Having had the great privilidge of growing up in the Western Highlands ,which is quite possibly one of the most beautiful places on Earth, I love nature and the environment. I concider myself,and the rest of humanity, to be a part of it.
Today enviromentalism is a dirty word. Well what do you expect when its has been hijacked by big government and big business. Neither of these institutions care about the environment they care about power and money, thus they give us Climategate , Carbon Tax credits , falsified test results ,they take our liberties and tax us more and call it environmentalism. This will NOT stop any environmental polution , in fact it will probably just make it worse. Scientists desperately prostitute themselves for research grants, they know the answers that big business are looking for ,they just have to manufacture the results. Real research and results will be stiffled and covered up.All thanks to Al Gore , the environmental version of Al Queda.
Of course “CLIMATE CHANGE” is completely BOGUS! The climate changes all the time , its called weather,sometimes its good ,sometimes its bad.Coming from Scotland I understand this, we know when the weather is good when the rain falls straight down. These government sponcered scientists are not very reliable at predicting tomorrows weather ,so how come they are suddenly experts on the weather decades from now?
This is NOT the first time scientists have predicted global environmental disaster . In the 1970’s scientists where predicting Global Cooling and the onset of a new Ice Age. They actually wanted to MELT THE POLAR ICE CAPS BY COVERING THEM IN COAL SOOT!!
On April 28, 1975, Newsweek wrote an article stating:
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.
In April, 1975 … NEWSWEEK . Citing “ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically,” the magazine warned of an impending “drastic decline in food production.” Political disruptions stemming from food shortages could affect “just about every nation on earth.” Scientists urged governments to consider emergency action to head off the terrible threat of . . . well, if you had been following the climate-change debates at the time, you’d have known that the threat was: global cooling…
Citizens can judge for themselves what constitutes a prudent response-which, indeed, is what occurred 30 years ago. All in all, it’s probably just as well that society elected not to follow one of the possible solutions mentioned in the NEWSWEEK article: to pour soot over the Arctic ice cap, to help it melt.
Global cooling was a conjecture during the 1970s of imminent cooling of the Earth‘s surface and atmosphere along with a posited commencement of glaciation.As scientific results of the time showed a downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s.
BUT there appears to be even more ice sheets NOW than when we where worried about Global cooling, BUT today its all Global warming?
According to Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, last week’s Northern Hemisphere winter snow extent was the second highest on record, at 52,166,840 km2. This was only topped by the second week in February, 1978 at 53,647,305 km2. Rutgers has kept records continuously for the last 2,227 weeks, so being #2 is quite an accomplishment.
According to Rutgers University data through mid February, Northern Hemisphere winter snow extent has been increasing at a rate of over 100,000 km2 per year.
As discussed on WUWT, the implication is that Northern Hemisphere snow cover has only extended this far south one other time, since Rutgers University started keeping records. Additionally, North American snow extent broke its all time record last week. Canada is normally completely covered with snow in the winter (except for Olympic venues) so the implication is that the US had more snow last week than has been seen in at least the last 44 years.
Two of the fundamental precepts of global warming theory are that the tropics are supposed to expand, and the Arctic is supposed to warm disproportionately and shrink.
By Steve Connor, Science Editor, The Independent
MEANWHILE IN REALITY………
The last Great Ice Age ended about 10,000BC. Its REAL effects on humanity where immense. It wiped out our other European human spieces called Neanderthal man. It reduced our ancestors to about 50 ,of which 7 where breeding females.It produced white skinned humans and the red hair gene.All this we know thanks to genuine DNA research. It raised sea levels by 130 metres .These dramatic effects where done without human interference, in fact when we look at Earths history ,this sort of thing happens all the time
home erectus. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 147) Diet exclusively of uncooked meat (the fats of which allow brain growth?)
450,000BC to 380,000BC: Evidence of a wooden hut with a hearth at Terra Amata, near Nice, France, time of Mindel Glaciation. Also near Nice, France, an Acheulean hut dated 500,000-400,000BC a home evidently for Neandertals, with use of a fireplace, and furs, grasses, seaweeds used as bedding.
300,000BC-400,000-BC: Man begins to appreciate-learn to use fire. (Ardrey, Hunting Hypothesis, p. 56)
340,000-330,000BC: Glaciation of Earth. Neandertals displace Homo erectus in some areas.
Near c. 250 thousand years ago, Homo sapiens evolves in Africa.
c.150,000 BC Mitochondrial Eve in Africa ,MOM mother of man.A near extinction event for Homo Sapien ,today ALL Homo Sapiens are desended from this ONE female.
71,000 BC Eruption of Toba, Sumatra volcano and the ensuing cold millennium which killed almost all Homo Sapien sapien (estimate of 5,000 left) This was right at a minimum temperture of about 7 degrees C below current temperature.The eruption took the temperature down to about 9 degrees C below current temperature for about 1000 years
60,000 BC Y-chromosome Adam ,DAD direct ancesteral descendant.ALL modern Homo Sapiens are descended from this ONE male. Another near extinction event.
c.30,500 BC Ice Age in Europe starts
28,000 BC Date of latest fossil of Homo Neanderthalensis. Probably died off because of climate change
and the arrival of Homo Sapien sapien(modern man)
“This definitely is its own species,” Dr. Tattersall affirmed, glancing first to the Neanderthal and then to a modern human skeleton next to it. “If people didn’t believe that before, by all rights they should now.”Also Gary Sawyer, a senior technician in anthropology, who directed the reconstruction and other technicians began developing their skills several years ago with the reconstruction of Peking Man, a Homo erectus from China. Their goal is to recreate skeletons of about 20 hominid species.
OTHER ADVANCED PRIMATES WITH EQUAL INTELIGENCE
53,000-27,000BC: Pre-human fossils from a site on the Solo River near the Javanese town of Ngandong
were dated in 1996 to this period, and identified as belonging to the species of Homo erectus. Brain
size was equivalent to modern humans. (Estimated number of cells in the human brain – 10,000 million.)
58,000 years ago? To 9000BC approx homo floriensis (little people, Hobbits),in 2004, from the
Indonesian island of Flores just near the North-West coast of Western Australia, came news from a team
largely of Australian archaeologists that a new species of humanity, homo floriensis (little people,
Hobbits) has been discovered. They became extinct about 11,000 years ago. The saga of, or, about, the
Hobbits now continues as archaeologist Mike Morwood from University of New England now suggests that
one-metre tall Hobbits, who were wiped out by difficulties with volcanoes, may have lived also in
In March 2005 scientists who published details of the brain of Flores Man in Science supported species
status.A study published in July 2009 found that cladistic analysis supports that H. floresiensis
is a separate species.
Mungo man and many others , at least 20 different spieces of advanced primate, many just as inteligent and in some case maybe more inteligent then Homo Sapien(modern man) and ALL EXTINCT TO DAY!!!!!
When I was young there was a theory called Planet Gaia. Planet Gaia was a popular concept in the 1970’s . It is a concept I found very intreging and it is still concidered a”valid” model today.
The many faces of Gaia
There are at least three different variants of the Gaia hypothesis
This early interpretation remains one of the “strongest” versions of Gaia theory. It implies that life actively controls environmental conditions, including purely physical aspects of the biosphere such as temperature, oceanic acidity and atmospheric gas composition, such that the Earth remains optimally habitable.
Self-regulating (or homeostatic) Gaia
A more recent and slightly weaker incarnation of the theory. Rather than life actively optimising conditions on the planet, it creates negative feedback systems that keep life-constraining factors such as temperature, and more recently atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, within certain ranges.
The Earth isn’t just a physical planet that supports life, it is itself alive. This is the strongest interpretation of the theory and tends to be viewed as unscientific.
TODAY I BELIEVE PLANET MEDEA IS MORE ACCURATE
Medea is the better name for Earth.Medea is a figure of classical antiquity famous for killing her own children This planet has frequently killed off its children. Today Homo Sapiens are the only advanced primate roaming the planet today, there used to be at least 20 different species of advanced primite including Neaderthals etc. All have been wiped out ,usually by environmental causes. Homo Sapiens themselves where reduced to a handful with only ONE BREEDING MALE 60,000 years ago. A very near extinction event.
An extinction event (also known as: mass extinction; extinction-level event, ELE, or biotic crisis) is a sharp decrease in the diversity and abundance of macroscopic life. They occur when the rate of extinction increases with respect to the rate of speciation. Because the majority of diversity and biomass on earth is microbial, and thus difficult to measure, mass extinctions have little effect on the total diversity and abundance of life, but rather affect the easily observed component of the biosphere.
Over 97% of species that ever lived are now extinct, but extinction occurs at an uneven rate. Based on the fossil record, the background rate of extinctions on Earth is about two to five taxonomic families of marine invertebrates and vertebrates every million years. Marine fossils are mostly used to measure extinction rates because of their superior fossil record and stratigraphic range compared to land organisms.
It is interesting to note that MASS EXTINCTIONS DO NOT EFFECT THE BIOMASS . It just means more of the biomass is single celled organisms,as bigger , higher evolved biomasses are killed off and decompose.
The Earth itself has also gone through periods of great warming and great cooling , ALL WITH OUT HUMAN HELP!!!
What of the future? Here too we can refute Gaia, and this is perhaps the most interesting – and shocking – of discoveries. Life seems to be actively pursuing its own demise, moving Earth ever closer to the inevitable day when it returns to its original state: sterile.
Life seems to be pursuing its own demise, moving Earth ever closer to the day it returns to being sterile
How so? The starting point is that the sun is getting hotter. It has increased in brightness by about 30 per cent over the past 4.5 billion years and will carry on doing so. As the sun continues to burn brighter it will cause global warming, which will translate into increased weathering of silicate rocks – the rate of weathering rises with temperature. This will remove CO2 ever faster from the atmosphere, aided and abetted by photosynthesis and plant roots.
At first, this removal of CO2 will buffer the solar-induced temperature increase. But there will come a time – possibly as early as 500 million years from now – when there is not enough CO2 in the atmosphere to support photosynthesis. When that calamitous day arrives, a very pronounced end of the world as we know it will begin.
The changes will be dramatic and catastrophic to life. Plants will wither and die, shutting off the main source of biological productivity and atmospheric oxygen. Animals will quickly follow. The loss of plants will also lead to a renewed build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere, leading to a runaway greenhouse. Eventually, the temperature of the Earth’s surface will exceed that of boiling water, and the last microbe will perish. Earth will be lifeless once more. This is very anti-Gaian, since the theory states that the presence of life on a planet should extend its habitability. The opposite is true.
IS PLANET EARTH RECIEVING ITS OLD AGE PENSION?
If these models are correct, life on Earth is already in its old age. The adventure that started 3.8 billion years ago, and is still the only life we know of in the universe, has maybe another billion years to run. The long-term, and terminal, decline of CO2 in the atmosphere has already started – the effect of burning fossil fuels is just a blip. Gaia is dying. Long live Medea. For now.
THE CASE FOR REAL ENVIRONMENTALISM
What we are seeing is the authoritarian response to enivornmentalism. Big government ,big business , big deal. carbon tax and carbon footprints ALL AUTHORITARIAN BOLLOCKS!!!
People are being taxed for air travel , when air travel reduces global warming. This was demonstrated very clearly in the days after 9/11,when all air traffic was grounded. The temperatures in the USA rose ,because there was LESS SUNLIGHT REFLECTED AWAY BY AIRPLANE VAPOUR TRAILS!!!
THE CARBON TAX CON
Carbon Tax will only tax the people and NOT the poluting corporations .It will make Al Gore and his backers rich ,it will reduce the living standards and civil liberties of the masses.It will releave the peoples guilt but not effect the profit margin and REAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES will be ignored or silenced!!
REAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES BIG GOVERNMENT AND BIG BUSINESS CAUSE!!!!!!!
Toxic dumping , GM foods , GM animals , privitised water supplies , terminator genes, chemical polution , dying bees ,etc etc
World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco
In the name of environmental protection, the World Bank is brokering carbon emission trading arrangements that destroy indigenous farmlands around the world.
The effort to coordinate global action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions began with the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and now has been ratified by 183 nations. While many of the strategies established in the protocol are encouraging, some are proving to have fatal flaws. One such program, known as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) investment, has become a means by which industrialized countries avoid reducing their own emissions through the implementation of “emissions reduction” projects in developing nations.
SCIENCE COMMUNITY CORRUPTION
It all comes down to men behaving badly. Emails and files related to top scientists that support man made global warming theory were released in the hacked files. These scientists have authored/co-authored many of the studies relied on by the UN IPCC, and world governments. The studies have been used to pronounce global warming an immediate, and therefore taxable, threat.
Here are some of the highlights of the documents released
1. The scientists colluded in efforts to thwart Freedom of Information Act requests
2. These scientists publicly diminished opposing arguments for lack of being published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In the background they discussed black-balling journals that did publish opposing views, and preventing opposing views from being published in journals they controlled.
3. The scientists expressed concern privately over a lack of increase in global temperatures in the last decade, and the fact that they could not explain this. Publicly they discounted it as simple natural variations. In one instance, data was [apparently] manipulated to hide a decline in temperatures when graphed. Other discussions included ways to discount historic warming trends that inconveniently did not occur during increases in atmospheric CO2.
4. The emails show examples of top scientists working to create public relations messaging with favorable news outlets. It shows them identifying and cataloging, by name and association, people with opposing views. These people are then disparaged in a coordinated fashion via favorable online communities.
Animals’ Sexual Changes Linked to Waste, Chemicals
Animals throughout the world are undergoing unnatural sexual changes in response to environmental pollution, according to a group of scientists. The scientists warn that the gender-bending effects of certain man-made substances and human sewage seriously threaten polar bears, alligators, frogs, mollusks, and other wildlife
Weed killer turns male frogs into females
March 2, 2010
Atrazine, a weed killer widely used in the Midwestern United States and other agricultural areas of the world, can chemically “castrate” male frogs and turn some into females, according to a new study.
Colony Collapse Disorder
Honeybees are the most important insect to the human food chain. They are the principle pollinators of hundreds of fruits, vegetables, flowers and nuts. The number of bee colonies has been declining since the 1940’s even as the crops that depend on them, such as California almond, Pennsylvania apples and Georgia peaches, have continually grown.
Large bee losses are not uncommon or unheard of. In fact, they have been reported numerous times in the last century. However, researchers have reason to believe they are dealing with something new; or at least something that is previously unidentified.
The unknown cause of the disappearance that can collapse a colony in about two days is being called “colony collapse disorder”. The disorder was named by Dr. Cox-Foster, who is leading a team of researchers who are trying to find answers to explain the disappearing bees. The three most likely candidates at this time are; a virus, a fungus or a pesticide.
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) or sometimes honey bee depopulation syndrome (HBDS) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. Colony collapse is economically significant because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees. European beekeepers observed similar phenomena in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree while the Northern Ireland Assembly receives reports of a decline greater than 50%. Possible cases of CCD have also been reported in Taiwan since April 2007
The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases .So far the documented enemies of the bee world, like the varroa mite, do not appear to be accountable for the strangely high losses, at least not on their own
Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides (e.g. neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid), and migratory beekeeping. More speculative possibilities have included both cell phone radiation and genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics.
Carter-Ruck, the law firm representing Trafigura, was accused of infringing the supremacy of parliament after it insisted that an injunction obtained against the Guardian prevented the paper from reporting a question tabled on Monday by the Labour MP Paul Farrelly.
Farrelly’s question was about the implications for press freedom of an order obtained by Trafigura preventing the Guardian and other media from publishing the contents of a report related to the dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast
Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates
The international community has come out in force to condemn and declare war on the Somali fishermen pirates, while discreetly protecting the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fleets from around the world that have been poaching and dumping toxic waste in Somali waters since the fall of the Somali government eighteen years ago.
In 1991, when the government of Somalia collapsed, foreign interests seized the opportunity to begin looting the country’s food supply and using the country’s unguarded waters as a dumping ground for nuclear and other toxic waste.
According to the High Seas Task Force (HSTF), there were over 800 IUU fishing vessels in Somali waters at one time in 2005, taking advantage of Somalia’s inability to police and control its own waters and fishing grounds. The IUUs poach an estimated $450 million in seafood from Somali waters annually. In so doing, they steal an invaluable protein source from some of the world’s poorest people and ruin the livelihoods of legitimate fishermen.
Allegations of the dumping of toxic waste, as well as illegal fishing, have circulated since the early 1990s, but hard evidence emerged when the tsunami of 2004 hit the country. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reported that the tsunami washed rusting containers of toxic waste onto the shores of Puntland, northern Somalia.
Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina
One of the most lethal patches of ground in North America is located in the backwoods of North Carolina, where Shearon Harris nuclear plant is housed and owned by Progress Energy. The plant contains the largest radioactive waste storage pools in the country. It is not just a nuclear-power-generating station, but also a repository for highly radioactive spent fuel rods from two other nuclear plants. The spent fuel rods are transported by rail and stored in four densely packed pools filled with circulating cold water to keep the waste from heating. The Department of Homeland Security has marked Shearon Harris as one of the most vulnerable terrorist targets in the nation.
The threat exists, however, without the speculation of terrorist attack. Should the cooling system malfunction, the resulting fire would be virtually unquenchable and could trigger a nuclear meltdown, putting more than two hundred million residents of this rapidly growing section of North Carolina in extreme peril. A recent study by Brookhaven Labs estimates that a pool fire could cause 140,000 cancers, contaminate thousands of square miles of land, and cause over $500 billion in off-site property damage.
Activists Slam World Water Forum as a Corporate-Driven Fraud
Water rights activists blasted the World Water Forum, held in Turkey in late March of 2009, as a corporate trade show promoting privatization of water. Three hundred Turkish activists gathered near the forum’s entrance and were faced with the overwhelming force of between 2,000 and 3,000 police. The forum opened with Turkish police firing tear gas and detaining protesters, who were shouting “Water for life, not for profit.”
According to its website, the World Water Forum is “an open, all-inclusive, multi-stakeholder process” where governments, NGOs, businesses and others “create links, debate and attempt to find solutions to achieve water security.”
However, the Forum’s main organizer, the World Water Council, is dominated by two of the world’s largest private water corporations, Suez and Veolia. Critics contend that the Council’s links to Suez and Veolia, as well as the large representation of the business industry in the Council, compromise its legitimacy. Corporate interests that make up the World Water Council are in constant contact with the World Bank and other financial institutions. Each Forum is set up as a quasi-United Nations event, to the extent of issuing a Ministerial Statement at the Forum’s close promoting global policy approaches to water and sanitation.
The over fishing of our seas that has been rubberstamped by big government and big business. It seems the fewer fish we have left ,the more politions there are administrating for it. If this continues the Ministry for Fisheries will be the world biggest employer as we all look after the world last cod fish that we keep in a tank in the Ministry for Fisheries office.Lets hope they remember to feed it!
Water privatization is a short-hand for private sector participation in the provision of water services and sanitation, although more rarely it refers to privatization of water resources themselves. Because water services are seen as such a key public service, proposals for private sector participation often evoke strong opposition. Globally, more than 90% of water and sanitation systems are publicly owned and operated.
The Cochabamba protests of 2000, also known as the “Cochabamba Water Wars”, which were a series of protests that took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest city, between January and April 2000, happened because of the privatization of the municipal water supply.
When Bolivia sought to refinance the public water service of its third largest city, the World Bank required that it be privatized. Which is how the Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, (California, U.S.A.,) gained control over all of Cochabamba‘s water; even that which fell from the sky, i.e., rainwater. Bechtel was granted the power to seize the homes of delinquent customers. In response, Bolivians took to the streets.
Following the Cochabamba Riots of 2000 in Bolivia, Cochabamba’s water system is now run by an organization of community and government representatives. Though at a World Bank secret tribunal, Bechtel is seeking “compensation for damages” from Bolivia in the amount they would have profited. Bechtel is demanding “at least US $25 million” — which is equal to 1.7% of Bolivia’s public spending (as such a sum could finance 125,000 new connections to the public Cochabamba water system); “or 125,000 new water connections in Cochabamba.”
Multinational corporations are heavily involved in water privatization. According to Masons Water Yearbook 2004/5, 545m people (9% of the world population) were served by private providers. Argentina and Bolivia have since rescinded water privatization schemes.
Privatization proposals in key public service sectors such as water and electricity are often strongly opposed. Opponents may include political parties, civil society groups, and wide groups of citizenry. Opposition to privatization includes fear that giving multinational corporations control over the necessities of life would be disadvantageous; that as a result profits would be valued over service, and expensive centralized projects will be undertaken to the exclusion (of even outlawing) of small wells or rain water collection. Past and current water privatization regimes and proposals have denied peoples’ rights to collect rain water.
According to PSIRU, a research unit at the University of Greenwich, this has been the case in England and Wales. Usually campaigns involve demonstrations and political means. Those disadvantaged by water privatization have revolted in protest (e.g. Cochabamba Riots of 2000 in Bolivia). Other recent examples include Ghana and Uruguay (2004). In the latter case a civil-society-initiated referendum banning water privatization was passed in October 2004. A law banning privatization of public water supply was also passed in the Netherlands in September 2004, with broad cross-party support.
Genetic use restriction technology (GURT), colloquially known as terminator technology, is the name given to proposed methods for restricting the use of genetically modified plants by causing second generation seeds to be sterile. The technology was developed under a cooperative research and development agreement between the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA and Delta and Pine Land company in the 1990s, but it is not yet commercially available. Because some stakeholders expressed concerns that this technology might lead to dependence for poor smallholder farmers, Monsanto Company, an agricultural products company and the world’s biggest seed supplier, pledged not to commercialize the technology in 1999. Late in 2006, it acquired Delta and Pine Land company.
There is a concern that V-GURT plants could cross-pollinate with non-genetically modified plants, either in the wild or on the fields of farmers who do not adopt the technology. Though the V-GURT plants are supposed to produce sterile seeds, there is concern that this trait will not be expressed in the first generation of a small percentage of these plants, but be expressed in later generations. This does not seem to be much of a problem in the wild, as a sterile plant would naturally be selected out of a population within one generation of trait expression.
The food safety of GURT technology would need to be assessed if a commercial release of a GURT containing crop were proposed.
Initially developed by the US Department of Agriculture and multinational seed companies, “suicide seeds” have not been commercialized anywhere in the world due to an avalanche of opposition from farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society, and some governments. In 2000, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity recommended a de facto moratorium on field-testing and commercial sale of Terminator seeds; the moratorium was re-affirmed in 2006. India and Brazil have already passed national laws to prohibit the technology
ITS A BIRD , NO ITS A PLANE NO ITS MAN-BEAR-PIG …. AND HIS FAITHFUL SIDEKICK SPIDERPIG
A genetically modified organism (GMO) or genetically engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified or novel genes. Transgenic organisms, a subset of GMOs, are organisms which have inserted DNA that originated in a different species. Some GMOs contain no DNA from other species and are therefore not transgenic but cisgenic
An often cited controversy is a “Technology Protection” technology dubbed ‘Terminator’. This yet-to-be-commercialized technology would allow the production of first generation crops that would not generate seeds in the second generation because the plants yield sterile seeds. The patent for this so-called “terminator” gene technology is owned by Delta and Pine Land Company and the United States Department of Agriculture. Delta and Pine Land was bought by Monsanto Company in August 2006. Similarly, the hypothetical Trait-specific Genetic Use Restriction Technology, also known as ‘Traitor’ or ‘T-gut’, requires application of a chemical to genetically modified crops to reactivate engineered traits. This technology is intended both to limit the spread of genetically engineered plants, and to require farmers to pay yearly to reactivate the genetically engineered traits of their crops. Traitor is under development by companies including Monsanto and AstraZeneca.
In addition to the commercial protection of proprietary technology in self-pollinating crops such as soybean (a generally contentious issue), another purpose of the terminator gene is to prevent the escape of genetically modified traits from cross-pollinating crops into wild-type species by sterilizing any resultant hybrids. Ironically, the terminator gene technology created a backlash among the same groups that considered outcrossing of GM plants dangerous. They felt the technology would prevent re-use of seed by farmers growing such terminator varieties in the developing world and was ostensibly a means to exercise patent claims.
Hybrid seeds were commonly used in the developed countries long before the introduction of GM crops. Hybrid seeds cannot be saved, so purchasing new seed every year is already a standard agricultural practice.
There are technologies evolving which contain the transgene by biological means and still can provide fertile seeds using fertility restorer functions. Such methods are being developed by several EU research programmes, among them Transcontainer and Co-Extra.
ECUADOR SHOWS US THE WAY
Ecuador’s Constitutional Rights of Nature
In September 2008 Ecuador became the first country in the world to declare constitutional rights to nature, thus codifying a new system of environmental protection.
Reflecting the beliefs and traditions of the indigenous peoples of Ecuador, the constitution declares that nature “has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.” This right, the constitution states, “is independent of the obligation on natural and juridical persons or the State to indemnify the people that depend on the natural systems.”
The new constitution redefines people’s relationship with nature by asserting that nature is not just an object to be appropriated and exploited by people, but is rather a rights-bearing entity that should be treated with parity under the law.
Peter Ward is professor of biology at the University of Washington in Seattle. This article is based on his new book The Medea Hypothesis: Is life on Earth ultimately self-destructive? (Princeton University Press)