Friday, May 11, 2007

Saint Paul believed that people reap what they sow; "be not deceived", he warned, "for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; he who sows to the spirit shall reap life, but he who sows to the flesh shall reap corruption."
A more recent warning about reaping corruption comes from a leading German zoologist, Hans-Heinrich Kaatz of the University of Jena. Kaatz talked to the Observer (UK) in May of 2000 and foretold the disaster that is now occuring with bees. He asserted: "I have found the herbicide-resistant genes in the rapeseed transferred across to the bacteria and yeast inside the intestines of young bees." [full report posted on]
At that time, the UK Agriculture Minister Nick Brown advised farmers to destroy all crops contaminated with GM. Two years later, the government was less active, as a report in the Sunday Times was to show. In that piece (15/9/02), it was revealed that GM crops tainted honey from 2 miles afield. UK government response then was to say they did not believe it was a source of concern. Five years on we have different faces in that office, and they are not much concerned either.
They might be, if they listened. A yet more recent report just might get their ear, that of organic beekeeper Sharon Labchuk, who states that among the 1,000 or so organic beekeepers who write in to her newsletter, none has had a case of CCD in their hives. Michael Bush, to whom she refers her readers, notes that the media does not tell us the real causes of this problem, and asks if media coverage will affect government response. Unfortunately, it may, the bullies in the media set the tone and the politicians dance to it.
At times, some do stand up to the bullies, and this month it was Senator Chuck Grassely, a Republican from Iowa who demanded that Big Oil explain why they are not producing ethanol. In his opinion, and in that of many others' as well, Big Oil is stalling on the issue to sell us more petrol. Ethanol could be produced from farm wastes, so obviously, Big Oil has little interest in it. However, the left is just as guilty here, as they went and supported the palm oil fraud that has destroyed so many habitats in poor countries the mainstream press can ignore. The likes of George Monbiot might want to take some responsibility for their nonsense along with Big Oil.
It is becoming more and more apparent that individuals have to act on issues rather than wait for governments, right, wrong or left, to do so. This week a farmer in California took on the pesticide companies by suing them for pesticide residues which blew on to his farm, destroying his dill to the tune of $500,000. Larry Jacobs of Jacobs Farms is suing Westerm Farm Services. While the whole case may take as long as the OJ case, there is at least an injunction issued by the Santa Cruz County Superior Court to stop spraying.
Some might call this litigation unusual, but there is precedent for it in that very state, where northern orchard growers sued to limit spraying and the state granted stricter ordinances against the use of herbicides. Indeed there is solid legal basis for both cases, as Jacobs' barrister, Austin Comstock, points out: "There's a traditional concept in Anglo-Saxon law that you use your property in a way not to damage mine...if you damage mine, there's some redress there."
Sounds almost Biblical there, Mr. Comstock.

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