GMO Myths & Truths

by Michael Antoniou, Claire Robinson and John Fagan

There is a movement growing.

The National Farmer Union represents independent food producers who do not want multi-national chemical agribusinesses bullying them into buying genetically patented seeds, pesticides and herbicide. NFU’s recent Ottawa conference focused on “Growing the Resistance” to the corporate takeover of Canada’s small and medium size family-run farms by the soulless corporations that only care about making money and gaining power. Their corporate marketing disguises their agenda with claims of saving the starving children of the world. The NFU works for development of economic and social policies that will maintain the family farm as the primary food-producing unit in Canada. NFU protects farmers like Percy Schmeiser of Bruno, Saskatchewan who got sued by Monsanto in 2000.

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GMO Bites

GM apple update

The US government has taken one more step towards approving the GM “non-browning” apple. On November 8, the U.S. Department of Agriculture invited the US public to comment on a draft environmental assessment of the GM apple. CBAN and the Society for a GE Free BC issued a press release that pointed out the GM apple is also being reviewed by the Canadian government, but the process in Canada will not involve any similar public consultations and the Canadian government will not release any environmental assessments or other documents before it makes its final decision. Friends of the Earth U.S. (www.foe.org) also released statements from McDonalds and Gerber saying the companies do not have plans to use the GM apple.

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Canada – purveyor of Frankensalmon

WILD SALMON WARRIOR NEWS

Adam S. Sealey

• With genetically engineered Atlantic salmon expected to be approved for sale in the US any day now, and possibly soon here in Canada, Environment Canada has now approved the commercial production of genetically modified (GM) Atlantic salmon eggs by AquaBounty in their PEI facility. This is an alarming decision making Canada the source of global environmental risk, says the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and the PEI group Islanders Say No to Frankenfish.

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GMO focus must now shift to outright ban, not just labeling

by Paul H. LeMay

• With the “defeat” of citizens’ initiative 522 in Washington state in the first week of November, it’s important to keep in mind that Washington’s final mail-in ballot tally rang in at 48.92% in favour of GMO labelling on food products and 51.08% opposed. That result came about largely because big biotech companies and big junk food companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi as well as Nestlé and General Mills collectively contributed $22 million to the “No” side’s shock-and-awe advertising blitz. That campaign was specifically designed to sow genetically modified seeds of doubt in the minds of voters. Doubts about the negative impacts that would come if people came to know what they were eating and drinking.

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A shot of Tao

Something Nothing

The unheralded virtues of absence

by Geoff Olson

It was a warm summer night on Salt Spring Island. The wine flowed freely as wasps flew reconnaissance missions over dessert dishes. Our host held up her glass and offered us a shot of Tao – a concept, not a drink. “The hollowness of the vessel is as important as the glass itself,” she said, explaining how Taoists appreciated the value of things absent.

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Get uke-in’

The ukulele’s back

MUSIC RISING by Bruce Mason

• I first encountered it as a tricky word in a childhood spelling bee and was recently embarrassed when told I wasn’t saying it properly. It’s “u-k-u-l-e-l-e,” pronounced “oo-koo-le-lee,” but just plain “uke” may be music to your ears. No matter how you say it or spell it, this happy, humble, under-appreciated, much-maligned runt of the guitar family litter is the come-back kid of musical instruments. A tiny little orchestra with a big following, the ukulele is ubiquitous once again, taking star turns as a global fad, or phase. Most likely, though, it’s a full-fledged phenomena with legs and staying power. On one hand, a flight from high-tech; on the other, a virtual love child of YouTube.

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GMOs offer no benefits

No to GMO

UPDATES by Bruce Mason

• “There is no scientific consensus on the safety of genetically modified foods and crops,” the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility has declared uncategorically. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, head of the International Resource Panel (UNEP) and Club of Rome, adds, “The future of food and agriculture is one of the great challenges of humankind of the 21st century. The claim of scientific consensus on GMO safety is misleading and misrepresents diverse and inconclusive scientific evidence. The full range of scientific research needs to be taken into account, in open, transparent and honest debates which involve the broader society, when decisions of global concern are being made.”

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Getting dirty may be healthy

SCIENCE MATTERS by David Suzuki

• For much of human history, we lived close to the natural world. As civilization evolved, we became increasingly urbanized and most of us now live in cities. As we’ve moved away from nature, we’ve seen a decline in other forms of life. Biodiversity is disappearing. The current rate of loss is perhaps as high as 10,000 times the natural rate… It can be a challenge to communicate why this loss is important. We know species diversity is critical to the healthy functioning of ecosystems that provide services on which humans depend. But could we live with fewer?

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