Why do certain people and ideas suddenly capture the limelight while others go unnoticed? Others seem never to go away... The recent ascent of environmental writer Mark Lynas to prominence in the debate on genetically modified crops (GMOs) is a lesson in the power of myths.
But the problem is not Mark Lynas.
Though he has been celebrated as a maverick environmentalist, in fact, his views on GMOs and mainstream science are compatible with the "Big Three" mainstream conservation giants: the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy. Just like the monopolies that control the seed and chemical industry and the governmental agencies that provide them with the revolving doors they use to ensure industry-friendly policies, these global conservationists carefully select the science that advances their political and economic interests and ignore the science that calls their position--and their power--into question. All of them espouse corporate ideologies that dress up their assumptions as facts. Mr. Lynas' high profile conversion sheds no new evidence on the issues. It does, however, reinforce the myth-making power of the global technocracy.
The Big Three, for example, cling dogmatically to a theory called "Island Biogeography" that relates species richness (biodiversity) to "islands" of suitable habitat. Based in part on Darwin's observations in the Galapagos and tested with powerful biocides on islands in the Caribbean, the theory posits that species-rich islands exist in a species-inert sea that biologists call a "matrix." Over time, the islands in the matrix that are larger and closest to the mainland will have greater species richness than those are smaller and farther away. In modern-day, big conservationism, this theory is applied to forest fragments ("islands") in the "matrix" of agricultural landscapes that are assumed to be as biologically inert as the surface of the ocean. This drives the Big Three to acquire large nature reserves (often linking them with corridors) in order to preserve biodiversity. It also drives them to strike Faustian bargains with industrial agriculture: Big agriculture will support the Big Three's strategy to buy up land for nature reserves. In return, the Big Three will endorse Big Agriculture's new GMO technologies.
The monopolies in the fuel, chemical and agri-foods industries must dominate global markets and continually expand their land-based operations in order to ensure a 3% compound return rate to their shareholders. If they don't, their stock will fall. Staying in the game requires monopoly control of the world's seeds, inputs, grain and processing. For this purpose, applications drawn from the sciences of molecular biology and genetics are used to engineer GMOs. Contrary to industrial myth, genetic engineering is not science; it is engineering, based on particular branches of science. While the science of molecular biology can be quite complex and rigorous, the genetic engineering of seeds is actually somewhat blundering and imprecise... one reason it is so expensive. Genetics is also quite complex. Its application to crop breeding has produced high-yielding hybrids that require massive applications of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. The marriage of hybrids and GMOs results in a product that perfectly meets the needs of industry: a high-yielding seed that not only requires the chemical inputs these companies produce, it allows for the proprietary ownerships of the seed's genes, thus ensuring monopoly control over continental landscapes like the U.S. Midwest and the Brazilian Cerrado.
The myths linking Mark Lynas' environmentalism to GMOs have their origins in monopoly control, outdated conservation theory and hack engineering.
Etiquetas: en, Food First, Lynas