By Jill Ettinger
A document signed by more than 50 civil society organizations (CSOs) is asking the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development scheduled to take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012, to ban the use of genetically modified foods.
2012 will mark 20 years since the last Rio Earth Summit, and the planet is worse for the wear, cites the document, stating that environmental, energy and financial issues are all at critical crisis levels. And the excessive financial burdens purchasing GMO seeds has on the world's poor, in addition to the damaging health and environmental effects of biotechnology, makes the proposed ban a top priority for the world, cites the CSO-hub website, timetoactrio20.org.
Despite biotech companies' promises of increased crop yields, drought and pest resistant seeds that can relieve the world's hungry, genetically modified foods have yet to fulfill those promises. Pesticide resistant "superweeds" and insects are on the rise causing more use of the Monsanto pesticide, Roundup, which is now being found in ground and rain water. Farmers, including the planet's poorest, are spending more money than ever before on buying Roundup Ready GMO terminator seeds instead of traditional and economical methods of saving seeds from each crop season.
The report cites studies showing there are one billion food insecure people around the world while more than double that are suffering from what Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, calls "diseases of affluence"--malnutrition caused from excessive consumption of highly processed foods (many of which contain genetically modified ingredients), meat and dairy products and lead to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Small-scale agroecological farming and other sustainable farming methods "developed in the framework of food sovereignty" currently feed about 70 percent of the world's population, cites the CSOs' document, stating that the UNCSD has an historical opportunity to eliminate world hunger, improve the environment and financial stability around the world by moving away from biotechnology. Market diversity and research support for small-scale farming could decrease the world's seed prices by 30 percent--or about $9 billion annually, according to the document.
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