Monsanto and Its Philanthropy

Over a period of several years Monsanto, a multi-billion dollar transnational corporation (TNC), has worked very hard to build its image as a champion of the poor. To legitimize this image it is engaged in a high profile effort through giving grants to some established NGOs such as the World Vision.

Monsanto established “Monsanto Fund” in 1964 as the charitable arm of the company. It states that “our philanthropic goal has been to bridge the gap between people’s needs and their available resources. We want to help people realize their dreams, and hopefully inspire them to enroll others in their vision.”

Monsanto has also Monsanto Fund Matching Gifts Program. This program “gives permanent Monsanto employees and active members of the Monsanto Board of Directors an opportunity to join Monsanto Fund’s support of not-for-profit institutions.” Monsanto makes it candid that the request for support of an NGO is honored “if the recipient organization adheres to the guidelines of the Matching Gifts Program.” “Eligible organizations include, but are not limited to: Colleges and universities, private and public elementary and secondary schools, organizations that serve youth, museums, libraries, health and human service agencies, environmental, community and cultural organizations.” World Vision is one of the recipients of the “matching gifts”.

Monsanto’s philanthropic activities are meant to not only improve its image, but also provide key relationships. It understands better than anyone that relationships, partnerships and network are the key for success of the company.

On November 1, 2006, in his 2006 IBM lecture at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, on “Sabina Xhosa and the New Shoes: Introducing Technologies into Developing Countries”, Hugh Grant, Chairman, President, and CEO of Monsanto, focused on agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. He took Malawi as a model. Agriculture is the primary industry in Malawi. According to him, “seventy-two percent of the people’s caloric intake depends on maize, or corn.”1 Maize or corn is the staple food in most Sub-Sahara African countries.

Monsanto was seeking a foothold in the Sub-Sahara Africa. Grant said:

We haven’t broken through in Africa in any of the Sub-Sahara African countries. So what do we need? We need one African country to say yes. One African country to start field trials. We need to start the field trials and start testing this in African soil, and at Monsanto we’re ready to work with an array of partners to make happen.1

The opportune time for Monsanto arrived with the arrival of severe drought in Malawi in 2004. Any predator looks for a vulnerable prey. Malawi, after the drought, was just the kind of prey predator companies like Monsanto look for. According to Grant, Monsanto held “a discussion with relief organizations, non-government organizations, the Malawi government, and some of the relief agencies, particularly an agency called World Vision. We got together and said this is going to keep on happening unless we take a different approach. And that’s what we did.”1 On December 20, 2005 Monsanto announced its intention to donate 700 metric tons of “quality hybrid maize seeds” to farmers in Malawi. This “high quality seed” was “donated” to the farmers through “some of the NGOs and government and relief agencies working on delivery and distribution systems.”1

U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Alan Eastham praised Monsanto for its donation. He said, “The donation of hybrid seed to local farmers will potentially have a significant impact on the quality of next year’s harvest and represents the best tradition of socially responsible giving by the U.S. private sector.”2 A representative of World Vision Malawi, one of seven members of the NGO consortium, said, “This donation is addressing both the short-term and the long-term needs of the people in Malawi, and fits very well with our programs in this country.”2 The nexus between the US government and Monsanto is evident by not only the statement of the US Ambassador to Malawi, but also a highly positive report given by Charles Corey, Washington File Staff Writer. The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State (Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov).3

Therefore, Monsanto’s “donation” of seeds to Malawi farmers through its partners like the World Vision was to get a foothold in the Sub-Sahara Africa. What are its interests?

Monsanto pledges “Growth for a Better World”: “We want to make the world a better place for future generations.” Increased yields are the core of this agenda. To achieve this Monsanto provides “the products and systems” to farmers. Its main product is Roundup herbicide. Monsanto also produces GM seeds. The GM crop is resistant to the herbicide, Roundup, offering farmers a convenient way to spray fields with weed killer without affecting crops. These are known as Roundup Ready Crops. The genes contained in the GM seeds are patented.

Patenting means that farmers who buy GM seeds enter into a licensing agreement with Monsanto for the use of that particular gene. They are forbidden from saving seeds for the next season. They must buy new seed from the company each season. This denies farmers’ right to save seed. The implications of this are huge for poor farmers. Saved seed is the one resource that the poor farmers depend upon to carry them through the year. Denial of this right will greatly impact them economically. For they have to pay more each season to buy new seed. Although Monsanto purports to help farmers “improve their lives” through the supply of GM seed, the reality is that it places unbearable economic burden on the poor farmers. Teresa Anderson says, “Social and economic risks from GM crops are equally weighty. They will increase dependence on outside technologies, marginalize farmers from R&D, and consequently exacerbate the social and economic difficulties….”4

The implications of patenting of the gene in the GM seed go further than forbidding seed saving. If a GM crop cross-pollinates with a neighboring crop through the movement of wind, insects, birds, or accidental seed mixing, the neighboring harvest would be likely to carry the patented gene also. Monsanto could then claim that the neighboring farm has infringed their patent. The farmer, who was unintentionally contaminated by somebody else’s GM crop, would be breaking the law if he saved his seed and planted it. Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers or anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. Ever since commercial introduction of its GM seeds, in 1996, Monsanto has launched thousands of investigations and filed lawsuits against hundreds of farmers and seed dealers.

All this boils down to the dreadful result, that is, Monsanto controlling much of the world’s food supply. Control of food supply leads to control of people.

Genesis of Monsanto

Hugh Grant says, “As an agricultural and technology company committed to human rights, we have a unique opportunity to protect and advance human rights. We have a responsibility to consider not only how our business can benefit consumers, farmers, and food processors, but how it can protect the human rights of both Monsanto’s employees and our business partners’ employees.” However, this statement needs to be verified with the “gene” of Monsanto.

Monsanto was founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny as a saccharin producing company. Giving his wife’s maiden name Monsanto to the company, he called it the Monsanto Chemical Works. His steady customer was a new company in Georgia named Coca-Cola.

Later Monsanto extended its list of products to vanillin, caffeine, drugs used as sedatives and laxatives, plastics, resins, rubber goods, fuel additives, artificial caffeine, industrial fluids, vinyl siding, dishwasher detergent, anti-freeze, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. From 1929 to 1971, Monsanto produced PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) as industrial coolants and insulating fluids for transformers and other electrical equipment.

In the 1960s, Monsanto manufactured Agent Orange, a poisonous chemical toxin. Agent Orange is the code name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant. This is “a chemical that strips trees and plants of their leaves and is sometimes used in warfare to deny cover to enemy forces.” The US military used this toxin in Vietnam War. It sprayed an estimated 21,136,000 gallons of Agent Orange across South Vietnam to defoliate jungles.5 This chemical has been reported to cause serious skin diseases as well as a vast variety of cancers in the lungs, larynx, and prostate. Children in the areas where Agent Orange was used have been affected and have multiple health problems including cleft palate, mental retardation, hernias, and extra fingers and toes. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.6

In February 2004, the Vietnamese Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) filed a class action law suit against Monsanto in a New York court. On March 10, 2005, Judge Jack B. Weinstein, who defended the U.S. veterans affected by Agent Orange, dismissed the suit, ruling that there was no legal basis for the plaintiffs’ claims.

During the 1970s, Monsanto shifted more resources into biotechnology. In the 1980s it decided to become one of the key players in the worldwide agricultural biotechnology market. In 1981 the company created a molecular-biology group for research in plant genetics. The next year, Monsanto became the first to genetically modify a plant cell. Over the next few years, it developed genetically modified seeds of cotton, soybeans, corn and canola.

In the late 1990s after restructuring the company, Monsanto was rebranded as a “life sciences” company. A new company Solutia was named for the chemical and fibers operations. Then after additional reorganization in 2002 Monsanto officially declared itself an “agricultural company”, dedicated to making the world “a better place for future generations”.

Reality Check

GTM (Gaming The Market) gives a short list of grievances against Monsanto5 :

1. 1917 US government suit against Monsanto over the safety of saccharin;
2. 1965-1972 UK landfill illegal toxic waste dumping;
3. Agent Orange chemical warfare;
4. 1979 dioxin chemical spill Kemner v. Monsanto longest civil jury trial in U.S. history;
5. Responsible for 56 contaminated Superfund sites;
6. Anniston, Alabama mercury and PCB-laden waste discharged into local creeks over 40 years;
7. Terminator seeds that lead to world food shortages, poverty, and death;
8. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone Posilac (rBST) (rBGH);
9. Using coercive tactics to monopolize world markets;
10. Pursuing 500 cases annually against customers for “seed fraud”;
11. Andhra Pradesh Government vs. Monsanto on India seed price fixing;
12. US Department of Justice and US Securities and Exchange Commission criminal and civil charges for international bribing;
13. False advertising for “biodegradable” Roundup weed killer;
14. India child labor abuse in the manufacture of cotton-seeds;
15. Farmers suicides in India;7
16. Corporate tax evasion at Sauget, Illinois facility;
17. Campaign against dairies which do not inject bovine growth hormone from advertising.

On March 11, 2008 a documentary was aired on French television (ARTE – French-German Cultural TV channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, entitled The World According to Monsanto (Le Monde selon Monsanto). Over a period of three years Robin has collected material for her documentary, through numerous interviews with people of different backgrounds. She traveled widely, from Latin America, to Asia, through Europe and the United States, to personally interview farmers and people in influential positions. This documentary dealt a severe blow to the credibility of Monsanto.

The destructive effects of genetically engineered crops are worldwide, but the extensive damage done in India has been widely documented by Vandana Shiva, a physicist and environmentalist. She is an activist and author of many books concerning the nefarious consequences of GM farming as opposed to the wisdom of traditional family and biological farming. Commenting on the consequences on farms and human life in India due to the use of hybrid seeds, she said,

Recently I was visiting Bhatinda in Punjab because of an epidemic of farmers’ suicides. Punjab used to be the most prosperous agricultural region in India. Today every farmer is in debt and despair. Vast stretches of land have become waterlogged desert. And, as an old farmer pointed out, even the trees have stopped bearing fruit because heavy use of pesticides has killed the pollinators — the bees and butterflies…And Punjab is not alone in experiencing this ecological and social disaster. Last year I was in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, where farmers have also been committing suicide. Farmers who traditionally grew pulses and millets and paddy have been lured by seed companies to buy hybrid cotton seeds referred to as “white gold”, which were supposed to make them millionaires. Instead they became paupers.

In India and China it has been proved that the promises of Monsanto that BT cotton (genetically engineered cotton) would produce a far higher yield and prove less costly in terms of herbicide and fertilizer required has been proved devious.

Monsanto (and its partners like World Vision) is not held back by any considerations of ethics. Monsanto does its business exclusively with the intent of increasing its own profit at the cost of farmers worldwide. If left to its own devices it will most certainly destroy not only the livelihood of millions of farmers, but also their very life.

Conclusion

Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds have transformed the company and are radically altering global agriculture. The company has produced GM seeds for soybeans, corn, canola and cotton. More products have been developed or are in the pipeline, including seeds for sugar beets and alfalfa. The company is also seeking to extend its reach into milk production by marketing an artificial growth hormone for cows that increases their output.

On April 25, 2009 Monsanto announced in India a special fellowship program for research on rice and wheat plant breeding. Under the program, the company will allocate $10 million to encourage young Ph.D. scholars to pursue their research in rice and wheat breeding. Edward Runge, Director of Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program, told that the company was looking at attracting students from India and China, two of the fastest growing economies and the largest populated countries. Also rice and wheat are staple food in these countries.

  1. Hugh Grant, “Sabina Xhosa and the New Shoes: Introducing Technologies into Developing Countries,” 2006 IBM Lecture at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, on November 1, 2006. [] [] [] []
  2. Charles W. Corey, “U.S. Company Donates Maize Seed to Farmers in Malawi: Monsanto’s Contribution Expected to Feed More Than 1 Million People.” [] []
  3. In order to understand the nexus among the US government, Corporations and NGOs one may read about US Global Leadership Campaign (USGLC). USGLC is an influential network of over 400 organizations and thousands of individuals. Corporations and NGOs such as Monsanto, Lockheed Martin, Mercy Corps, CARE, World Vision, Caterpiller, AIPAC, Motorola “joined together in a coalition with a common message and a common mission.” []
  4. Teresa Anderson, “Patented GM Crops: Making Seed Saving Illegal?” []
  5. Monsanto: Profiting without Conscience.” [] []
  6. Watch the documentary on the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. []
  7. Vandana Shiva on Farmer Suicides, the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal, Wal-Mart in India and More,” www.democracynow.org, 13.12.2006.

    According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data record, there have been 166,304 farmers’ suicides in a decade since 1997 in India. Of these, 78,737 occurred in five years between 1997 and 2001. The next five years – from 2002 to 2006 – proved worse, seeing 87,567 take their lives. This means that on an average, there has been one farmer’s suicide every 30 minutes since 2002. www.hindu.com, 31.1.2008. []

Kamalakar Duvvuru teaches the New Testament in India with an objective of promoting peace, justice, unity and love. He can be reached at: kamalakar.duvvur@gmail.com. Read other articles by Kamalakar, or visit Kamalakar's website.

20 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. RH2 said on May 2nd, 2009 at 2:03pm #

    Regardless of Agent Orange Monsanto has a long history of filth. It marketed in 1974 the weed killer “Roundup”. Years later it produced the “Roundup-Ready-Soybean” which was genetically modified to resist herbicide. Contrary to Monsanto advertising the product cannot be biologically broken down and is rather very toxic. To keep the product on the market, Monsanto suppressed suspicious expert opinion and was behind dismissals of some independent scientists from the US-Food and Drug Administration.

    Last week the German minister of agriculture has forbidden the cultivation of genetically modified maize and she was criticized for that. She had to justify her regulation at Brussels, the “capital” of the European Union. Some disciples of Monsanto also lamented over endangering the “green genetic research”. What green research? A highly risky play with unpredictable consequences.

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 2nd, 2009 at 3:33pm #

    Monsanto is, in my opinion, the embodiment both of human evil and market capitalism. The two concepts are motre or less interchangeable. That an organisation such as this exists, that destroys tens of thousands, poisons the future and clearly controls the US political process, and is aided, over and over by compliant ‘judges’ who bring down nonsensical ‘judgements’, tells us one thing clearly. That our economic system, and the political charade it controls, is innately anti-life, hence irredeemably evil. The complicity here of ‘World Vision’, a gang of ‘Christians’ (need one say more) who seem to have forgotten everything preached by the Nazarene is no surprise. Personally, I wouldn’t cross the street to piss on them, and any other ‘Christian’ charity, if they were on fire.The question of Monsanto genetic pollution is illustrative. First Monsanto lied, unbelievably, that plants whose pollen is wind-borne, could be quarantined by buffers of a few metres. After the morally corrupt buffoons of government and the agricultural bureaucracies accepted this imbecility, genetic pollution was inevitable, making GE crops a fait accompli, as was obviously intended. But, then, for the ‘courts’ to uphold the contemptible stupidity of supporting Monsanto’s ‘rights’ to seeds polluted with its filth, in the crops of farmers who had rejected it, was, in my opinion, moral and intellectual corruption and casuistry in the service of power. Monsanto is the really existing proof in excelsis of the diabolical nature of market capitalism, and its unavoidable fate, to die in the filth of its own overflowing excrement, and takes its human host with it.

  3. marytormey said on May 2nd, 2009 at 4:00pm #

    I think it is important for the public to know about Monsanto, I think someone should look into putting a digg bar on this page.

  4. bozh said on May 2nd, 2009 at 4:38pm #

    mulga, yes
    but what can we expect from the gang without a single pang, when it comes to defense of US interests?
    in name of this, US is probably on its way to use dirty bombs in afgh’n or even pak’n and iran.
    can that be far behind? Planet is getting poorer; plutos want to maintain or even increase their wealth. Anyone who is merely perceived standing in the way or is not with the uncle, better watch out and be good for santa claus and saint uncle. tnx

  5. Suthiano said on May 2nd, 2009 at 5:52pm #

    Terminating Food Sovereignty in Ecuador? President Correa Opens Door to Terminator Seeds(http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1827/68/).

    Keep an eye on Mr. Correa… I don’t think he is quite as “progressive” as he has attempted to seem.

  6. Jeff said on May 3rd, 2009 at 7:36am #

    Give up your seed, give up your rights. Once again the populace will whine about how bad these giant corporations are but will flock to the easy prepared food isle because “my life is so busy”. The lack of support for the local farmer by the “urban dweller” has created this dilemma. The lack of education of the “urban dweller” has caused this dilemma. The indifference of the “urban dweller” has caused this dilemma. The “consumer” has caused this dilemma. The only way to stop the corporate plunder is to just stop purchasing the garbage. Only problem is that the “consumer” has been educated not to investigate but to just consume like “corporate cattle”. Did not educate myself to the fact that urban dwellers can chew their own ‘cud. (most may have to investigate the meaning of that word). Good luck.

  7. RH2 said on May 3rd, 2009 at 12:07pm #

    Jeff,

    Undoubtedly the urban dweller has supported the creation of this agricultural dilemma and environmental destruction due to lack of education and consequently lack of conscious consumption. Here in Europe consumers seem to be more conscious than their fellows in the US. But as you certainly know, Monsanto is an influential monopolist and has so far enjoyed legal and “scientific” support of the US governments, “The USA is world leader in biotechnology – and will keep it that way.” I hope that the Americans will break out of the destructive grip of this monopoly pretending to do green science for feeding human beings. Small groups here and there can enhance the consciousness of the consumer through private initiatives. Jeff, I know it is not that easy to struggle against a giant with governmental support. I would be the last one to play your bitterness down.

  8. Jeff said on May 3rd, 2009 at 4:25pm #

    RH2, this is a world problem. The “urban dweller” should then pull all stock associated with such destructive corporate ventures. This of course will not happen as pension funding for the future is the most important venture of the present. This is carried on by everyone whom has the means at the behest of those whom the “experiment” is conducted, even on the participants themselves (karma). The European model “may” seem more ecologically friendly, but the majority of the food comes from the eastern block. Europe turns a blind eye to this, so therefore cannot call the kettle black. Most of these “corporate” were born in Europe, maybe not at the best of times, but they were born. The United States has been conveniently used by those “outside” influences. The masses have also been lulled in with the rape of their own land as well. We are allowing ourselves to be slowly poisoned to death, all the while feeling wanting to be full.

  9. Deadbeat said on May 4th, 2009 at 12:25am #

    Sustainable Population
    Australia and the Population-National Security Complex

    by Michael Barker

    (Swans – May 4, 2009) In March 2008, Sustainable Population Australia celebrated their 20th anniversary by organizing a two-day conference titled “Population, Peak Oil, Climate Change: their impact on the Millennium Development Goals.” For most concerned citizens it is commonsensical that all three of the issues examined at this conference — population, peak oil, and climate change — are intimately linked: however, as I demonstrated within a recent Monthly Review Zine article, the longstanding focus on the population question by leading environmentalists is severely problematic.

    To summarize my argument: simply put the modern-day birth of the environmental movement in the United States (and elsewhere) evolved in large part from the success of an increasingly powerful population control movement. With massive financial and technical support from ostensibly progressive liberal philanthropists, like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, by the late 1950s the population issue was adopted by the military-industrial complex, creating what has been referred to as the population-national security theory, a dubious theory that Professor Eric Ross notes, causally linked “overpopulation, resource exhaustion, hunger, political instability, communist insurrection, and danger to vital American interests.” Here it is noteworthy that these same liberal philanthropists also played a key role in promoting the population control movements’ predecessor; that is, eugenics.

    The military’s and public’s fixation with overpopulation was helped along by influential books like Warren Thompson classic Population and Peace (1946), while other key works include Fairfield Osborn’s Our Plundered Planet (1948), which along with William Vogt’s book from the same year, Road to Survival, were — according to a 1973 editorial in The New York Times — largely responsible for the revival of the Malthusianism within the conservation movement. Not surprisingly, the latter two authors were intimately linked to other Rockefeller projects, as Osborn founded the Conservation Foundation in 1948, and Resources for the Future in 1952, while Vogt joined the Foundation in 1962 as their secretary. In addition, in 1952, Osborn’s cousin, Frederick Osborn, founded the Population Council — a Ford and Rockefeller Foundations-funded group that perhaps did the most to put the population issue on the public and political agenda. (See “The Philanthropic Roots of Corporate Environmentalism.”)

    Also active during this period of history was the population activist and businessman Hugh Moore, who in 1954 published a widely dispersed pamphlet called The Population Bomb. Consequently, it is little wonder that the ideas presenting in Paul Ehrlich’s best-selling book The Population Bomb (Sierra Club, 1968) drew heavily upon the Malthusianism ideas already presented by America’s leading population-control advocates. The importance of Ehrlich’s work in adversely influencing the environmental movement has been highlighted by leading feminist writer Betsy Hartmann, who considers Ehrlich to be the scientist most responsible for “populariz[ing] the [false] belief that overpopulation is the main cause of the environmental crisis.”

    This brings us back to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), a group that was formed in 1988 — and formerly known as Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population Australia — “by people who felt that the issue of population numbers was overlooked, or regarded as too contentious, by many of those striving to preserve Australia’s ecological heritage.” Despite the long-term support that the population movement has received from the mainstream media and philanthropic elites, with no hint of irony Sustainable Population Australia argue that: “The vested interests of the population-growth lobby — which has billions of dollars invested in real estate and development projects — were a taboo subject for the media; yet anyone who argued against this lobby was liable to be accused of being part of (or a stooge for) some unspecified rightwing conspiracy!” This statement merely serves to illustrate how misunderstood the population question is.

    As might be expected, the activities of Sustainable Population Australia are intimately enmeshed with the more conservative parts of the environmental movement, as SPA’s current president, John Coulter, presently serves a Council member of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF). Moreover, this link is strengthened through the presence of the ACF’s president, Professor Ian Lowe, on Sustainable Population Australia’s board of patrons, along with Frank Fenner, who served as the ACF’s vice president from 1971 until 1973. Similarly two of their five-person strong executive committee include Gordon Hocking, who has served as the president of the Sydney Branch of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and Paddy Weaver, who has served three terms on the Western Australia Conservation Council executive, and as a convenor of Environment 2000.

    Finally, another patron of Sustainable Population Australia’s work who ranks among Australia’s most influential environmental writers is Professor Tim Flannery, who wrote the recent bestselling book The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change (Text Publishing, 2005). Perhaps his link to the “population crowd” is understandable though, especially considering that Clive Hamilton’s critique of his book, which was published in the Sydney Morning Herald in August 2006, noted that WWF-Australia’s president Robert Purves “has drawn Tim Flannery into the orbit of conservative environmentalism by funding the preparation of Flannery’s book on climate change, The Weather Makers.” Hamilton adds that “Flannery’s book … sends the sort of message the Government wants us to hear”; as Hamilton correctly observes that “Flannery’s ‘firm belief’ that we can be saved only if consumers take the initiative is one he shares with the ideologues of the right-wing think tanks who argue that environmental problems should be left to the unfettered market.”

    Yet the insidious nature of the population issue with regards to environmental politics goes far beyond the likes of mainstream voices like Professor Lowe and Professor Flannery, as even Hamilton himself has leant his support to Sustainable Population Australia’s work: thus at the group’s March 2008 conference, Hamilton gave his “after dinner speech,” while the conferences keynote speech was given by Professor John Guillebaud — a key British-based population control advocate who sits alongside Paul Ehrlich and Jane Goodall on the board of patrons of a “leading think tank in the UK concerned with the impact of population growth on the environment” known as Optimum Population Trust. (1)

    The uncritical emphasis placed on the population issue is obviously highly problematic, but it is a predicament that is almost understandable given that to date so few researchers have questioned the detrimental influence of liberal philanthropy over the evolution of the environmental movement. This situation needs to change, and change it can; concerned citizens and environmentalists must begin to challenge the perverse logic of the population advocates, and offer alternative solutions to the climate crisis that deal with the real structural roots of inequality by challenging the legitimacy of capitalism itself, not people’s right to procreate.

    Notes

    1. For criticisms of Jane Goodall’s military connections see “Jane Goodall’s Elite Monkey Business,” and for further details about her population control work in Africa see “When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder.” (back)

  10. Max Shields said on May 4th, 2009 at 4:29am #

    The problem with Michael Barker’s argument is it doesn’t deal with the issue of population.

    Instead he goes after those who would claim it as one of several central issues.

    In other words, he never mentions the arguments behind over-population.

    Many (most) species go through times of overpopulations. Humans are no different. The sheer numbers speak for themselves that there has been an expotential growth in the human population world-wide.

    What does that mean to deforestation, to stripping the earth of minerals and energy sources, to sprawl that has eliminated open space at alarming rates; at water (rivers, streams, and lakes) populution.

    When you take the issue of energy needs and multiply that over population size the problem is unavoidable.

    Talking about “environmentalists” as if population is an “environmentalists” problem not a “real” problem” is much the same as the Bush admin did (and others are doing) by saying that global warming is an “environmentalists story to derail the American way of life”.

    Whether one is being critical or not in either of those case, Michael Barker, brings nothing to “another” side of the argument. “Uncritical” is the faux argument of someone without an argument.

  11. Jeff said on May 4th, 2009 at 5:56am #

    Overpopulation is a concept which the animal kingdom seems to have overlooked. Yes there are times we look and wonder how they do it. This all comes down to we human beings, supposedly of a higher intelligence, not recognizing our own weaknesses. Sustainable agriculture is not “mass produce at any cost” agriculture. Sustainable agriculture would eventually lead to the culling of the herds. The industrial revolution, as it is called, is not a revolution at all. Should have been called the industrial intervention. Most other revolutions over time have lead to further advance humankind knowledge, but also cull the herd. The intervention must have worked. We finally had reached critical mass, and now like a stock market, are controlled for profit. We are one pitiful bunch. Maybe that is the ultimate human dilemma. Which must die to save humankind? What screwed up minds concocted such scenario? I here morbid laughing in the background.

  12. Max Shields said on May 4th, 2009 at 6:47am #

    Jeff,
    Other living creatures have not escaped overpopulation. For sure when populations exceed the capacity to sustain them they either shrink, migrate or go into extinction.

    Humans are prone to the same excesses. Because humans require many times more resources to populate, we tend to upset the whole ecosystem of the planet. Our use and demand of energy to amplify our rather puny physical capacities, leads to massive excesses. Add to this ways of life (primarily in the West but not moving East and South) with consumption = freedom; we find endless war and total eco-destruction.

    This is all exaserbated by our growing population. The convergence of energy consumption, population explosions, and climate change create a perfect storm of collapse. It’s just impossible to imagine that endless uneconomic growth can be sustained much longer. What has kept us from the brink is we do reduce our consumptive habits – as we are now with the depressive economy and we did in the 70s with the peaking of oil reserves and availability. These reductions have merely postponed the inevitable.

    Population is important because the sheer numbers of humans explodes the problem. Our non-human and human systems are incapable of adjusting in ways that one good describe as a quality of living.

  13. Jeff said on May 4th, 2009 at 3:18pm #

    Max Shields, you can read between lines! Education is not free, it is right earned. That right allows you to pass it on.

  14. brian said on May 4th, 2009 at 4:23pm #

    why is World Vision collaborating with Monsanto? Are they so clueless as to be unaware of its nature????
    If they are why donate to them at all?

  15. Jeff said on May 4th, 2009 at 5:03pm #

    Brian, look to those whom control the coffers of the WV. You may see some whimsical findings!

  16. brian said on May 6th, 2009 at 8:49pm #

    People should write to World Vision and query this partnership…Im doing so.

  17. brian said on May 6th, 2009 at 9:00pm #

    my email to World Vision:

    Hello WV
    Its come to my attention that WV has brokered a relationship with chemical company Monsanto (infamous as the source of Agent Orange)
    http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/agentorange032102.cfm
    :

    ‘Over a period of several years Monsanto, a multi-billion dollar transnational corporation (TNC), has worked very hard to build its image as a champion of the poor. To legitimize this image it is engaged in a high profile effort through giving grants to some established NGOs such as the World Vision’
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/05/monsanto-and-its-philanthropy/#comment-45313

    Has World Vision no idea of what Monsanto is? You can begin here:
    ‘Reality Check

    GTM (Gaming The Market) gives a short list of grievances against Monsanto5 :

    1. 1917 US government suit against Monsanto over the safety of saccharin;
    2. 1965-1972 UK landfill illegal toxic waste dumping;
    3. Agent Orange chemical warfare;
    4. 1979 dioxin chemical spill Kemner v. Monsanto longest civil jury trial in U.S. history;
    5. Responsible for 56 contaminated Superfund sites;
    6. Anniston, Alabama mercury and PCB-laden waste discharged into local creeks over 40 years;
    7. Terminator seeds that lead to world food shortages, poverty, and death;
    8. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone Posilac (rBST) (rBGH);
    9. Using coercive tactics to monopolize world markets;
    10. Pursuing 500 cases annually against customers for “seed fraud”;
    11. Andhra Pradesh Government vs. Monsanto on India seed price fixing;
    12. US Department of Justice and US Securities and Exchange Commission criminal and civil charges for international bribing;
    13. False advertising for “biodegradable” Roundup weed killer;
    14. India child labor abuse in the manufacture of cotton-seeds;
    15. Farmers suicides in India;7
    16. Corporate tax evasion at Sauget, Illinois facility;
    17. Campaign against dairies which do not inject bovine growth hormone from advertising.’
    (ditto)

    Does World Vision consort with companies that behave as execrably as Monsanto has? Just to gain a few charitable dollars?
    What does Tim Costello think of this association? Do india’s farmer suicides not concern him

    regards
    Brian S

  18. brian said on May 6th, 2009 at 9:44pm #

    Norman Borlaug and Monsanto: brother in arms (no surprise that these two find common cause!):

    http://southwestfarmpress.com/news/monsanto-scholarship-program-0331/

  19. Lyn Johns said on July 3rd, 2009 at 10:45pm #

    God is inside me as He is in you. He is going to write a book to evil men through me. He is tired of the filth created by man, the filth upon the Earth that man has created, and the filth that lies within the man where the man’s evil grows.

    I had grown very weary and tired myself. I am sick with multiple health issues I don’t understand. God pushes me to continue with my research to heal myself without the poisoned medicines man has created that only bring death more quickly. Many men respect not what God created, provided and instilled in them. They no longer see or believe there is a God or understand God’s wrath. Man is going to learn much about God’s wrath.

    Prayer changes things. I pray for the destruction of evil upon the Earth and in the man. I seek no disaster of many, only upon the men who breed evil for personal gain. Secret societies and evil leaders of governments are made up of many who rape and torture all of God’s goodness. Evil men will come to know their intentionally driven sins against the Earth and humanity are coming to an end they blindly created themselves. Men cannot breed evil without evil destroying them. What men have done will come back and be done unto them to their violent ends.

    I’m no one important among us all, just a child of God who has found
    her purpose for being here. I asked many times, through many difficult years since I was young, why am I here, what is my purpose. I now see I am not to question, just know that I am where I’m supposed to be. I had often felt lonely at points in my life, but there came a moment when I knew I was meant to be silent so that I could hear God’s Word to me.

    You have provided this informative, practical and God-approved website that speaks what God feels, and I am here to say God’s Word will once again be put into print. God rules, God rocks, God wins!

  20. Annie Ladysmith said on August 18th, 2009 at 11:08pm #

    All these One World conglomerates sound the same. They all have the same LAME message. All the people of the world hate them and they are not fooling anyone, they are just plain evil and will do anything to get control of the world’s food production and distribution. They want to put their logo on every seed. They can stick their rotten corn cobs up their corporate a**.

    World Vision, no surprise there, i gave up on them a few years ago. They are to charity as the Rothchilds are to a savings account.