals on practically a daily basis, while those in the community have no idea what toxins are being released.

“Nothing matters unless you have a functioning ecosystem.”

Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto

That these crimes are being committed in the most legendary of pristine places only drives home the fact of that there is nothing sacred for these chemical peddlers. After the outrage comes a realization, there is a method to the pirating of the world. To descend onto the most fertile, the most biologically rich and diverse ecosystems, and proceed to make a mess of them, is only good business sense. Aside from securing the best land for their own field trials, these biotech companies are also sabotaging, and preventing a gentler approach from coming to the fore. Empathy and anger are beginning to converge.

Children of Vietnam Vets Alliance were also amongst the speakers, drawing attention to Monsanto’s history as the developer of Agent Orange, the defoliant that was sprayed over large areas of Vietnam, and is plaguing the country with birth defects to this day, just as it is the offspring of exposed American soldiers. The group speaks out about congenital illnesses they relate directly to their parents’ exposure to this toxin. The chemical 2,4-D was one of the ingredients of Agent Orange, and is now being touted as one of the keys to the next round of genetic tinkering, as glyphosate and Roundup Ready have stopped being effective due to overuse.

“Ask not what your ecology can do for you, but what you can do for your ecology.”

As one of the speakers insisted, ‘No sign will change things, it’s radical new community building that is essential.’

Julie Mardin, March, Monsanto, 12

- Updated on June 13, 2014.

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