You may have noticed that recently we've been ramping up our coverage of what the GMO supergiant Monsanto has been up to lately. Now, there are a few reasons for that.
First and foremost, they've simply been in the news more often as they continue their various international machinations and backdoor maneuvering in their attempt to dominate the burgeoning GM industry. These recent moves, as well as the fact that the question of whether GMOs belong in our food has reached a fever pitch since the Prop 37 debate last year, have put the company in the spotlight.
The second reason is that looming on the calendar has been an event that finally gives people at home a chance to do something if they're feeling antsy about Monsanto, DuPont and friends. This Saturday, October 12 marks the second March Against Monsanto protest rally. And folks, it's going to be a doozy.
The first March Against Monsanto occurred on May 25 of this year. Before the event, organizer Tami Canal was hoping for "3,000 people" to show up. Instead, along with the help of citizen organizers around the world, the final estimate was two million people, spread out over 436 cities in 52 countries.
(These estimates have all been provided by organizers for the event, so a skeptical mind may not want to trust the numbers; the counter to that, though, is that even if they did fudge the numbers, the turnout was huge. In other words: This is truly an issue people around the world care about.)
This time, as is the case with all sequels, things are expected to be bigger, better, and stronger. Forty-seven states will be represented, along with hundreds of cities and 52 countries spread out across six continents. (Guess which one will not be represented. Get your act together, Antarctica!) In fact, the global nature of this protest is really the eye-opener here. So often, we only worry about how U.S.-run businesses affect U.S.-residing citizens. But a corporation the size of Monsanto has some pretty gigantic effects overseas:
In India, more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide after Monsanto's Bt cotton seeds did not perform as promised. Farmers, left in desperate poverty, are opting to free their families of debt by drinking Monsanto pesticide, thereby ending their lives. Many farmers in other countries are also stripped of their livelihood as a result of false promises, seed patenting and meticulous legal action on the part of Monsanto and other big-ag interests. In many parts of Africa, farmers and their communities are left to choose between starving or eating GMOs.
As far as here at home, there are currently twelve cities in California where protests are scheduled. (If you're reading this from outside California borders, check out their website for the nearest march.) And if you are thinking about heading out there, we have two recommendations to pass along. The first comes from the organizers, who are urging folks to use the Twitter hashtags #MAM and #MarchOct12 to spread the word into the social networking sphere.
The second, though, comes from us: Make some amazing signs! Head on over to your favorite stationery or hardware store, get some large poster boards and felt-tip markers, and perfect your critical puns! As you can see from the Flickr feed, anti-GMO protestors are quite the creative bunch. So if you want to stick out, you certainly have your work cut out for you.
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