Sign up for email alerts, from breaking news to weekly commentary:
Monsanto v. Mother Nature: Guess who's winning?
If you fool with Mother Nature, she'll most likely fool with you – usually in very unpleasant ways.
Monsanto, the biotech profiteer, keeps rediscovering this reality, but never seems to learn from it. For more than a decade, it has aggressively pushed its genetically altered corn and soybean seeds on American farmers. Called "Roundup Ready," the seeds have had their genes altered specifically so the resulting corn plants and soybeans can tolerate heavier doses of an herbicide called "Roundup." Who makes this weed killer? Monsanto – so its Frankenseeds are really nothing but a marketing scheme to sell and spread more pesticide.
But Roundup kills those pesky weeds, so farmers gain, right?
Wrong. Monsanto's bio-tampering fooled Mother Nature briefly, but Mom has fought back. Several weeds have mutated to become immune to Roundup. For farmers, coping with these new superweeds has already become a billion-dollar-a-year nightmare, and they're spreading like… well, like superweeds.
As reported by Tom Philpott of MotherJones.com, a 31-state survey of farmers found that half of them now have Roundup-immune weeds in their fields. Some states are especially hard hit – infested acreage doubled in Iowa, Indiana, and Nebraska last year, and 92 percent of Georgia farmers say they now have the weeds. But Monsanto, having learned nothing, is peddling yet another bio-scheme to fool Mother Nature. Called "next generation," these are re-altered seeds that let farmers dump super-toxic pesticides on the superweeds.
Great – let's spread more-poisonous and more-costly poisons on our food, then Mother Nature will evolve and proliferate even more-super superweeds. As organic and sustainable farmers are showing, it's far better to cooperate with Mother Nature than foolishly trying to sledgehammer her.
"Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds," www.motherjones.com, February 6, 2013.