The impacts of GM corn on farmers in the Philippines

MASIPAG.ORG [Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-undlad ng Agrikultura (Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development)] is a farmer-led network of people’s organizations, NGOs and scientists whose mission is to improve the quality of life of resource-poor farmers in the Philippines.  MASIPAG has just released an eye-opening documentary, “10 Years of Failure, Farmers Deceived by GM corn”.  The release has been set to coincide with World Food Day and focuses on the plight of GM corn farmers in the Philippines.  The film warns, “To this day, thousands of farmers are deeply indebted and in danger of losing their land and belongings because of GM corn, while large agrochemical companies rake in huge profits”.

Opponents of GM labeling initiative 522 in Washington State play dirty

In the USA, the Washington State GM food labeling ballot initiative 522 goes to the public vote on 5th November.  It has been reported that opponents, notably in the biotech industry camp, have spent $13 million on their campaign, whilst the proponents have spent just $5.4 million.  But the “No” camp is playing dirty. The largest donor, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), is being sued by the State’s Attorney General.

Reuters reported that State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit alleging that the GMA illegally collected and spent more than $7 million while shielding the identity of its contributors.  “Truly fair elections demand all sides follow the rules by disclosing who their donors are and how much they are spending to advocate their view, Ferguson is reported to have said in a statement.  Elizabeth Larter, spokeswoman for the “Yes” campaign, is said to have replied, “It's clear that they broke the law.  They don't want to tell us who is funding the No on 522 campaign just like they don't want Washington consumers to know what is in their food.  It seems that perhaps the word ‘Monsanto’ does not roll equally easily from all tongues.

Is the younger generation sufficiently connected with nature?

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the UK has conducted a 3-year research project and discovered that children aren’t nearly as ‘connected to nature’ as might be expected.  The report shows that only 21% of 8-12 year olds in the UK spend enough time in nature, and this is having a detrimental effect on them and putting the natural environment itself in danger.  The RSPB, while stating what appears to be obvious, says that if children spend quality time outside enjoying nature, they will acquire a greater responsibility to protect the natural environment.  They also reap personal rewards, such as an increased capacity to learn, general health and wellbeing, development of a positive self image, confidence in one’s ability, and the ability to cope with uncertainty.

For the first time ever, wildlife organisations and environmental conservation groups came together and in May 2013 published a report entitled the State of Nature.  This report reveals that 60% of the species studied have declined over recent decades, and more than one in ten of all the species assessed are under threat of disappearing from UK shores altogether.  The message is clear: help your kids to get outside as much as you can; this will help develop a bond with the natural environment which, in turn, will instill a desire in the young ones of today to protect our natural heritage for future generations.

Healthy diet benefits everyone

The authors of a new German study found that diabetics are likely to benefit more from a healthy diet and lifestyle than non-diabetics.  This is unsurprising, given the increasing evidence that a shift to specific diet and lifestyle regimens can reverse and eliminate type 2 diabetes in large sectors of the affected population.  While the authors of the paper suggest that the dietary recommendations for diabetics should be the same as those for a healthy population, there are, in our view, elements of most current governmental dietary and lifestyle advice that do not adequately reflect the latest scientific developments or clinical experience.