GM Foods - Labour comes a cropper

FRFI 151 Octover / November 1999

As a result of a Friends of the Earth (FoE) legal challenge, recently planted, genetically-modified (GM) crop trials in Lincolnshire and Hertfordshire have been exposed as illegal. Michael Meacher, Environment Minister, acknowledged the illegality as 'only a technicality' with 'no health, safety or environmental issues involved'. This is consistent with the government's gung-ho attitude to GM foods and the profits its agri-business bedfellows will reap if they are given the go-ahead for full-scale production. Meanwhile, however, across the globe the resistance to GM foods is mushrooming as consumers and growers are leading the way.


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W$$D does nothing for the oppressed

FRFI 169 October / November 2002

Ten years after the Rio Earth Summit, Johannesburg, South Africa played host to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in August. Delegates from 190 countries gathered in the formerly whites-only suburb of Sandton for what was claimed to be a major event aimed at reducing poverty and environmental destruction.

Ten years on from Rio things are deteriorating. The forests and coral reefs are disappearing while poverty increases. Climate change has already gone from being a possibility to a disastrous reality. Perversely, climate change means that both floods and droughts increase, as will storms and hurricanes. Even while the WSSD was taking place, flooding in Central and Eastern Europe left over 90 people dead and millions of pounds worth of damage.


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Destroying the environment


Human activity is wiping out 150 species of plants and animals a day. 17 million hectares of forest are destroyed each year. Top soil is being eroded 20-40 times faster than it is being replaced. 44% of commercially targeted marine fish stocks are over-exploited. These are the effects of monopoly capital’s hundred-year rampage across the globe. Twenty companies sell 94% of the world’s
agri-chemicals; five control 90% of the world grain market. Land in underdeveloped nations is purchased or placed under the control of these companies by the Structural Adjustment Programmes of the World Bank and the IMF, which, in recent years, have pressured over 70 countries into changing their mining laws in favour of multinational investment. These bodies force underdeveloped nations into producing cash crops and raw materials for export, using intensive methods that destroy the soil and drain resources.


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