ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

30 July 2002


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- If you had bought $1,000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would be now worth $49.
- With Enron, you would have $16.50  of the original $1.000.
- With Worldcom, you would have less than $5 left.
- If you had bought $1,000 worth of Stella (the beer, not the stock) one  year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the bottles for 5c deposit, you would have $107.

Based on the above, current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.


Return To Sender - GM PROTEST REACHES WHITEHALL. Jim Wickens reports from the scene

On Wednesday over 200 people delivered wheel-barrow loads of GM crops back to their source, the footsteps of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)'s offices.

The ‘Biohazard’ bagged crops had been pulled up from over 17 GM test sites, from Devon to Pembrokeshire and the Scottish Highlands. The colourful and eclectic fancy dress worn by many in this parade defied the sobering message that they had gathered to deliver - That GM growing threatens both rural livelihoods and the environment.

Donnie Mcleod, is an organic farmer near Munlochy in the Scottish highlands. Just five miles from where he lives and works is a GM trial site. Earlier this year he was sent to prison because he refused to cooperate with a Scottish Sheriff in the trial of activists accused of pulling up crops from the site. 'GM crops are the single biggest threat to the organic farmer, and to all the families across Scotland that I sell my produce to,' he told The Ecologist. With 80% of organic food in this country presently imported, he sees in this deficit a real marketplace for Britain's ailing and isolated farming community. 'The bottom line is that people don1t want it,' he added. 'Why won’t the government listen to that ?'

The people carrying bundles of crops today do not look like the seasoned  eco-protestors that one might expect to find. Rather they are scientists, schoolteachers, foresters, farmers and parents. All of them know the dubious science that GM clings to, and this worries them.

One man I speak to is a retired head-teacher from a special needs school in Hertfordshire, which caters for the needs of children whose learning difficulties stem from hard to trace environmental causes. He is here because wants to protect young people from the health problems that GM crops and the accompanying toxic chemicals pose. A specialist in this field, he has been to five public hearings and talked for 14 hours to government panels. Yet it is precisely these consultative panels that the government is covertly trying to scrap.

Rowan Tilley, from Genetic Food Alert, is quite clear about the reasons behind Wednesday’s march. 'This is the loudest statement that we can possibly make. This is the bottom line. To alter the course of evolution is the most profound attack on the environment ever to be made in the history of the planet.'

Mcleod is even clearer with his message to DEFRA: 'Sod off. We don’t want it in Scotland. Democracy is about giving people what they want.'

For more go to the website of the Genetic Engineering Network



Energy healing is readily dismissed as new-age mumbo jumbo. But an experiment with lettuce seeds has added weight to the arguments in its favour...


GM NEW-ZEALANDS  Evidence and facts on contaminated corn

Greenpeace New Zealand has launched a campaign, 'Clarkie's Corn cover up', targeting Labour leader Helen Clark over 'Corn-gate'.

'We have no doubt that corn contaminated by a genetically engineered (GE) variety was planted, harvested, sold and eaten in New Zealand in 2001,' said Greenpeace. 'The Government knew about the contamination at the time, covered up the incident, and continues the cover up now'. Greenpeace has analysed the allegations in the book, the papers released by the Government, and the media statements made since the book, Nicky Hager's book on 'Corn-gate', was released.

Their conclusions are that:

- corn contaminated by a genetically engineered (GE) variety, was planted, harvested, sold and eaten in New Zealand in 2001

- The Government knew about the contamination at the time, covered up the incident by creating a threshold to allow contamination, confusing the science and using a public relations spin to avoid scrutiny.

- The Government is continuing the cover up now. And not all the tests that recorded positive for GE contamination are available for public scrutiny.

- Clarkie's Corn Cover Up, Facts and Evidence of contamination.

- Fewer GM animals in NZ testing,1227,115943-1-7,00.html

- Norfolk Genetic Information Network (ngin)


BAYER... Corporate  Lobbying

BAYER, the major producer of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and plastics, based in Germany has a long history of giving profits precedence over human rights and a sound environment.

This company is best known for aspirin and for the antibiotic Cipro, but it has also provided many useless and dangerous medicines. BAYER is linked with PPL Therapeutics, the leading company in cloning. BAYER engaged PPL to breed the sheep 'Tracy'. And BAYER participated in founding EuropaBio, Europe´s most important lobby group for biotechnology.

BAYER formed business associations in order to increase its influence on  politics and the media and today it is a member of hundreds of lobby groups tackling 'trade barriers' like environmental or health & safety laws.

BAYER also helped set up the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, where European and US multinationals work together to influence policy in the direction of greater liberalisation and deregulation. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, another corporate coterie of which BAYER is part, helped hijack the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, and continues to promote the idea that issues like climate change are safest left in the hands of  multinational corporations.

Other lobby groups that BAYER takes an active role in are the International Chamber of Commerce, the Global Crop Protection Federation and the German Verband der Chemischen Industrie. BAYER supported President Bush's electoral campaign with $120,000. In the last five years BAYER has handed out more than $600,000 to US politicians.

Coalition against BAYER-dangers
The Bayer Company         

Read the original Corpwatch article 'How and Why a Major Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company "Bluewashes" its Image' -



- A numbers of critical connections also exist in the realm of food and agriculture.
- An estimated 10-20 percent of the world1s 1.5 billion hectares of cropland are degraded to some degree, the result of excessive tillage and fertiliser use, inappropriate land use, removal of vegetation, and overgrazing.
- In the developing world, the pace of decline has accelerated during the past 50 years to the point where a quarter of the farmland suffers from degradation.
- Worldwide, farmland degradation has reduced cumulative food production by an estimated 13 percent over the last half-century.
- Although only 3 percent of the US land surface is urbanised, the most productive soils are often developed first as cities expand. In fact, more than 1 million hectares of arable land in the United States are paved over each year. In China, the figure is 200,000 hectares.
- By 2015, with rising water shortages and populations, a projected 40 percent of humanity will live in water-stressed countries, putting increasing pressure on global grain supplies. - Pesticide use (two third of it in agriculture0 has grown 15-fold since  1950 but imposes a terrible toll, poisoning 3 million people severely and killing 220,000 each year.
- Food-borne diseases strike 30 percent of the population in industrial countries each year, but people living in developing countries bear a more frightful burden due to a wide range of hazards and inadequate prevention and treatment.

All statistics taken from State of the World 2002 (Worldwatch) and Vital Signs 2002 (Earthscan).


One small step: DRINK ORGANIC

The alcoholic drinks industry is just as guilty of over-using pesticides as the food industry. The hops used in making beer, for example, are sprayed 12-14 times a year with an average of 15 different pesticides products. The åscorched earth1 appearance of hop fields is intended to minimise weed growth, but it also minimises the diversity of wildlife species living in them.

A great reason to drink organic is that, as it contains fewer additives, it might not give you such a bad hangover!

(taken from 'Go MAD, 365 Daily Ways To Save The Planet') To order a copy for £3.99 call +44 (0) 1626 832225)



RIO+10 SPECIAL ISSUE...The Johannesburg UN summit. Corporate Greenwashing or genuine attempt to address the world's social, environmental and ethical crises? The Ecologist looks at the state of the Earth's today; the promises made since Stockholm and Rio, and how they are fairing; The Jo'burg agenda; The alternatives to globalisation and world trade....  Plus... The top 50 ecological books of all time (and the chance to win them); Local food: what does this mean? How would it effect us? Is it achievable?  And much much more....


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