sábado, enero 30, 2010

EU Farmers Face Genetic Contamination of Seeds

By Julio Godoy

BERLIN, Jan 29, 2010 (IPS) - Biodiversity, already decaying fast as a result of climate change and intensive farming, is under further threat by genetic modification (GM) of seeds, says a leading German ecological activist.

Genetic modification of seeds is dangerous, "since it is at the beginning of the agricultural chain, and can spread all over," says Benedikt Haerlin, former campaign manager at the environmental organisation Greenpeace and former member of the European Parliament.

Haerlin now leads the global ‘Save our Seeds’ campaign in cooperation with some 300 environmental organisations across Europe.

The campaign is currently calling attention to plans by the European Commission (EC) to tolerate "accidental or technically unavoidable" contamination of conventional seed with GM varieties.

In September 2004, the EC sought to pass a directive allowing up to 0.7 percent of GM organisms (GMO) in maize and oilseed rape seed without being labelled.

But fierce protests by organic farmers and environmental organisations forced the EC to withdraw the proposal. Since then, EC has not submitted any new recommendations.

Some commissioners, such as Stavros Dimas, who was in charge of environment between 2004 and 2009, have even questioned whether thresholds are necessary. Although the mandate for the present EC ended last October, Dimas is still serving as commissioner for environment until a new commission is approved and takes office.

"The official position of the EC remains, however, that a new proposal for the specification of threshold values for genetic contamination of seed is in the works," Haerlin told IPS.

Haerlin said that calling such contamination "accidental or technically unavoidable" with GMOs is misleading. "For fodder or even food, that genetic contamination under 0.9 percent is not declared can be acceptable," Haerlin explained. "At least, I can be sure that such contamination won't spread to other areas of life."

This is not the case with seeds, he said. "GM seeds can contaminate the fields of peasants and farmers who oppose them. After contamination, they would be forced to prove the origin of the pollution.

‘’Farmers using what they believe are organic seeds, but which have been genetically contaminated, would continue using part of the polluted crop as seeds for the next season, and multiply and spread the contamination, " he said.

"The most important impact of GM agriculture is on the social and economic conditions of farmers," Haerlin told IPS. "In general, GM agriculture makes farmers dependent on the big agrochemical business, and also provokes conflicts between peasants and landowners."

Haerlin accused the agrochemical giants that control the market for GM seeds to use "back doors and bad legislation to put their seeds on the market. They know that otherwise they would not sell their seeds."

Haerlin warned that research and development in agriculture is taking place "more and more only in the chemistry labs, and not on the field, and are concentrated in only a handful of companies." Because of this, organic, traditional seeds are disappearing, he said.

"The environmental consequences are enormous and extremely dangerous, and, once they have happened, it will be too late to turn back the tide," Haerlin said.

According to environmental and agriculture experts, 25 years ago there were at least 7,000 seed growers worldwide, and none of them controlled more than one percent of the global market.

Today, after a takeover spree, ten major biochemical multinationals, including Monsanto, DuPont-Pioneer, Syngenta, Bayer Cropscience, BASF and Dow Agrosciences, control more than 50 percent of the seeds market.

"The goal of these companies is, of course, to make profits," Haerlin told IPS. "In order to improve their profits, they all apply one strategy to increase their control of the market: they impose upon farmers worldwide the so-called vertical integration of inputs, from seeds to fertilisers to pesticides, all from one brand."

Such "vertical integration of agricultural inputs" has transformed agriculture in developing countries into a two-class business, Angelika Hillbeck, researcher on bio-safety and agriculture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, told IPS.

"In the developing countries there is a class of farmers with large plantations and enough money who can afford to buy all inputs from the major biochemical companies, from seeds and fertilisers to pesticides and conservatives,’’ she said.

But there are small farmers for whom the biochemical markets are out of reach. Additionally GM seeds have crowded out organic seeds, reduced botanical diversity, especially in developing countries, and contributed to a further decimation of biodiversity.

All European Union (EU) member countries have joined the United Nations campaign declaring 2010 ‘The Year of Biodiversity’ in an effort to emphasise the need to protect variety in flora and fauna. The U.N., which launched the campaign on Jan. 11 in Berlin, has recognised that the objective set in 2003 to stop the decimation of biodiversity by 2010 would not be reached.

This European engagement in favour of biodiversity appears to be only lip service to the environment cause since, in reality, European institutions support biochemical multinationals that are out to make genetic contamination legal.

Additionally, European institutions appear to have revolving doors connecting some of their leading officers to private biochemical and agribusiness companies - as the case of Suzy Renckens shows.

Renckens was until 2008 head of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)’s GMO Unit and coordinator of the European scientific expert panel dealing with GMOs. One month after she quit the EFSA, Renckens became head of Biotech Regulatory Affairs for Europe, Africa and Middle East at Syngenta, one of the largest European agribusiness companies.

In her own words, Renckens now lobbies on behalf of Syngenta to influence EU decision-making on genetically engineered organisms. This is the very same issue she was responsible for regulating while with the EFSA.

Haerlin said that ‘Save our Seeds’ has formulated a petition, addressed to the EC and other political authorities in Europe, calling for a ban of GMOs in seeds.

The petition, which has been so far signed by well over 200,000 citizens all over the EU, says that "the uncontrolled spread and propagation of GMOs is incompatible with the precautionary protection of the environment and human health."

The petition also says that "the purity of seeds has to be ensured by those who produce or wish to grow GMOs and not by those who wish to continue farming and consuming products without GMOs."

"Costs arising from this obligation must not be borne by consumers and certainly not by farmers," the petition adds. "Liabilities will have to be covered by the producers of GMOs. Such a guarantee may have to be ensured in other directives, regulations and legislation before the proposed directive enters into force."

The initiative ‘Save our Seeds’ is being coordinated by the Berlin-based Foundation on Future Farming, which primarily supports the development and breeding of organic seed.


Genetically Modified Wheat

Monsanto, the agricultural biotechnology company, genetically modified a variety of hard red spring wheat to resist the company's Roundup herbicide.

The environment and economy of the Northern Great Plains are threatened by the potential introduction of this genetically modified (GM) wheat. Questions about market acceptance, farmer liability, segregation, and risks to the environment and human health remain unanswered.

We are working to prevent the commercial introduction of GM wheat until these questions are answered.

In May 2004, Monsanto announced that it was shelving research and development on genetically modified (GM) wheat. The announcement followed five years of opposition by wheat farmers, consumers, and food safety activists to the commercial introduction of Roundup Ready wheat.

Market resistance to GM wheat

A 2003 report by Dr. Robert Wisner - a leading grain market economist at Iowa State University - shows the commercial introduction of genetically modified wheat in the next several years could cause major risk to the U.S. wheat industry.

After examining data on existing markets, consumer trends, and grain handling and transportation systems, Dr. Wisner concluded that the commercial introduction of genetically modified wheat could result in the loss of 30% to 50% of U.S. spring wheat export markets, and a reduction of up to one-third in U.S. prices for hard red spring and durum wheat.

On August 23, 2006, WORC released a second update to the Market Risks report. The update found that consumer attitudes towards GM crops are unchanged. The update also responds to claims made by some U.S. wheat growers that GM wheat would reverse declining wheat acres.

* Read WORC's news release for Dr. Wisner's response.

WORC issued a third update of the report by Dr. Neal Blue, a grain market consultant and former research economist at Ohio State Universityon January 27, 2010. A Review of the Potential Market Impacts of Commercializing GM Wheat in the U.S. concludes that wheat buyers in Europe, Japan, and other Asian countries are likely to switch to GM-free
wheat from other countries if GM wheat is introduced in this country. As a result, the price of U.S. hard red spring wheat would fall 40%, and the price of durum wheat would drop 57%.

* Read news release of Dr. Blue's report.


providing background information for the
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)

phone....... +49-531-5168746
fax......... +49-531-5168747
email....... hartmut.meyer(*)genet-info.org
skype....... hartmut_meyer
url......... www.genet-info.org

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viernes, enero 29, 2010


Las alegaciones de que el terremoto en Haití fue provocado por Estados Unidos no tienen fundamento alguno. El que exista un proyecto HAARP con posibles aplicaciones para alterar el clima y hasta causar sismos no significa automáticamente que el terremoto en Haití haya sido causado por el hombre. Bien podría ser cierto, pero las argumentaciones que he visto a ese efecto hasta ahora no las encuentro nada convincentes.

¡Por favor! Terremotos, huracanes y maremotos ocurren en este planeta desde antes que existiera vida. Realmente ofende al intelecto esta moda de pensamiento seudocrítico que atribuye todos los males del mundo- ¡hasta los desastres naturales!- a una gran conspiración. Creo que esto de las teorías de conspiración ha ido demasiado lejos, y se está convirtiendo en un verdadero cáncer mental que está estorbando nuestras capacidades de pensamiento crítico y análisis racional. Como periodista les puedo decir que teorías como esa no se toman en serio en ninguna sala de redacción, pues nunca aguantan un análisis crítico.

Y me preocupa que aparezca Global Research entre las fuentes de estas alegaciones. Global Research no tiene ninguna credibilidad, ¡Absolutamente ninguna! Los artículos que produce ese tanque de pensamiento pueden ser halagadores para lectores con una visión de mundo izquierdosa, pero cuando se analizan con detenimiento resultan tener una línea ideológica maniqueísta, simplista y totalmente problemática. William Engdahl, jefe de Global Research, escribió un libro sobre transgénicos que es la cosa más histérica, sensacionalista, irresponsable y mal investigada que he visto en mucho tiempo- repleto de inferencias absurdas, informaciones de segunda mano (casi recurriendo al plagio) y teorías de conspiración basadas en culpa por asociación. En pocas palabras, mal periodismo. Lo único que demostró Engdahl es que uno puede ser oponente de los transgénicos y a la vez ser charlatán.

Moraleja: no crean informaciones simplemente porque les sean halagadoras.

Escéptico pero no incrédulo
29 de enero 2010

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Periodico El Rehen

¿Qué es el Rehén?


El Periódico El Rehén nace en abril del 2009, el cual es publicado cada dos meses. Surge de la necesidad de un tablón de expresión publica para aquellos interesados en crear, exponer, preguntar, opinar, educar, compartir, organizar, desorganizar, contar, exponer al publico ideas, palabras, juegos, dibujos, fotografía, oportunidades, eventos. Su función es comunicar, entrelazar diferentes eventos, entidades, pensamientos dentro y fuera de la isla de Puerto Rico. Como tablón de expresión publica no tiene editores de CONTENIDO, lo que significa que no creemos en la CENSURA. Así que no te quedes con las ideas en la cabeza, somete.


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jueves, enero 28, 2010

El Mundo según Monsanto (en español)

El Mundo según Monsanto traza la historia del principal fabricante de organismos genéticamente modificados, cuyos granos de soja, maíz y algodón se propagan por el mundo pese a las alertas ecologistas. El documental señala los peligros resultantes del crecimiento exponencial de los cultivos de transgénicos, que en 2007 cubrían 100 millones de hectáreas, con propiedades genéticas patentadas en un 90% por Monsanto.

La directora del documental, la francesa Marie-Monique Robin, centró su película -y un libro del mismo título- en la empresa de Saint-Louis (Misuri, EEUU), que en más de un siglo de existencia fue fabricante del PCB (piraleno), del agente naranja usado como herbicida en la guerra de Vietnam y de hormonas de incremento de la producción láctea prohibidas en Europa.

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lunes, enero 25, 2010



domingo, enero 24, 2010

El Molino, maquinaria creativa que a través de los procesos de moler ideas y lograr un producto único hecho por las manos de artistas locales, no tiene limite de lo que puede manufacturar. Trabajamos con diseño gráfico, consultas, creación de logos, hacemos 'stationery', set design, diseño de ropa y arte, fotografía, you name it. ¿Cómo lo logramos? El Molino tiene una red de artistas creativos jóvenes listos a participar en los diferentes proyectos y lograr algo único, 'tailor-made' y efectivo. A diferencia de otros, El Molino considera todo trabajo parte de su obra artística y se trabaja mucho con las manos y el papel, no solamente la pantalla y el mouse.

para más información: http://www.elmolinostudio.blogspot.com/, elmolinostudio@gmail.com

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sábado, enero 23, 2010

The Science Simplified: How genetic material from GMO corn finds its way to our gut

By Krista Beckley

There have been several reports recently about genetic material from GMO corn making its way into soil, animals and insects. (The study these reports refer to appeared in the Journal of Chemical Ecology in July - Hart et. al 2009) The concept of how these genes enter into other organisms and food systems is often convoluted, and worth laying out again for readers who may have questions.

However the implications for the uptake of certain genes into the food system could have far reaching effects on human health well before scientists are aware of what is actually going on.

The process of how genes move from crops, for instance RoundupReadyⓇ corn, to the environment is not an effect of the use of GMOs, it is a process that occurs naturally in every ecosystem because of bacteria. Bacteria is present in everything in the food system from the soil to the plants themselves. Bacteria undergoes what is called transformation- DNA is taken up through cell-to-cell connections and is utilized by the bacteria in several ways. It is generally believed that this occurs in order to aid the bacteria such that new DNA can help it evolve, gain higher fitness, or for other novel functions. The DNA during transformation does recombine with the bacterial DNA, however, this does not necessarily mean that the DNA will be expressed or change any function of the cell.

The concern raised by this recent study is that bacteria which undergoes transformation is also present in the gut of animals and insects. This means that even though the odds are low that the DNA taken up by eating plant material with transgenic modification will effect our gut cells, the possibility for a change in function of these cells is always there. Although this is true with anything we ingest, the human population has evolved with the plants we eat and thus problems associated with transformation are rare and due to novel genomes of food stuffs.

Although studies have yet to be conducted in large scale human populations, animals can uptake foreign DNA into the blood stream and intestinal cells (Schubbert et. al. 1993) and mice fed transgenic Bt crops have shown structural changes in their intestines (Fares, et, al. (1999). These findings are in addition to the fact that transgenic feed can alter the level of nutrients actually available for the body to use (Malatesta (2009)- which could, for instance, decrease the strength of the body to fight infection and disease.

The reality is that given the amount of transgenic food we eat over our lifetimes, the odds that our gut bacteria will take up the part of the DNA that has been altered -which could negatively effect the function of our cells- increases significantly. The implications for these radical alterations to our cells due to transgenic crops are not well studied. However, it is well known that these constant assaults on our gut bacteria can lead to higher mutation rates of cells- which can lead to higher rates of disease and cancer.

Fares, Nagui H. and Adel K. El-Sayed (1999). Fine Structural Changes in the Ileum of Mice Fed on -Endotoxin-Treated Potatoes and Transgenic Potatoes. Natural Toxins Vol. 6 Iss. 6, 219-233.

Hart et. al.(2009) Detection of transgenic cp4 epsps genese in the soil food web. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 29, 497-501.

Malatesta, M. (2009). Animal feeding trails for assessing GMO safety: answers and questions. Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 4, 068, 1-13.

Schubbert, R., Lettmann, C., Doerffler, W. (1994). Ingested foreign (phage M 13) DNA survives transiently in the gastrointestinal tract and enters the bloodstream of mice. Mol. Genet. 242, 495

SOURCE: http://www.foodfirst.org/en/node/2763

ESPAÑA: Organizaciones de agricultores, consumidores, ecologistas y de cooperación recurren ante el defensor del pueblo por la imposición de los transgénicos

Denuncian que el Gobierno favorece los intereses de las multinacionales frente al derecho a una alimentación y una agricultura libres de transgénicos.

Esta mañana se han reunido representantes de las organizaciones Amigos de la Tierra, CECU, COAG, Ecologistas en Acción, Entrepueblos, Greenpeace, Plataforma Rural, Red de Semillas y Veterinarios sin Fronteras con Enrique Múgica Herzog para trasladarle la enorme preocupación de la sociedad civil ante la agresión a los derechos sociales, económicos y culturales que supone el cultivo y el uso de los transgénicos en España.

Con la presentación del documento Exposición acerca del desamparo ante la ley de la alimentación y agricultura libre de organismos modificados genéticamente, estas organizaciones, que consideran imprescindible la misión del Defensor del Pueblo en la protección y la defensa de los derechos fundamentales y las libertades públicas, denuncian la actitud del Gobierno español en materia de transgénicos. La reunión ha sido satisfactoria para todos los asistentes y el defensor del pueblo se ha mostrado interesado en la queja que se ha formulado basada en la documentación entregada.

El Gobierno sigue tolerando el cultivo a gran escala de Organismos Modificados Genéticamente (OMG) en territorio español en contra de la mayoría social y frente a la actitud de precaución adoptada por países como Francia, Austria, Alemania, Hungría, Luxemburgo, Polonia, Irlanda, Grecia o Italia, que mantienen moratorias y prohibiciones a su cultivo. Los niveles de irresponsabilidad política en el Gobierno han alcanzado cuotas peligrosas. De hecho, y por primera vez, el Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, Medio Rural y Marino reconoció el pasado mes de octubre la existencia de personas y de empresas que han sufrido los efectos de la política de transgénicos llevada a cabo por el Ejecutivo español (1). Pero lejos de ejercer un contrapeso al constante y agresivo lobby de las multinacionales agrobiotecnológicas, sigue rechazando tratar los asuntos que las organizaciones ecologistas, agrarias y sociales llevan años poniendo sobre la mesa, tales como la falta de transparencia en los mecanismos de aprobación, evaluación y control, la ausencia de registros públicos de los cultivos transgénicos, las irregularidades en el etiquetado de los alimentos transgénicos, o los reiterados casos de contaminación, etc (2).

Desde hace una década las organizaciones de la sociedad civil denuncian los efectos sociales, ambientales y económicos de la presencia de maíz transgénico en España. La alimentación y la agricultura libres de transgénicos se encuentran en una situación de indefensión total y abocadas a la desaparición, de no poner una remedio inmediato a la actual situación. Frente a las 76.000 ha de maíz transgénico MON 810 de la multinacional Monsanto que se cultivan en España, la agricultura y la ganadería ecológicas siguen siendo víctimas de la multinacional y de la complicidad del Gobierno.

Además, las organizaciones que se han reunido hoy con el Defensor del Pueblo consideran que la situación actual no reconoce el derecho de consumidoras y consumidores a elegir si quieren o no ingerir transgénicos.

Las entidades presentes en la reunión han solicitado al Defensor del Pueblo:

· un dictamen sobre la situación de desamparo legal de la agricultura y alimentación 100% libre de organismos genéticamente modificados

· en su caso, una propuesta de modificación legislativa que garantizaría el amparo legal de la agricultura y alimentación 100% libre de OMG

· el traslado de su dictamen y propuestas a las instituciones pertinentes.


[1] En el orden del día de la Segunda Reunión del Grupo de Trabajo de OGM del Consejo Asesor de Medio Ambiente (CAMA), convocada para el 21 de octubre de 2009 por el Ministerio, aparece un punto en el que se dice textualmente: “Coexistencia de maíz modificado genéticamente con maíz convencional y ecológico. Experiencias de agricultores afectados”.

Ver Comunicado de Prensa del 22 de octubre de 2009


[2] Al informe presentado al Defensor del Pueblo le acompañan, entre otra, documentación sobre:

- Evidencias científicas sobre los impactos y riesgos del maíz transgénicos cultivado en España


- Casos de contaminación genética de agricultores y empresas ecológicas por transgénicos


- Datos que muestran la contaminación generalizada de los alimentos por transgénicos.


Para más información :

Liliane Spendeler, Amigos de la Tierra: 91 306 9921 – 653968935

Prensa de Amigos de la Tierra, Teresa Rodríguez: 680 936 327 - 913069900

Juan-Felipe Carrasco, Greenpeace: 91 444 14 00 - 626 99 82 44

Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción: 619 94 90 53

Prensa Ecologistas en Acción, José Vicente Barcia: 91 531 27 39 - 658654993

Andoni García, COAG: 636 451 569

Prensa COAG, Rubén Villanueva: 629164612

Ana Echenique, CECU: 619 955 277

Red de Semillas, Juanma González: 618-676-116

Fuente: Amigos de la Tierra

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viernes, enero 22, 2010

Taller de Introducción a la Panadería Artesanal Orgánica

Casa Ramón Power y Giralt, Viejo San Juan

Haz tu propio pan durante este Taller de Introducción a la Panadería Artesanal Orgánica, ofrecido por Joanny Lozada, conocida panadera del Mercado Orgánico de la Placita Roosevelt. Durante este taller, aprenderás sobre la historia del pan y el beneficio de producir tu propio pan orgánico. Finalmente, pondrás tus manos a la masa al amasar, fermentar, formar, levar y hornear tu propio pan artesanal. Confeccionarás distintos tipos de panes y saborearás el delicioso resultado final.

Fechas: sábado, 23 de enero de 2010

sábado, 30 de enero de 2010

Nivel 1

Hora: 9:00am a 4:00pm

Aportación: individuos $50.00

amigos individuos $25.00


Llama: 787.722.5844

Escribe: amigos@fideicomiso.org

Visita: www.fideicomiso.org

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jueves, enero 21, 2010

January 21, 2010

The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels. More than a quarter of the total U.S. grain crop was turned into ethanol to fuel cars last year. With 200 ethanol distilleries in the country set up to transform food into fuel, the amount of grain processed has tripled since 2004.

U.S. Grain Used for Ethanol, 1980-2009

The United States looms large in the world food economy: it is far and away the world’s leading grain exporter, exporting more than Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Russia combined. In a globalized food economy, increased demand for food to fuel American vehicles puts additional pressure on world food supplies.

From an agricultural vantage point, the automotive hunger for crop-based fuels is insatiable. The Earth Policy Institute has noted that even if the entire U.S. grain crop were converted to ethanol (leaving no domestic crop to make bread, rice, pasta, or feed the animals from which we get meat, milk, and eggs), it would satisfy at most 18 percent of U.S. automotive fuel needs.

When the growing demand for corn for ethanol helped to push world grain prices to record highs between late 2006 and 2008, people in low-income grain-importing countries were hit the hardest. The unprecedented spike in food prices drove up the number of hungry people in the world to over 1 billion for the first time in 2009. Though the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has recently brought food prices down from their peak, they still remain well above their long-term average levels.

Number of Undernourished People in the World,  1969-2009

The amount of grain needed to fill the tank of an SUV with ethanol just once can feed one person for an entire year.


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Este jueves 21 de enero, 7pm

en la Eco-Aldea La Chakra, Cupey Bajo

En celebración de las tradiciones medicinales de Puerto Rico y el mundo entero presentamos el documental: Ayurveda: The Art of Being (102 minutos, subtítulos en inglés)

En este documental realizado con una sensibilidad exquisita en cada toma se pasean los secretos de este arte de la curación milenario. Una medicina que ya preconizaba hace siglos que la salud es cosa de la inteligencia y que hay que internarse dentro del cerebro para sanar el cuerpo. Desde ejemplos de personas con cáncer, con problemas de visión, de artrosis, etc. los diferentes personajes dan testimonio de los logros de la Ayurveda. El uso de plantas medicinales, de minerales, de piedras preciosas debidamente tratadas se convierten en una arsenal farmacológico al que la medicina alopática o convencional no puede superar. Porqué además de las pócimas, de los masajes y de la dieta, la ayurveda insiste en la importancia del estilo de vida. Todos los problemas de salud, desde la obesidad, las enfermedades coronarias, las patologías neurológicas son producto de los excesos a los que nuestra sociedad nos incita.

Además, estará con nosotros Julie Mercado, maestra en la ciencia de la nutrición Ayurveda, para hablarnos un poco más y contestar algunas de nuestra preguntas.

$5 para apoyar a La Chakra- con palomillas de maíz, té, café...

Más información y direcciones de como llegar: 787
538- 5162


***** Se reabren las puertas de La Chakra después de un pequeño receso. ¿Cómo han estado? Nosotros descansados y con muchos nuevos planes para compartir con ustedes. Los extrañamos... ojalá puedan pasar por acá este jueves.

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miércoles, enero 20, 2010

Qué hay de nuevo con Monsanto

Boletín N° 368 de la Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos

Monsanto fue declarada como la empresa del año por la revista Forbes por su comportamiento económico en el 2009. Sin embargo, Monsanto tiene una pésima imagen.

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Cambio climático: fracasos y parteaguas

Silvia Ribeiro, Investigadora del Grupo ETC

La reunión de Naciones Unidas sobre cambio climático que se realizó en Copenhague en diciembre 2009 fue, como anunciaron titulares de todo el mundo, un fracaso. Pero también un parteaguas en muchos sentidos. Me parece útil acercarnos más al contenido de ambas cosas.

Por un lado, como mencioné en artículos anteriores, se les acabó la tranquilidad social a los señores que pretendían negociar más comercio de carbono y nuevas tecnologías sofisticadas, caras y patentadas, para resolver la crisis climática, sean éstos empresas o gobiernos. No quiere decir que no lo sigan haciendo, pero la movilización y denuncia social les cortó el circo, el montaje mediático. También se resquebrajó la careta pseudo-crítica de muchas organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG) que participan como sociedad civil dentro de esta Convención, pero que están vinculadas directa o indirectamente a las industrias causantes del cambio climático.

Un ejemplo: el Observatorio Europeo de Corporaciones, con una coalición de varias organizaciones internacionales, organizó el concurso La sirenita enfadada (en alusión a la estatua símbolo de la ciudad de Copenhague), para denunciar el cabildeo corporativo que intenta disfrazar actividades que empeoran el cambio climático, presentándolas como si fueran soluciones. Entre los nominados estaban Shell, la Asociación Internacional de Comercio de Emisiones, el Instituto Americano del Petróleo y otras. Se pueden ver todas las nominadas y las razones para ello en www.angrymermaid.org/es. Finalmente, el 15 de diciembre, el premio a la peor empresa lo ganó Monsanto, por la falacia de promover los cultivos transgénicos como solución al cambio climático, intentando además, a través de aliados gubernamentales, legitimarlos como sumideros de carbono. Es significativo que la multinacional conservacionista Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza (WWF, por sus siglas en inglés), también mereció una mención adjunta, por participar con Monsanto en la llamada Mesa Redonda de la Soya Responsable, que intenta justificar la criminal expansión tóxica de la soya en Brasil y el sur de América Latina.

También hubieron parteaguas entre representantes de gobiernos dentro de la Convención.

Como trasfondo, la presidencia danesa se dedicó de forma vergonzosa a favorecer procesos antidemocráticos y reuniones secretas y/o cerradas entre algunos países auto-considerados significativos. Participaron en esas reuniones los gobiernos de los países que son los principales causantes del cambio climático global –que afecta y amenaza seriamente a otros países–; que en lugar de asumir la gravedad de los hechos y proponer medidas reales para reducir sus emisiones (lo cual hubiera sido una verdadera novedad), se dedicaron a evitar cualquier cambio sustancial de la situación. Más tarde intentaron en el plenario sacar a la fuerza un acuerdo para presentar a la prensa y el mundo como una victoria histórica. Es una dinámica como en la Organización Mundial de Comercio –donde todo se discute y se impone a los demás desde la Sala Verde del director general, entre unos pocos países auto-elegidos. Tal como en esa institución, se sumaron a este juego los gobiernos de países emergentes como Brasil, India y China. Igual que en la OMC, algunos gobiernos de países pobres (en este caso Etiopía y Bangladesh) fueron comprados para aparentar representatividad.

Pero esta vez hubo una fuerte respuesta desde el plenario. Delegados de países como Bolivia, Venezuela, Sudán y otros, se negaron a representar el papel de idiotas útiles que les tenían asignados y no permitieron que esa dinámica de intrigas secretas entre países significativos y la desastrosa propuesta de acuerdo que salió de ella, fuera impuesta a todos los demás. La reacción no se hizo esperar. Varios oficiales europeos y estadunidenses, con el eco de diversos medios de prensa oficialistas, acusaron a esos países del fracaso de la reunión, como si ellos fueran los que se negaron a un acuerdo para enfrentar el cambio climático.

Es útil recordar que más allá de declaraciones a la prensa, según cálculos del propio secretariado de la Convención, el conjunto de todas las reducciones de emisiones propuestas por los países industrializados durante las negociaciones, equivale a un aumento de la temperatura global de más de tres grados para el año 2050, lo cual en la práctica significa planear fríamente la hecatombe humana, alimentaria y ambiental de varios países isleños, africanos y otros, como Bolivia, que perderían sus glaciares y la vital fuente de agua que ellos significan. Por tanto, nunca hubo de parte de los causantes del cambio climático una propuesta que no fuera un fracaso. Lo bueno fue que no lograron presentar su fracaso como victoria.

La movilización social fue fundamental para ello. Otra reacción inmediata a estos juegos de espejos que no asumen la tragedia real del cambio climático fue la convocatoria que lanzó Bolivia a realizar una Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra en abril de este año, para debatir las verdaderas causas del cambio climático y las propuestas para enfrentarlo desde la base de las sociedades.

Fuente: La Jornada

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domingo, enero 17, 2010

Tell USDA That You Care About GE Contamination of Organic Food!

In 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its illegal approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa. The federal courts sided with CFS and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the plant on the environment, farmers, and the public in a rigorous analysis known as an environmental impact statement (or EIS). USDA released its draft EIS on December 14, 2009. A 60-day comment period is now open until February 16, 2010. This is the first time the USDA has done this type of analysis for any GE crop. Therefore, the final decision will have broad implications for all GE crops.

CFS has begun analyzing the EIS and it is clear that the USDA has not taken the concerns of non-GE alfalfa farmers, organic dairies, or consumers seriously. USDA’s preliminary determination is to once again deregulate GE alfalfa without any limitations or protections for farmers or the environment. Instead USDA has completely dismissed the fact that contamination will threaten export and domestic markets and organic meat and dairy products. And, incredibly, USDA is claiming that there is no evidence that consumers care about such GE contamination of organic!

USDA also claims that consumers will not reject GE contamination of organic alfalfa if the contamination is unintentional or if the transgenic material is not transmitted to the end milk or meat product, despite the fact that more than 75% of consumers believe that they are purchasing products without GE ingredients when they buy organic.

USDA claims that Monsanto’s seed contracts require measures sufficient to prevent genetic contamination, and that there is no evidence to the contrary. But in the lawsuit requiring this document, the Court found that contamination had already occurred in the fields of several Western states with these same business-as-usual practices in place!

USDA predicts that the approval of GE alfalfa would damage family farms and organic markets, yet doesn’t even consider any limitations or protections against this scenario. Small, family farmers are the backbone and future of American agriculture and must be protected. Organic agriculture provides many benefits to society: healthy foods for consumers, economic opportunities for family farmers and urban and rural communities, and a farming system that improves the quality of the environment. However, the continued vitality of this sector is imperiled by the complete absence of measures to protect organic production systems from GE contamination and subsequent environmental, consumer, and economic losses.

Tell USDA That You DO Care About GE Contamination of Organic Crops and Food!

Tell me more

Talking Points

Please edit the letter below as you see fit. Once your email has sent, you’ll be given the opportunity to download and print your comments. Please print 2 copies of your comments and mail them to the docket before February 16th! Your email comments will be collected and submitted at the close of the comment period as well.

For a full list of talking points with references and links to the EIS, supplemental documents, and a link to file your comment online directly with USDA, click the “tell me more” link.

*Please be aware that this is a Federal docket and any personal information you share may be publicly posted by USDA or other government agencies. For this reason, we have not required your street address to participate in this campaign. Your email address will not appear in comments collected through CFS.

SOURCE: http://ga3.org/campaign/alfalfaEIS

Ni para las ratas

Estudio científico revela que maíz de Monsanto genera daños en funciones renales y hepáticas de roedores

duración: 15:45 minutos
Descargar: MP3 – 10.8 MB

Un estudio publicado en la última edición de la revista científica Internacional Journal of Biological Sciences, que compara los efectos en ratas de tres variedades de maíz genéticamente modificadas, descubrió que los pesticidas utilizados sobre los transgénicos causan daños en riñones e hígado de dichos animales, así como también originan problemas en otros órganos de éstos.

El estudio, conducido por los científicos Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, François Roullier, Dominique Cellier y Gilles-Eric Séralini -de las universidades francesas de Caen y Rouen-, observó los efectos de las variedades de maíz transgénico NK 603, MON 810 y MON 863, los tres pertenecientes a la trasnacional semillera Monsanto.

Como parte del estudio, se alimentó a las ratas durante 90 días con las tres variedades del maíz transgénico de Monsanto, midiéndose sus efectos a través de exámenes de sangre y mediante pruebas que comprendieron aproximadamente 60 parámetros bioquímicos por órgano, comparándose estos resultados a su vez con las características que presentaban grupos de control a los que se alimentaba con variedades de maíz no transgénico.

Según los científicos, estos estudios constituyen un modelo para investigar los efectos que estas variedades de maíz genéticamente modificado tienen en otros mamíferos, para desentrañar las consecuencias para la salud que tiene para animales y humanos el someterse a una dieta sostenida a base de transgénicos, dado que el estudio sobre ratas indica que se produjeron daños sobre los riñones e hígado de éstas, pero también sobre el corazón, las glándulas suprarrenales, el bazo y el sistema hematopoyético.

Según los investigadores, su estudio señala “que esas variedades de maíz inducen un estado de toxicidad hepatorrenal.

Esto puede ser debido a los nuevos pesticidas (herbicidas o insecticidas) presentes en cada tipo de maíz transgénico, aunque efectos sobre el metabolismo no planificados debido a las propiedades mutagénicas del proceso de transformación del transgénico no pueden ser excluidas”.

Debido a esta evidencia, sugieren que se realice un estudio que compruebe los efectos sobre la salud a largo plazo de los transgénicos, que implique al menos dos años de investigación.

El estudio científico corrobora las críticas que movimientos sociales de todo el mundo han expresado con respecto a los productos de la transnacional del agronegocio, que además de dañar la salud de los consumidores perjudican la biodiversidad y privatizan las semillas.

Al respecto señaló David Sánchez, responsable de Agricultura y Alimentación de Amigos de la Tierra España: “Estos estudios demuestran que no es posible garantizar la seguridad de los alimentos transgénicos. Debemos aplicar el principio de precaución y retirar los transgénicos de nuestra agricultura y nuestra alimentación”.

GM corn causes organ problems in rats?


French investigators have published a reinterpretation of some feeding studies in small samples of rats. The studies were done originally by Monsanto to test three varieties of the company’s genetically modified corn. These investigators obtained the data from the feeding trials as the result of a court case in Europe, which Monsanto lost. They analyzed the data using their own statistical methods.

I found the paper extremely difficult to read, in part because it is written in exceptionally dense and opaque language, and in part because it presents the data in especially complicated tables and figures. I must confess to giving up trying to make sense of it and will simply present its conclusion:

our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity. This can be due to the new pesticides (herbicide or insecticide) present specifically in each type of GM maize, although unintended metabolic effects due to the mutagenic properties of the GM transformation process cannot be excluded…All three GM maize varieties contain a distinctly different pesticide residue associated with their particular GM event (glyphosate and AMPA in NK 603, modified Cry1Ab in MON 810, modified Cry3Bb1 in MON 863). These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown. Furthermore, any side effect linked to the GM event will be unique in each case as the site of transgene insertion and the spectrum of genome wide mutations will differ between the three modified maize types.

And here is Monsanto’s response. I would be most intererested to hear the opinion of animal toxicologists on these studies.


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Alertan sobre peligros de construir en el karso ante eventualidad de un terremoto

Mientras, el Presidente de la Comisión de Recursos Naturales de la Cámara de Representantes insiste en aprobar resolución que potenciaría daños en tal situación

miércoles, 13 de enero de 2009

San Juan – La organización conservacionista Ciudadanos del Karso (CDK) advirtió sobre las consecuencias graves que traería la aprobación de una resolución conjunta promovida por el Representante Eric Correa, Presidente de la Comisión de Recursos Naturales, Ambiente y Energía de este cuerpo legislativo, ante la eventualidad de que Puerto Rico sea afectado por un terremoto similar al ocurrido en Haití. La medida legislativa persigue dejar sin efecto un estudio realizado por el Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales, y ordenado por la Ley para la Protección y Conservación de la Fisiografía Cársica de Puerto Rico (Ley del Karso), con el propósito de garantizar su uso sostenible.

“El karso es una región sumamente inestable en términos geológicos debido, entre otras razones, por una gran densidad de cuevas y otras cavidades subterráneas. Como consecuencia, tiene un gran potencial a colapsos de sumideros, caída de rocas y deslizamientos de terrenos, sobre todo cuando es alterada por acciones humanas. Ante esta realidad, el Estudio del Karso delimitó un 35% del área total del karso en la Isla con el fin, entre otros, de prevenir la construcción de asentamientos urbanos y la ubicación de canteras nuevas, por lo que de aprobarse la resolución presentada por el Representante Correa, se estaría atentando contra la vida y propiedad de los residentes de esta zona en el país,” denunció Abel Vale Nieves, Presidente de CDK.

Este recordó los numerosos casos de comunidades afectadas en años recientes por el deslizamientos, caídas de rocas, y colapsos de sumideros en la región del karso, aún en la ausencia de un fenómeno telúrico. Entre los casos que destacó están la Urbanización Valle de Aramaná y el Centro de Diagnóstico y Tratamiento en Corozal, las urbanizaciones Monte Verde y Los Rosales II en Manatí, el complejo residencial Estancias de la Fuente en Toa Alta, la comunidad del barrio Unibón en Morovis, la urbanización Cerca del Cielo en Ponce, la comunidad de Alturas de Bélgica en Guánica, el sector Los Molinas en Lares, y recientemente el sector Pringamosa en Vega Alta, y el Barrio Pajuil en Hatillo, este último afectado por inundaciones tras haberse rellenado varios sumideros cercanos por un proyecto de urbanización.

“No ha sido la naturaleza la culpable de estos eventos (deslizamientos y hundimientos), sino el Gobierno, quién a través de sus acciones o falta de éstas, ha ocasionado estos desastres,” señaló el Presidente de CDK.

Este añadió además su preocupación por varias demandas radicadas por algunos dueños de canteras, el Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez (SUAGM), las farmacéuticas Abbott Laboratories, Pfizer y Merck Sharp & Dohme, y algunos municipios del norte de la Isla, impugnando la vigencia del Estudio del Karso, ”ya que son un atentado contra el desarrollo y la sostenibilidad de la Isla, pues ponen en peligro los abastos de agua de cerca de una cuarta parte de la población. Esperemos no tener que pasar por un evento similar al de Haití para entonces lamentarnos, cuando ya conocemos de antemano las consecuencias de actuar imprudententmente,” sentenció Vale Nieves, quién también se ha desempeñado como Presidente de la Federación Espeleológica de América Latina y del Caribe, y como Ex Secretario Adjunto de la Unión Internacional de Espeleología.


Abel Vale Nieves (CDK): (787) 384-4406

Marian González (CDK): (787) 781-4550

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sábado, enero 16, 2010

El Mundo según Monsanto (en español)

El Mundo según Monsanto traza la historia del principal fabricante de organismos genéticamente modificados, cuyos granos de soja, maíz y algodón se propagan por el mundo pese a las alertas ecologistas. El documental señala los peligros resultantes del crecimiento exponencial de los cultivos de transgénicos, que en 2007 cubrían 100 millones de hectáreas, con propiedades genéticas patentadas en un 90% por Monsanto.

La directora del documental, la francesa Marie-Monique Robin, centró su película -y un libro del mismo título- en la empresa de Saint-Louis (Misuri, EEUU), que en más de un siglo de existencia fue fabricante del PCB (piraleno), del agente naranja usado como herbicida en la guerra de Vietnam y de hormonas de incremento de la producción láctea prohibidas en Europa.


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viernes, enero 15, 2010

Past Decade the Hottest on Record

Amy Heinzerling

The first decade of the twenty-first century was the hottest since recordkeeping began in 1880. With an average global temperature of 14.52 degrees Celsius (58.1 degrees Fahrenheit), this decade was 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than any previous decade. The year 2005 was the hottest on record, while 2007 and 2009 tied for second hottest. In fact, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record occurred in the past decade.

Temperature rise has accelerated in recent decades. The earth’s temperature is now 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than it was in the first decade of the twentieth century, and two-thirds of that increase has taken place since 1970. (See data).

Average Global Temperature 1880-2009
Even with these seemingly small increases in global temperature, natural systems are already starting to respond, as evidenced by melting ice sheets and glaciers, shifting weather patterns, and changes in the timing of seasonal events. If temperatures continue to rise on their current trajectory, by the end of the century they will have left the narrow range in which human civilization has developed and flourished.

Though temperatures are rising around the globe, some areas are warming faster than others, with the greatest warming taking place in the Arctic. Paleoclimate records from Arctic lakes, tree rings, and ice cores reveal that the past decade was the warmest of the past two millennia. Warming is amplified in the Arctic for a number of reasons, including the loss of the region’s extensive snow and ice cover: as temperatures rise and light-reflecting ice melts, it is replaced by darker water, which absorbs more energy from the sun, thereby accelerating warming. In parts of the Arctic, average annual temperatures have increased by as much as 2–3 degrees Celsius (3.6–5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1950s. In 2007, Arctic summer sea ice shrank to its lowest extent on record, leaving the Northwest Passage completely ice-free for the first time in human memory. Then 2008 and 2009 brought the second and third lowest extent of Arctic summer ice on record.

The earth’s temperature is determined by a number of factors. One major influence is the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This cycle, which involves large shifts in atmospheric and ocean temperatures over the tropical Pacific, has two phases: El Niño, which typically raises average global temperature, and La Niña, which lowers it. Year-to-year temperature variations are also influenced by the amount of energy the earth receives from the sun: increases in solar activity tend to raise global temperatures, while decreases in solar activity lower them.

These natural cycles alone, however, fail to explain the temperature patterns of the last decade. While the strongest El Niño of the century pushed 1998 temperatures up to their then-record high, temperatures in the hottest year (2005) did not receive a boost from El Niño. And 2007 was tied for second hottest year on record, despite the development of a cooling La Niña. Furthermore, while global temperatures have been climbing to record heights, incoming solar energy has in fact been declining since the beginning of the decade. In early 2009, solar activity reached its lowest level in a century.

Rather than ENSO cycles or variations in solar irradiance, human-induced warming from heat-trapping greenhouse gases has become the dominant climate influence. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen rapidly since the start of the Industrial Revolution, climbing from 280 parts per million (ppm) in the late eighteenth century to 387 ppm today. Researchers recently reported that the last time atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were this high was roughly 15 million years ago, when sea level was 25–40 meters (80 to 130 feet) higher, and temperatures were approximately 3–6 degrees Celsius warmer.

The risks posed by rising global temperature are widespread. As the atmosphere warms, mountain glaciers that provide water to over a billion people are melting. Melting ice sheets and thermal expansion of oceans raise sea levels, threatening coastal populations. Increasing temperatures bring decreasing crop yields, putting world food supplies at risk. And ecosystems worldwide are irrevocably altered, placing large numbers of species at risk of extinction.

Higher global temperatures also bring with them more frequent and severe extreme weather events. Over the past few decades, scientists have noted an increase in hot extremes and a decrease in cold extremes across the globe. As temperatures rise further, heat waves will become more frequent and intense. Longer and more severe droughts will take place over wider areas; an upsurge in global drought since the 1970s, associated with higher temperatures, has already been observed. At the same time, as temperatures rise, the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere increases, leading to more intense storms and flooding in areas that are already wet.

The past decade saw many record-breaking extreme weather events, providing examples of the kinds of incidents expected to become more frequent with global warming. In the summer of 2003, Europe experienced an intense heat wave that led to over 52,000 deaths. In the United States, where daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last 10 years, persistent drought plagued parts of the South and West for much of the second half of the decade. A 2006 heat wave affecting the West and Midwest was blamed for 140 deaths in California.

The combination of high temperatures and drought makes a dangerous recipe for wildfire; indeed, 2006 and 2007 saw the worst fire seasons on record in the United States. A similar combination led to disaster in southeastern Australia in early 2009: on what is now known as Black Saturday, intense, rapidly spreading bushfires killed 173 people and burned over a million acres.

Other areas have experienced unusually heavy rains and flooding over the past decade. Record flooding hit Central Europe in 2002, causing over 100 deaths and forcing 450,000 people to evacuate. In summer 2007, the worst flooding in 60 years in England and Wales killed nine people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage; that May to July period was the wettest in the region since recordkeeping began in 1766. In 2008, extensive flooding occurred in several parts of the African continent; Algeria saw its worst floods in a century, while Zimbabwe’s floods were its worst on record.

As temperatures rise, warmer oceans provide more energy to feed tropical storms. The past few decades have seen an increase in the frequency of the most severe hurricanes, and researchers have identified rising sea surface temperatures as the primary cause. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the worst on record, with 27 named storms, 15 of which were classified as hurricanes—including Hurricane Katrina, which caused over 1,300 deaths and $125 billion in financial losses.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international body of over 2,500 scientists, released its Fourth Assessment Report, in which it called the recent warming of the globe “unequivocal.” The report projected a rise in average global temperature of 1.1–6.4 degrees Celsius (2–11 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. Based on the most recent scientific assessments, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at their current pace, the temperature rise by the end of the century will likely reach or exceed the upper end of these projections. Already, effects of increasing temperatures such as accelerating ice melt and sea level rise are outpacing the IPCC’s predictions of just three years ago. Without significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature will rise dramatically by the end of the century, creating a world that looks vastly different from the one we know today.

Copyright © 2010 Earth Policy Institute


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Encuentro Latinoamericano de Formadores/as en Agroecología de La Vía Campesina

Primer Encuentro Latinoamercano de Formadores/as en Agroecología de La Vía Campesina. 10 al 20 de agosto de 2009, IALA-Paulo Freire, Barinas, Venezuela.

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jueves, enero 14, 2010

Remembering La Gloria: New television documentary traces origins of the H1N1 pandemic back to pig farms in Mexico


This past November people from all over Mexico gathered in the Valley of Perote, where the village of La Gloria is located, for the fifth Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales [National Assembly of Environmentally Affected]. It is a large, periodical gathering of a network of communities and organisations struggling against environmental devastation in Mexico. The location for this most recent gathering was chosen in recognition of the importance of the local struggles against the large pig farms in the area, which had gained national and worldwide attention when the first human cases of pandemic H1N1 swine flu were traced back to La Gloria in April 2009. This was the second Asamblea for the people of La Gloria and the first for an alliance of communities in the Valley of Perote who have now joined La Gloria in resisting factory farming. Out of the swine flu crisis, the struggle against factory farming has grown stronger, moving from isolated local resistance to a major component of a national movement. A new documentary on the H1N1 pandemic and factory farming, based on the experiences of La Gloria and the neighbouring communities, now brings this struggle to an international audience and puts factory farming back on centre stage in the story of the H1N1 pandemic.

In April last year, the international media descended on the village of La Gloria and the surrounding Valley of Perote, in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. The village had been identified as the ground zero of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic and reporters came looking for answers as to why the disease may have broken out there. What they found was disturbing. The villagers told them that they had been suffering from severe respiratory illnesses for months but had been ignored by the authorities. What’s more, they explained how the whole valley was engaged in a struggle against numerous factory pig farms that had invaded their territory in recent years. For the villagers, the farms were clearly the source of their health problems.

The story of these once isolated struggles was thus broadcast around the world and the shocking images of pollution and destruction from the factory farms shattered the myth of “biosecurity” that the multinational meat industry claims of its operations. Suddenly it was plain for all to see that what these communities were fighting against was intimately connected to the health of the whole planet.

But the reaction from the meat industry and its friends in government was equally swift. As implausible as it was, they denied any connection between the H1N1 outbreak in humans and the pig industry. Independent investigations were blocked or not carried out. And as the WHO bowed to pressure and officially stopped referring to the disease as “swine flu”, the international media stopped following the trail. The result is that, today, across the world, the big meat corporations continue exactly as they did before-- without even any obligation to report or monitor for pandemic H1N1 or other swine flu viruses in their operations (see Box). The Mexican government has even backed down from its promise to force the farms next to La Gloria, owned by US-based Smithfield Foods, to adhere to Mexico’s minimal environmental regulations-- which they were clearly violating.1

A new television documentary by Télévision Suisse Romande (TSR), however, should reignite this international scandal. It returns to Mexico, and the Valley of Perote, to continue the investigation into how and why the H1N1 pandemic began. By way of interviews with villagers, government officials, doctors and scientists, the documentary establishes a clear link between the on-going health problems in La Gloria and other nearby communities and the operations of the factory farms that have moved to the region since the signing of North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. It also exposes the collusion of the Mexican government with the industry and shows how nothing has been done to protect the affected communities. With shocking on-site footage, the documentary provides clear evidence of the profound damage that the farms have wreaked on these communities, and it puts the role of factory farms squarely back into the centre of the story of the H1N1 pandemic, where it belongs.

The TSR documentary is now available in French (original version) and English on the GRAIN website and will soon be available in Spanish (see below). We hope that this investigative report will be widely distributed. The next pandemic will likely emerge from a factory farm somewhere, and it will likely first strike a community very much like La Gloria. The world needs to learn from this experience and take action. The TSR documentary provides a critical insight into just what needs to be done.

Box: Update on pandemic H1N1 and pigs

There is mounting scientific evidence that the pandemic H1N1 virus emerged from pigs, and most likely within the factory farms of North America where conditions are ideal for the evolution of such viruses.2 A study published in June 2009 in Nature found that “the ancestors of the epidemic [pandemic] have been circulating undetected [in pigs] for about a decade” and that the actual pandemic strain “may have been circulating in pigs for several years before emergence in humans.” They conclude that “the lack of systematic swine surveillance allowed for the undetected persistence and evolution of this potentially pandemic strain for many years.”3

Since the outbreak of pandemic H1N1, authorities in most countries have done little to enhance surveillance of pig farms. The common practice is to leave it to the companies to monitor, with no obligations to report the disease if they find it. The reports of outbreaks that have emerged, therefore, likely only represent a fraction of the actual number.4 But they are nonetheless enough to indicate that pandemic H1N1 is widespread in so-called “closed” pig farms (see Table 1).

In Mexico, the response of the authorities, when the H1N1 broke out in humans, was to deny that there was any problem with the disease in the pig industry. On May 14, 2009, during a pork dinner organised to defend the pork industry, Mexico’s Minister of Agriculture, Alberto Cárdenas, told the media: “Until now there has not been a single outbreak of swine flu.” cardenas eating pork with bellino

Alberto Cardenas eating pork with
FAO representative Norman Bellino,
May 14th, 2009. (Photo: EFE)

This was not true. Two weeks prior, on May 1, an outbreak of the pandemic H1N1 was identified in pigs at a farm in Queretaro. That outbreak was only made public when it was finally reported to the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) in December, seven months after the fact.5 Moreover, it is known that swine flu is rampant in Mexico’s pig farms.6 It was first identified in the country in 1982, and as the industry has become more industrialised and more integrated with the US and the global meat industry, where swine flu is endemic, problems have escalated. But the government enforces no controls over the disease and there is practically zero monitoring-- everything is left to the companies to handle. Today pig farms in Mexico are still under no obligation to report outbreaks of swine flu.7

READ THE REST AT: http://www.grain.org/articles/?id=58

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Conferencia mundial de los pueblos sobre el cambio climático y los derechos de la Madre Tierra

"El gobierno del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia convoca a los pueblos y movimientos sociales y defensores de la madre tierra del mundo, e invita a los científicos, académicos, juristas y gobiernos que quieren trabajar con sus pueblos a la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra a realizarse del 20 al 22 de abril del 2010 en la ciudad de Cochabamba, Bolivia."

Considerando que el cambio climático representa una real amenaza para la existencia de la humanidad, de los seres vivos y de nuestra Madre Tierra como hoy la conocemos;

Constatando el grave peligro que existe para islas, zonas costeras, glaciares de los Himalayas, los Andes y las montañas del mundo, los polos de la Tierra, regiones calurosas como el África, fuentes de agua, poblaciones afectadas por desastres naturales crecientes, plantas y animales, y ecosistemas en general;

Evidenciando que los mas afectados por el cambio climático serán las más pobres del planeta que verán destruidos sus hogares, sus fuentes de sobrevivencia y serán obligados a migrar y buscar refugio;

Confirmando que el 75% de las emisiones históricas de gases de efecto invernadero se originaron en los países irracionalmente industrializados del norte;

Constatando que el cambio climático es producto del sistema capitalista;

Lamentando el fracaso de la Conferencia de Copenhagen por responsabilidad de los países llamados “desarrollados” que no quieren reconocer la deuda climática que tienen con los países en vías de desarrollo, las futuras generaciones y la Madre Tierra;

Afirmando que para garantizar el pleno cumplimiento de los derechos humanos en el siglo XXI es necesario reconocer y respetar los derechos de la Madre Tierra;

Reafirmando la necesidad de luchar por la justicia climática;

Reconociendo la necesidad de asumir acciones urgentes para evitar mayores daños y sufrimientos a la humanidad, la Madre Tierra y restablecer la armonía con la naturaleza;

Seguros de que los pueblos del mundo, guiados por los principios de solidaridad, justicia y respeto por la vida, serán capaces de salvar a la humanidad y a la Madre Tierra; y

Celebrando el día Internacional de la Madre Tierra,

El gobierno del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia convoca a los pueblos y movimientos sociales y defensores de la madre tierra del mundo, e invita a los científicos, académicos, juristas y gobiernos que quieren trabajar con sus pueblos a la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra a realizarse del 20 al 22 de abril del 2010 en la ciudad de Cochabamba, Bolivia.

La Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra tiene por objetivos:

1) Analizar las causas estructurales y sistémicas que provocan el cambio climático y proponer medidas de fondo que posibiliten el bienestar de toda la humanidad en armonía con la naturaleza.

2) Discutir y acordar el proyecto de Declaración Universal de Derechos de la Madre Tierra.

Bolivia, 5 de enero, 2010

Evo Morales Ayma

Presidente del

Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia

Email: info@cmpcc.org

Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra

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