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Author Topic: WTO showdown
Deception
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posted 01 July 2003 09:52 PM      Profile for Deception     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
India and China team up to fight Western Agriculture Subsidies
From: front lines of the revolution | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Willowdale Wizard
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posted 01 July 2003 09:59 PM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
charlotte denny is a consistently interesting writer.

"teaming up", it makes them sound like superheroes,

wonder super country powers activate!

form of ... a red-and-gold chinese dragon,

form of ... the Taj Mahal

an example of the effect of subsidies, cotton:

quote:
The U.S. is regarded as an inefficient and high-cost producer of cotton. The estimated cost of production for a cotton farmer in the US comes out to 73 cents per pound in comparison with Central Africa s 21 cents. The subsidies allow the American farmers to overproduce cotton and dump their crop in the international market at increasingly reduced prices much to the financial detriment of Third World producers.

The report focuses on the devastating financial impact of the US cotton subsidies on Third World cotton-dependent countries such as Pakistan. In particular it highlights the plight of 10 or more million cotton growers of poverty-stricken Central and West Africa. The situation in countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso recognised as two of the ten poorest nations in the world has become increasingly bleak. According to an earlier 2002 World Bank and IMF joint study, the number of people in extreme poverty in these countries could be halved within six years if the subsidies given to the U.S. cotton farmers were quickly removed.



From: england (hometown of toronto) | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
redshift
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posted 01 July 2003 10:16 PM      Profile for redshift     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
and being a close neighbor means being an easy target.
"Corn is Mexico's most widely grown crop and the major source of sustenance in both rural and urban sectors. Mexico is the center of origin for corn, and the country's history and its 56 indigenous cultures revolve around maize. Corn imports have nearly tripled since NAFTA, and the price has dropped 64% since 1985. Genetically modified corn imports have contaminated local varieties, leading to fears of loss of biodiversity and increasing dependency on transnational seed and chemical companies.

Other crops have fared even worse. Soybeans, wheat, poultry, and beef imports have risen over 500%, displacing domestic production. Subsidized imports at dumping prices have also broken down vertical integration in growing agro-industrial sectors, like beer production."

"The Mexican countryside lost 1.7 million jobs since NAFTA, in the context of little employment generation in other sectors. During the same period thousands of Mexicans migrated to the U.S., many to work in agriculture as undocumented workers without labor guarantees or benefits. Mexico has imported $78 billion worth of foods since 1994."
http://www.americaspolicy.org/commentary/2003/0306eu.html
at least the Americans are consistent


From: cranbrook,bc | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 02 February 2008 08:39 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Alternative URL for the above-referenced quote. The whole speech is worth reading.

Four and a half years later, Mexicans are taking to the streets in desperation over the devastation of their main agricultural product:

quote:
Tens of thousands of farmers clogged the streets of the capital on Thursday [Jan. 31/08] to protest the end of tariffs on corn from the United States, warning that the elimination of trade barriers could drive them out of business and lead more Mexicans to migrate north.

The farmers brought a herd of cattle and more than 50 tractors to make their point, jamming the historic center and blocking the central artery, Paseo de la Reforma. One rowdy group burned a tractor.

Stretching for more than four miles, the march was a sea of tanned faces, cowboy hats, flags and calloused hands gripping banners with slogans like “Without farms there is no country.” The police said at least 50,000 people joined the protest; organizers put the number at 100,000.

“We cannot compete against this monster, the United States,” said one farmer, Enrique Barrera Pérez, who is 44 and works about five acres in Yucatán. “It’s not worth the trouble to plant. We don’t have the subsidies. We don’t have the machinery.”

One the nation’s largest labor coalitions, the National Union of Workers, joined dozens of farmers’ organizations like the National Campesino Confederation to finance the march. The organizers bused people in from as far away as Chihuahua in the north and Yucatán on the Gulf Coast.

On Jan. 1, the last tariffs on corn, beans, sugar and milk were lifted under the North American Free Trade Agreement, completing a 14-year transition to an open market between Mexico, the United States and Canada....

The farmers worry that a surge of inexpensive corn could doom millions of peasants who farm plots of less than 12 acres. They also complain that the government has done almost nothing to prepare farmers for the open competition.

Much of the $1.4 billion in annual aid for farmers, they say, has gone to large agricultural businesses in the northern states rather than to small farms....

Yet the renewed debate seems to have touched a nerve in Mexico, where corn was first domesticated 5,000 years ago and the culture revolves around its consumption. Underlying the political discourse is a widespread sentiment that poor Mexicans have benefited little from free-trade policies, while giant businesses have reaped profits.

In practice, however, nothing changed on Jan. 1. Mexico had been gradually dropping its tariffs on corn since 1994, when they stood at more than 200 percent, and most of the corn imports in recent years had entered without tariffs under import quotas. What is more, the corn from the United States is yellow corn, used to feed livestock, rather than the white corn Mexican farmers produce for tortillas.

Some opponents of the treaty, however, say a spike in demand for American corn to produce ethanol has protected Mexico’s farmers so far. Over the long haul, these critics say, small farmers in Mexico cannot face off with the Americans’ heavily subsidized and mechanized farms.

“How are you going to compete with the enormous subsidized farms in the United States and Canada?” said Francisco Hernández Juárez, the president of the National Union of Workers. “It’s totally unequal.”

Agricultural officials here agree that the peasant farmers cannot hope to stay in the game. They say four-fifths of the nation’s 2.6 million small farms have plots so little that they produce only enough to live on and never market their goods....


NYT

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
bliter
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posted 02 February 2008 02:08 PM      Profile for bliter   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
With the loss of many small farms, it would be ironic if ancient, native species, of corn for example, were lost due to the machinations of agribusiness - aided by the WTO.

From a blog comment:

quote:
Indeed. This is of particular interest in the middle east, where monsanto, cargill and others have slipped in changes to those countries patent laws that forbid poor farmers from saving seeds, at least the crops that do produce viable seed, forcing them to buy seed from these conglomerates. it's just another form of slavery.

Mono-culture, too, is suspect in the disappearance of bees - absolutely essential to maintaining crops.

I think we have much to learn from these spunky, Mexican demonstrators.

of interest:

Our goal - Infertility


From: delta | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 02 February 2008 04:42 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by redshift:
Genetically modified corn imports have contaminated local varieties, leading to fears of loss of biodiversity

A couple years ago I used to find the whole GMO debate confusing, then I eventually realized the key: take whatever GMO opponents say about GMO plants and pretend they said the exact opposite and that will be the truth or extremely close to it. It seems to work everytime including, of course, in this case. GMO corn did not contaminate local varieties. Studies in Mexico in 2003, 2004 and since then have shown zero traces of any GMO genes. None. GMO corn appeared in the fields in Mexico in 1999/2000 for the simple reason that farmers planted it - either unintentionally or, probably more often, intentionally. There has never been any evidence of cross contaimination between the GMO variety and "natural" types (although calling a variety of corn natural that has been selectively bred for 8000 years so that it has no resemblance to a natural plant is pretty ridiculous). The fact that there was so much GMO corn in southern mexico in 2000 and none a couple years later is actually strong evidence against the hysterical rantings of GMO opponents - that there would be cross contaimination.


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 02 February 2008 04:57 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Indeed. This is of particular interest in the middle east, where monsanto, cargill and others have slipped in changes to those countries patent laws that forbid poor farmers from saving seeds, at least the crops that do produce viable seed, forcing them to buy seed from these conglomerates. it's just another form of slavery.

As far as I know this only applies to Iraq and farmer are still free to save and reuse traditional crops. It only applies to new varieties which are under patent law. Farmers are free to choose to plant what ever they want. If they want to save seeds and reuse them there are plenty of options.


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 02 February 2008 04:59 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by bliter:
Mono-culture, too, is suspect in the disappearance of bees - absolutely essential to maintaining crops.

It doesn't appear to any more suspect than a dozen potential causes.


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 03 February 2008 04:16 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's a slippery slope, dude, from branded-patented GMOs and enforcement of those "rights" under the law, to plain old "natural" bred seed stock, which is a form of scientific manipulation itself. Begs the question whether Monsanto owns the patent or the genes.

From a biz perspective, ie from Monsanto's viewpoint, patented GMOs are their property. I can plant Round-Up Ready soys, but I can't keep any seed back, despite paying for the product in the first place, and paying to use the handy Round-Up, also a Monsanto product. I have to sell the seed on the open market. I can't sell the seed to anyone who might plant it. Interesting case, eh?

I really like how GMO PR people are now saying "Hah, it's been in the food system for years now, suckers! No one has died yet! No mutant babies are being born!"

I don't think the full effect of GMOs will be known for quite a few years yet. For every action there is a reaction. The spin off effects of a crop like Round-Up readies is not entirely in the product. Monarch butterflies, for instance need milkweeds. There are no milkweeds in a field of round-up ready soybeans, not unless the farmer has missed soaking a spot with the herbicide or if he\she leaves some around for the butterflies.

[ 03 February 2008: Message edited by: Farmpunk ]


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 03 February 2008 06:56 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I don't think the full effect of GMOs will be known for quite a few years yet.

The other question is how would we recognize it? To argue there is no ill-effects is quite disingenuous. For just one example. today, one in every two males will be diagnosed with a form of cancer. To what do we attribute that?

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stockholm
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posted 03 February 2008 07:12 AM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Part of what we attribute it to is that 100% of people die of something. Since the mortality rates in the western world from various infectious diseases like TB and cholera and now virtually nil and with the average life expectancy getting into the 80s - cancer is just about the only thing left to kill you.

For example, the rate of prostate is a lot higher now than it was 100 years ago. Most (if not all) of the explanation) for that is that you have to be over 50 to get prostate cancer and back when the average lifepan was 45 - most men died long before it would have had a chance to develop.


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Farmpunk
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posted 03 February 2008 07:37 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My point is, I think, that GMOs may have an effect on more than human health. It's a very human-centric view to see GMOs as beneficial\harmfull to humans alone, when what's being tampered with is nature.

Anyhow, enough philosophy. Back to the topic, more or less, I don't agree with anyone having the power over plant-life, even if it's been invented, patented. Once I buy GMO product from Monsanto-Cargill, I should be able to do whatever I want with it. Maybe not re-sell the seed as seed-stock, but certainly I should - and all farmers who buy the product - should be able to keep seed back for use in the future.

Now, to food-corn. I keep hearing rumblings that China is about to start buying or contracting corn on a massive scale. When that happens, expect serious market reaction.

I'd be interested to see the breakdown of corn farming land-use in Mexico. The corn on the open market is not the same as the corn used for tortillas. But if the big landowners in Mexico are switching to "yellow" corn (vs tortilla white corn; simplifying things here) because the price is high, then that might be causing the higher prices.


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 03 February 2008 07:47 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good point in Spector's post about how gov support never gets to the farmers. Too bad no one bothers to investigate the horribly run programs in Canada. I think they're designed to support an agri-biz and gov ag structure as opposed to helping farmers. NFU could likely fill in the details.

Having recently dealt with a gov program that's intended to help low income farmers, I can honestly say that I'm absolutely disgusted by the red tape built into the most simple processes. That's why I get pissed off when people say Cdn farmers are always crying and that there's already enough money being poured into the sector. There is a lot of public money being tossed around, and people should be pissed that it's being mis-spent. The best modern farming tool is a sharp accountant.


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 03 February 2008 01:55 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:

The other question is how would we recognize it? To argue there is no ill-effects is quite disingenuous. For just one example. today, one in every two males will be diagnosed with a form of cancer. To what do we attribute that?


It is not very often that I agree with Stockholm but he is completely right:

quote:
Originally posted by Stockholm:
Part of what we attribute it to is that 100% of people die of something. Since the mortality rates in the western world from various infectious diseases like TB and cholera and now virtually nil and with the average life expectancy getting into the 80s - cancer is just about the only thing left to kill you.

For example, the rate of prostate is a lot higher now than it was 100 years ago. Most (if not all) of the explanation) for that is that you have to be over 50 to get prostate cancer and back when the average lifepan was 45 - most men died long before it would have had a chance to develop.


I have read two Cancer biology textbooks in the last year and the reasons you are more likely be diagnosed with cancer is because you live longer, we have better diagnostic devices, and smoking. For instance in men (which as you said now have a 1 in 2 chance of getting cancer) if you discount lung cancer which is almost always caused by smoking, your chances of being diagnosed with cancer (adjusted to age) is actually about 20% lower today than it was in 1930 (according to Ruddon's "Cancer Biology 4th edition page 10). When you add lung cancer back in then your chances are more likely today, but again only if you smoke. Stomach cancer, which was by far the most common cancer diagnosis in 1930 is down 90%. If you really want to avoid cancer then your best option today is the same as it ever has been - die young.

If you actually wish to understand cancer, instead of being at the mercy of the media which is more interesting in the sales that come with shock and fear than truth then I would recommend reading a book on cancer biology. The two I have read were both published in the last year and half and they are both excellent: The Biology of Cancer by Weinberg (the better of the two but more advanced - it is the text for the fourth year cancer biology course at my university) and Cancer Biology by Ruddon (which I suspect would be accessible to those with little education in biology).


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 03 February 2008 02:22 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Farmpunk:
I really like how GMO PR people are now saying "Hah, it's been in the food system for years now, suckers! No one has died yet! No mutant babies are being born!"

Even biologists and geneticists who oppose GMO would tell you that such a statement is beyond ridiculous.

quote:
I don't think the full effect of GMOs will be known for quite a few years yet. For every action there is a reaction. The spin off effects of a crop like Round-Up readies is not entirely in the product. Monarch butterflies, for instance need milkweeds. There are no milkweeds in a field of round-up ready soybeans, not unless the farmer has missed soaking a spot with the herbicide or if he\she leaves some around for the butterflies.

Roundup ready soy is only one type of GMO. Like any technology there are good and bad. The left's anti-science hysteria has diminished the immediate benefits and increased the immediate examples of companies like monsanto pursuing profits at all costs. Things like golden rice are an example of a benefit (although the left and green's still have caused it to be held up despite it benefits to the poor - and it is free), as is bt-corn.

I was in the book store today and I browsed the book "The ethics of what we eat" by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. Now I have read books by both of those authors before and they are both long term supporters of organic and vegan diets. Peter Singer is one of the last people I would ever expect to support GMO and Jim Mason actually is the last person I could ever see supporting GMO. Sure enough the dozen or so pages on GMO ended with them saying that GMO was most likely safe, but the very slight risk to the environment was enough for them to say that they thought further study was needed before expanding in the first world. In the third world where the need for food is great they feel the benefits most likely outweigh the potential risks. So not an endorsement, but coming from those two and considering their normal readership, pretty surprising (especially considering the main book they recommend people read is the pro-GMO book "Challenging Nature" by Silver). They talked about public perception and worries of health risks are not shared by biologists and geneticists, mentioned several cases where public health fears are completely ridiculous (bt corn being one of them, especially considering that bt is a widely used organic pesticide and the amount in bt corn is 3 parts per 10 million, plus all studies show that it is completely non-toxic to vertibrates).

A lot of benefits - environmental, hunger, poverty and health - could have been had if progressives had encouraged their governments to fund R&D for beneficial GMO.

The fear mongering and anti-science from those who oppose GMO rivals the fear mongering and anti-science from those who deny global warming.

[ 03 February 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 03 February 2008 03:57 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevormkidd:
Things like golden rice are an example of a benefit (although the left and green's still have caused it to be held up despite it benefits to the poor - and it is free), as is bt-corn.
Council for Responsible Genetics:
quote:
A striking example of the promise of a technological solution to hunger is Golden Rice. Syngenta's new version of genetically engineered rice supposedly has a tenfold higher content of beta-carotene, which could fight Vitamin A deficiencies that cause blindness among children and adults in developing countries. Five years ago, when opposition to GE food began to pick up steam around the world, the biotech industry mounted a $50 million-a-year public relations campaign to extol the virtues of biotechnology, especially developments like Golden Rice, for their potential to improve world health and eradicate hunger. Aggressively advertised as a miracle grain to end suffering for millions around the world (the cover of a July 2000 Time magazine claimed, “This rice could save a million kids a year”), corporate public relations promised to put Golden Rice in food bowls across Asia.

Five years later, with millions of dollars spent and false hopes raised, this technological promise by the biotech industry has only distracted attention and funding from what could be real, sustainable solutions to malnutrition. As stated earlier, world health officials have concluded that poverty, not a lack of modern technology, is the fundamental cause of malnourishment. They also point out that nutritional deficits can be easily and cheaply corrected with a more varied diet. Green leafy vegetables, oranges, and red palm oil all are high in beta-carotene.

Five years ago, developers of this grain had been vague on how much Golden Rice a person would have to eat to get enough beta-carotene for the recommended daily vitamin A requirement. The data shows that in order for those most vulnerable to this form of blindness, infants, to get enough vitamin A from breast milk, their mothers would have to consume several pounds of cooked rice per day. An adult male would need to eat a smaller, but equally unlikely, amount of cooked golden rice to meet his daily vitamin A requirement. The newer iterations of Golden Rice further reduce the number of pounds of rice a person would need to eat to meet their vitamin A requirement, but still do nothing about a more basic problem. The body can only convert beta-carotene into vitamin A if the diet includes adequate amounts of fat and proteins. The malnourished people whom Golden Rice is supposed to help, however, are by definition also lacking fat and protein in their diets....



From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 03 February 2008 09:49 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well if it called the “Council for Responsible Genetics” then it must be a non-biased organization only interested in providing the truth. Certainly uncompromising opponents of GMO would not use a reasonable sounding name to promote their B.S.

So who are the writers for CRG? Well listed prominently on the side of the webpage is Jeffrey Smith who is the author of “seeds of deception” and “genetic roulette: the documented health risks of genetically engineered foods” It was actually through reading one of Smith’s books that I first realized how completely full of it opponents of GMO are. He puts creationists and global warming deniers to shame. Time after time his representation of the evidence does not stand up to the sources he provides. Just like creationists and global warming deniers, anti-GMO folk can make up 50 or 100 false claims a day, it is hopeless to find the time to refute them all. Honestly, considering the amount of GMO in our food system in North America if Smith's first book was correct even 10% of the time then none of us would have been around to purchase his second book 4 years later. The next author listed is Britt Bailey who ten years ago wrote the anti-GMO tiriade: “Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food.” The author of the current article similarly has been against all genetic engineering for years: Anuradha Mittal. None of these writers is interested in “responsible genetics” they are interested in no genetic engineering period no matter how beneficial, and none of them appear to have any education or training in genetics. I am sure that Anuradha Mittal complete lack of education in medicine or nutrition allow her the certainty to claim that “The body can only convert beta-carotene into vitamin A if the diet includes adequate amounts of fat and proteins.” A common misconception seems to be fat-soluble vitamins need fat to be absorbed and converted, when actually fat-soluble means that the vitamins can be stored in fat in the body. Yes without fat and proteins beta-carotene and vitamin A are not processed as efficiently, but this is not a case of all or nothing and studies indicate that the amount of beta-carotene absorbed will be sufficient to reduce deficiencies in many people who are suffering. (must GMO provide the solution to all dietary deficiencies right off the bat? Or is it possible for well-meaning scientists to first provide an adequate amount of a vitamin that is killing more than a million a year and blinding half a million, and then work towards providing an increase in other nutrients as is already underway) She also claims that the amounts of golden rice that will need to be consumed is still enormous. This is not true. First of all we are not dealing with people getting 0% of their requirements, we are dealing with poor people who are consuming a diet that is deficient in vitamin A. That might be 10% or 25% or 50% deficient. Small amounts of golden rice can make a huge difference in the lives of many. Similarly I suspect that she is using the American RDA which is generally several times the actual requirements. It is late and I don’t have the desire to look it up tonight, but I read a study from India recently where they found that the actual requirements of vitamin A was about 10% or 15% of our RDA.

“world health officials have concluded that poverty, not a lack of modern technology, is the fundamental cause of malnourishment.”

Well no kidding. If only these people would stop being poor.

“They also point out that nutritional deficits can be easily and cheaply corrected with a more varied diet. Green leafy vegetables, oranges, and red palm oil all are high in beta-carotene.”

Ah so not only are they poor, but they are too lazy, or stupid to consume a more varied diet. If these people could consume a more varied diet they would. It is because they are poor that they can’t afford to purchase or grow a wide variety of food. Most of those with deficiencies who the golden rice is aimed at are rural people in poor countries meaning that programs set up to provide vitamin supplementation or a variety food which can work in urban areas are extremely difficult and costly in the rural areas. Similarly providing food or vitamins are a short term solution whereas golden rice can be replanted each year. The other methods of providing adequate amounts of vitamin A sound great, but they have failed miserably.

Quite frankly I find nothing more disgusting than people and groups like Greenpeace who are all adequately fed, plus have tons of foods which are enriched and still often take vitamin supplements, standing in the way of poor people being provided the opportunity to provide themselves with adequate amounts of an essential nutrient they are lacking. And are only lacking it because the staple food (which has been modified through selective breeding over thousands of years of trial and error so that its gene structure bares no resemblance to the original) lacks beta-carotene (incidently the wild carrot was white, not orange and had extremely little beta-carotene. It was bred over thousands of years to possess a gene structure. The exact same result could have been achieved through genetic modification to possess the necessary gene structure. Neither method is natural. Both methods carry small risks, as all agriculture does. Both have benefits which outweigh the risks. One can be done very quickly, the other takes a very long time.)

[ 03 February 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 04 February 2008 02:25 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Excellent use of blanket statements without evidence, T-Kidd.
"if you discount lung cancer which is almost always caused by smoking"
It is? Almost always? How often is that? How come smoking numbers worldwide (excepting China, I believe) are dropping while lung cancer is a growing problem? This is especially pronounced in NA, if I'm remebering correctly. Could be that evil second-hand smoke, maybe? Can't be that the very air we breathe has been polluted, can it?

Beyond ridiculous? How so? Isn't that what the GMO PR people are doing? Didn't it just come out that our food supply, supposedly GMO free by gov regulation, had actually been invaded by GMOs years ago. Then gov shrugs and Monsanto cranks up the PR department.

No disputing that GMO ag products are impressive. I think Round-Up Readies are great, clean fields, no weeds. Some of the others products I've used, corn borer, bt, don't have quite the same obvious benefit. My point is ownership of the genes once they've gone through their natural cycle. Monsanto owns, to my mind, the plants and their offspring. Monsanto owns life. I don't have to be a freaky-organic-green lefty to dislike that.

I thought Golden Rice had been turned down by the governments of the countries, not the hungry people. I doubt Greenpeace has a lot of pull with Chinese gov, but I could be wrong.

"(which has been modified through selective breeding over thousands of years of trial and error so that its gene structure bares no resemblance to the original) lacks beta-carotene (incidently the wild carrot was white, not orange and had extremely little beta-carotene. It was bred over thousands of years to possess a gene structure. The exact same result could have been achieved through genetic modification to possess the necessary gene structure. Neither method is natural. Both methods carry small risks, as all agriculture does. Both have benefits which outweigh the risks. One can be done very quickly, the other takes a very long time.)"

Can I ask for an explanation of what you meant? Especially "neither method is natural". I know which version I'd vote as natural. You?


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 04 February 2008 05:33 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It is not very often that I agree with Stockholm but he is completely right:

How does that explain the increases in childhood cancers including Leukemia? How does that explain breast, testicular, and brain cancers? And cancer is but just one example of environmental disease.

To be very clear, we are fucking with nature. And to paraphrase an old saying, nature laughs last.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 04 February 2008 07:17 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevormkidd:
“world health officials have concluded that poverty, not a lack of modern technology, is the fundamental cause of malnourishment.”

Well no kidding. If only these people would stop being poor.

“They also point out that nutritional deficits can be easily and cheaply corrected with a more varied diet. Green leafy vegetables, oranges, and red palm oil all are high in beta-carotene.”

Ah so not only are they poor, but they are too lazy, or stupid to consume a more varied diet. If these people could consume a more varied diet they would. It is because they are poor that they can’t afford to purchase or grow a wide variety of food.


"If only these people would stop being poor," you sneer, as if there is no possible way to overcome their poverty, as if their poverty has no cause, as if that cause has nothing to do with you and the corporate interests you idolize.

Your cavalier attitude to the poor of the third world is astonishing - particularly since their poverty and malnutrition is in no small part the result of neo-liberal agricultural and trade policies promoted by the WTO for the benefit of the very same multinational seed and GMO corporations that you are so keen to defend.

Your solution to malnutrition? Send vitamin pills (or their equivalent, GMO rice, of which they would have to eat several pounds a day) instead of allowing them access to a variety of common foods naturally rich in vitamin A. Don't bother talking about the policies of monoculture and "free trade" that keep them poor and eating unhealthy diets, because they can't afford to buy imported food staples that used to be grown locally until the World Bank moved in and dictated trade and agricultural policies to their governments.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 04 February 2008 01:16 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Farmpunk:

It is? Almost always? How often is that?


Like I said almost always. Environmental pollution, occupational exposure, second-hand smoke and radon exposure have all been found to either be minor players or insignificant causes. Environmentalists who suspect otherwise are free to do studies to prove otherwise.

quote:
How come smoking numbers worldwide (excepting China, I believe) are dropping while lung cancer is a growing problem? This is especially pronounced in NA, if I'm remebering correctly.

Actually age adjusted lung cancer incidence has dropped about 20% in men in the US since 1990. The trend follows a decrease in male smoking rates starting 20 years before (after following an upward trend correlating with increases 20 years after increased smoking rates going back to 1900) and is strongly indicative that any cause other than smoking is small concerning male lung cancer rates. Female lung cancer rates started to increase in the mid to late 1960’s and are still increasing (although it is leveling off and is still much lower than incidence among men) corresponding very strongly with rate of females starting to smoke 20 – 25 years earlier.

quote:
Could be that evil second-hand smoke, maybe?

Sure it is always possible, but the evidence is extremely poor. That is not to say that inhaling second-hand smoke is healthy. It is gross, and leads to increased heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to asthma attacks. However large studies in Europe and North America have not shown increased lung cancer among non-smokers who grew up exposed to second hand smoke in the household, or increased lung cancer rates among spouses of smokers etc.

quote:
Can't be that the very air we breathe has been polluted, can it?

Sure it is always possible, I await the research which disputes the current research. Fact is cancer has been found in the cells of the earliest fossilized plants. Fact is even if you pollute your lungs a dozen times a day for several decades with the numerous number of the extremely carcinogenic compounds found in cigarette smoke, you are still much more likely than not to NOT develop lung cancer (although obviously much more likely than a non-smoker to develop lung cancer). Cancer is not new, nor is there an epidemic rise in cancer rates. Preaching that everything is caused by pollution will only hurt environmentalist causes when the evidence does not back up their claims. For instance the hysteria that pesticides are a carcinogen was started by Ames in the 70s when he tested synthetic chemicals and found about 30 – 50% of synthetic chemicals to be carcinogens at high doses. Alarmed by this he made a lot of noise, as he should have. Then Ames turned his methods to natural chemicals and found them to be at least as likely to be carcinogens at high doses. His conclusions that the vast majority of carcinogens that people are exposed to come naturally from their food (according to Ames more than 99.9% percent by weight of pesticides in the average diet are naturally occurring compounds that plants produce to defend themselves against insects and fungi, and the body doesn’t handle natural pesticides differently from synthetic ones) and that “the comparative hazards of synthetic pesticide residues are insignificant.” Are still almost completely unknown to the public 20 years later. But our bodies can easily handle these loads of carcinogens. For instance apples naturally have cyanide, formaldehyde and acetone (etc) in them, yet apples are still very healthy. (sources Ruddon’s Cancer Biology 4th ed, Schwarcz’s excellent book “An Apple a Day” and several papers by Ames including this one: Dietary Pesticides (99.99% All Natural) )

quote:
My point is ownership of the genes once they've gone through their natural cycle. Monsanto owns, to my mind, the plants and their offspring. Monsanto owns life. I don't have to be a freaky-organic-green lefty to dislike that.

I don’t like Monsanto owning life either. Which is why I would prefer progressives encourage their governments to fund wide-scale research projects into developing GMO which helps the environment, the poor and our health. Projects which result in public ownership, freely available to all, much like the human genome project. So far progressives have only discouraged such actions and I fear the longterm results. GMO isn't going anywhere. The only questions are the type of GMO and who benefits the most from it.

quote:
Can I ask for an explanation of what you meant? Especially "neither method is natural". I know which version I'd vote as natural. You?

I would vote neither as even remotely natural. Neither does that bother me. Natural is not always good and unnatural is not always bad.

quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
How does that explain the increases in childhood cancers including Leukemia?

Childhood cancer is one of the best examples of everyone thinking that incidence is skyrocketing. It is really pretty simple. Lets say that 80 years ago children died of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J – 10% of childhood deaths were caused by each. Lets say that 80 years later we have found cures for A, B, D, E, F, H, I, and J and have dramatically decreased the number of deaths caused by G. Now 75% of childhood deaths are caused C and 25% by G. Oh my god C is out of control! But actually deaths caused by C haven’t gone up, deaths caused by everything else have gone down. There is little evidence that childhood cancers have gone up over the last 70 years. There is evidence that childhood leukemia has gone up, but environmental pollution is far from a top contender of the causes of leukemia. Infant and child mortality rates are a small fraction of what they used to be.

quote:
How does that explain breast,

Sedentary lifestyle, obestity, high-fat diet.

quote:
testicular,

Sedentary lifestyle. Males with undescended or late descending testicles have a much, much higher rate of testicular cancer - I guess the pollution must effect them more.

quote:
and brain cancers?

Better diagnostic devices, HIV

quote:
And cancer is but just one example of environmental disease.

I know, they all are. Tell me, seeing as almost every environmentalist I know seems to tell me that every disease that is increasing is caused by environmental pollution, can it be assumed then that diseases which are decreasing in incidence (of which there are many times more and of which are decreasing far faster than the rate of the few that are increasing) are also caused by environmental pollution? Of course not, that would be stupid. As stupid as blindly blaming everything ailment on pollution. Seeing as it is impossible to prove a negative scientists can't prove that pollution is not causing various diseases. Seeing as it is possible to prove a positive it would be easy to prove that pollution is causing various diseases. As of yet I haven't seen much of that. But hey why look something up in a book or do research when you can look something up in your gut and that is what I see environmentalists do time after time. It is not that I am anti-environment, actually I have spent my whole life in the environmental movement. However, I also recognize that environmentalists have polled as the least trusted group (below politicians and lawyers) and I believe that much of the reason is that far too many of them take Colbert's truthiness to the extreme. Absolute certainty based on nothing more than the belief that environmental pollution must be causing every ill in the world.

quote:
To be very clear, we are fucking with nature. And to paraphrase an old saying, nature laughs last.

Homo-sapiens have been fucking with nature from the very beginning. Wide scale extinction of large fauna is found coinciding with the introduction of humans everywhere we have been (except the moon, I guess). Extinction of large fauna is fucking with nature to the extreme. This doesn’t mean that we must always fuck with nature, but it does mean that the solution that many environmentalists advocate of reverting back to the time when we were at one with nature is not possible because that time never existed. Plus there are many times more of us then there were in the past. Solutions will require more than a romantic view of the past.

quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
"If only these people would stop being poor," you sneer, as if there is no possible way to overcome their poverty, as if their poverty has no cause, as if that cause has nothing to do with you and the corporate interests you idolize.

I am no more or less the cause of their poverty than you are. Furthermore I don’t idolize the corporate interests, but I do admire those scientists who are actually trying to alleviate health and poverty problems rather than just talk about such problems while blaming others.

quote:
Your cavalier attitude to the poor of the third world is astonishing

I’ll be honest with you MS, I quite frankly don’t give a shit how problems of poverty and health are alleviated, only that they are. Unlike many people on this board I am open to any solutions and don’t automatically dismiss anything that doesn’t match my political ideology.

GMO, contrary to what opponents say, has increased the wealth of poor farmers in the third world which is why it has expanded so quickly in places like India, and why many corn farmers in mexico wanted to reap the same benefits that farmers of other GMO crops have experienced. That, despite being crops produced by Monsanto. Public research into GMO would have almost undoubtedly led to far better results. Furthermore my suspicion is that poor children in the third world are more likely to be poor adults if they are blind. You can go on all you want about how a varied diet would be more beneficial. I agree, but you know what? The goods have not been delivered in that regard and I have little optimism that they will be delivered anytime in the next several decades no matter how much many babblers may wish it. However, you are right I am sure that the more than a thousand children going blind each day in the third world will take comfort in the fact you think a more varied diet would be more helpful than golden rice.

quote:
Don't bother talking about the policies of monoculture and "free trade" that keep them poor and eating unhealthy diets, because they can't afford to buy imported food staples that used to be grown locally until the World Bank moved in and dictated trade and agricultural policies to their governments.

Ah I am sure protesting (or talking about) monoculture, free trade, and the World Bank will work wonders. How long do you think that will take to undo? 10 years? 20 years? Ever? No problem that millions will die and millions more will go blind in the process. Golden rice is not a perfect solution, but I would rather an imperfect solution that is doable today, than a perfect solution that is not. That might be cavalier, but I think that twenty years from now the inventor of golden rice will have saved far more lives, prevented far more people from going blind, and helped far more people out of poverty than everyone of us on babble put together. I doubt that the people he has helped will think that they would have been better off sacrificing themselves because many wealthy westerners don't like monsanto or the capitalistic framework of the world.

[ 04 February 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]

[ 04 February 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5052

posted 04 February 2008 01:48 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting. Are your views on GM representative of many in the Green party now Trevor W?
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12720

posted 04 February 2008 02:12 PM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Erik Redburn:
Interesting. Are your views on GM representative of many in the Green party now Trevor W?

No, they are not and in my opinion they are wrong in their stance. My views on GM however are far more representative of scientists who are environmentalists, most of who find the fear mongering and anti-science of the left and the greens as frustrating as the fear mongering and anti-science of the right.

As another example I was out for dinner several weeks ago with several environmentalists I have known for a long time. The conversation turned to the evilness of the Bush administration and how stupid and ideological the right wingers are because they ignore and dismiss the views of James Hansen - they said, seriously he is the most prominent and knowledgeable scientist in the world concerning climate change, when he speaks everyone should listen. I agreed. However when I brought up that James Hansen is a proponent of nuclear energy to combat climate change their reaction was to ignore or dismiss what he said. Now they might be right about nuclear energy being an absolute no no. But lets be honest, not one of them knows a thing about nuclear energy. It reminds me of watching a PBS show on intelligent design where one woman said "God created the world in 7 days and that is all that I need to know." Most people I know would recoil in disgust from the self-imposed narrowness of thought from her. Mind you at the same time the less most people know about many things the more certain they are about the correctness of their positions.

Still my choices are only the GP, the NDP or staying home. I used to vote NDP, I currently vote Green, and soon I suspect I will just stay home.


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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Babbler # 5052

posted 04 February 2008 05:47 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I disagree with you Re both nukes and GM crops too, but I am somewhat relieved that most Greens remain opposed as well. My science is strictly high school, with the usual mix of updates and memory loss, so you might very well show me the error of my ways, but I believe there are good reasons to oppose both without resorting to new age romantism. I'll have to get back to you later on this though, as I really should navigate my way through a couple rocky threads I helped instigate first.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 05 February 2008 04:26 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Who owns the best farming land in Mexico? Who controls the tortilla market from the base, the corn itself? I don't know for sure, but I suspect that Monsanto does not offer a GMO white corn for the tortilla flour market.

As far as GMO helping 3rd world hunger... do you have any links? The gains in yeild that I've seen over the years I've been farming soys and corn have not come GMOing, the splicing of genes. Instead, intensive - yes natural - strain selection and breeding is creating strong hybrids. However, I do believe that Monsanto or any other GMO ag company could create a truly wonder varieties, drought\heat\cold resistant. But if they created a nearly perfect product right now, there's no profit growth, no chain of products to sell, each gradually teasing the producer to ditch what used to work for what works better, and probably costs more. RoundUp Readies will not be grown in SW Ont in ten years, I predict, because the weeds will become resistant. Then Monsanto will simply tweak the genes and create a new herbicide.

Is it really Greenpeace and wesetern progressives and lefties who are keeping poor people from eating nutritionally? I have trouble with that argument while agreeing that a holier than thou attitude vs big multi-nats like Cargill isn't always helpful to the hungry people of the world.


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
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posted 05 February 2008 09:27 AM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with what you say there Farmpunk. I don't think that I have said that GMO has helped 3rd world hunger yet, but that golden rice will reduce vitamin A deficiencies (and I certainly believe that GMO will reduce 3rd world hunger in the long run). But what GMO has done is helped out 3rd world farmers. People like Vandana Shiva still talk about the disasterous first season of GMO crops in India (non-gmo didn't do too hot that year either), but are silent about very good seasons ever since then. GMO crop areas have increased tremendously each year (generally at least doubled) because non-gmo farmers have recognized how well the GMO farmers have done. It has led to increased yields, decreased pesticide use, and increased profits for the farmers. It is through (in my opinion anyways) wealthier farmers (meaing no longer extremely poor on the verge of bankruptcy farmers) that 3rd world countries will eliminate a lot of poverty. Greater yields and decreased cost lead to both decreased prices and increased profits. It allows poor farmers to afford better health care and education for their children, while paying off their debts. It allows poorer people to buy more food. Now I am not saying that GMO in India has solved everything, indeed it has solved little so far, but I am also saying that those gains have been made through Monsanto, so much greater gains could have been made (imagine for instance if public research funded by the Canadian government had developed the same or better seeds allowing poor indian farmers to grow crops that required far less pesticides but at the same time cost next to nothing and resulted in higher yields - the staggering debt problems which is destroying the poor farmers would be reduced significantly. Yes there are other ways to reduce their debts scream the gmo-opponents and that is true, but those methods have so far not happened. If Canada or any other country would embark on such a venture the world would be a much better place. Not only because they would be developing positive applications of GMO for the benefit of the world's poorest, but because that might force companies like Monsanto to invest a higher percentage of their own research into developing GMO along those lines.)

I will give three links for increased profits and yields for farmers in India. All three of the links are pro-gmo, but unfortunately it seems that the rest of the web hasn't reported much since they were ablaze with the disasterous first season of the GMO. Disaster is news, success is not.

Indian cotton farmer profits jump US $1.75 billion thanks to Bt insect protection (which links to several newspaper articles from India)

India's use of GM cotton seen doubling in 2007

GMO Cotton Boosts Yields in India - Monsanto

Again, all three are biased pro-gmo sources, but I have yet to find anything to dispute their basic claim that GMO has been more profitable for small Indian farmers.

quote:
Is it really Greenpeace and wesetern progressives and lefties who are keeping poor people from eating nutritionally? I have trouble with that argument while agreeing that a holier than thou attitude vs big multi-nats like Cargill isn't always helpful to the hungry people of the world.

Well I suspect that everyone has a hand in it. But I will say that in my opinion Greenpeace has been the biggest mouth piece is spreading ridiculous fear-mongering rhetoric against GMO (of course there is legitimate criticism of GMO, but rarely from Greenpeace). As far as I am concerned they have fueled the fire which has led to GMO being solely in the hands of a couple large corporations, as they have scared everyone off. And yes I think that their words have scared some third world governments too. But admittedly I am pretty biased as their rhetoric (which I initially agreed with) is what forced me to end my long-standing support of Greenpeace.


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12720

posted 05 February 2008 10:39 AM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Erik Redburn:
Well, I disagree with you Re both nukes and GM crops too, but I am somewhat relieved that most Greens remain opposed as well. My science is strictly high school, with the usual mix of updates and memory loss, so you might very well show me the error of my ways, but I believe there are good reasons to oppose both without resorting to new age romantism. I'll have to get back to you later on this though, as I really should navigate my way through a couple rocky threads I helped instigate first.

Well although new age romanticism is an offshoot of romanticism, I was more referring to the latter - the ideas that Rousseau advocated in the 18th century: the idealized view of natural world and the perfectibility of man on earth (generally by returning to the state before the fall).

Stewart Brand, the creator of Whole Earth Catalog, and now supporter of GMO and nuclear power describes the two competing factions of the environmental movenment as he sees it here:

quote:
The success of the environmental movement is driven by two powerful forces -- romanticism and science -- that are often in opposition. The romantics identify with natural systems; the scientists study natural systems. The romantics are moralistic, rebellious against the perceived dominant power, and combative against any who appear to stray from the true path. They hate to admit mistakes or change direction. The scientists are ethicalistic, rebellious against any perceived dominant paradigm, and combative against each other. For them, admitting mistakes is what science is.

There are a great many more environmental romantics than there are scientists. That's fortunate, since their inspiration means that most people in developed socie­ties see themselves as environmentalists. But it also means that scientific perceptions are always a minority view, easily ignored, suppressed, or demonized if they don't fit the consensus story line.


Based on my time in the environmental movement, first more on the romantic side, now firmly on the scientific side, I believe his interpretation of the two sides to be pretty accurate. I wanted to be a romantic (and still wish that the romantic view was true) but my education and learning (both institutional and independent) in the fields of biology, evolution, anthropology and history all have pointed away from Rousseau's romanticism.

As for nuclear energy, I am no expert and have little education in regards to it. My beliefs against nuclear power were first challenged a couple years ago when I watched a british environmental show with Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey, David Attenborough, and Richard Dawkins when nuclear energy was discussed as the most practical solution to the environmental problems in Africa (Leakey being an environmentalist and politician in Africa and Goodall of course also living in Africa). I dismissed their views for the most part, but it stayed in the back of my mind until about six months ago (spurred by some Ontario election discussion of nuclear energy) when I did what I try to always do - read the best (and recent) pro-nuclear energy book I could find and the best (and recent) anti-nuclear energy book I could find. The pro book was Power to Save the World by Cravens and the anti book was Nuclear Power is Not the Answer by Caldicott. I did my best to look into the major areas where the two books disagree and I came out on the side of Cravens. But still my knowledge on the issue is not great and I if the anti-side comes up with stronger arguments I could change my mind again, but so far I have been disappointed. For instance Utne just had an article by Jason Mark of the Earth Island Journal called Atomic Dreams (the covered advertised that the pros and cons would discussed but both pieces were written by longtime anti-nuclear activists: Mark and McKibben and were accompanied by illustrations that were clearly fear inspiring) and I found the article pretty weak basically concluding that prominent environmentalists - such as Lovelock, Jared Diamond and Brand - who had changed views must have been duped by the nuclear industry (without anything to support such a claim) and that the pro-side lacks vision. But it didn't really tell me any good reason why I should be opposed. It was preaching to the choir - we have vision - and demonizing the other side (corporate shills). Sure enough in the next couple days I read several comments on blogs referring to the Utne article and to Lovelock and Brand as corporate lackeys or have ulterior motives. Again no evidence, but the claim made it likely that many environmentalists will dismiss anything that people like brand and lovelock say without even hearing their arguments. It instantly reminded me of passage in Pinker's book The Blank Slate:

Some debates are so entwined with people's moral identity that one might despair that they can ever be resolved by reason and evidence. Social psychologists have found that with divisive moral issues, especially those on which liberals and conservatives disagree, all combatants are intuitively certain they are correct and that their opponents have ugly ulterior motives. They argue out of respect for the social convention that one should always provide reasons for one's opinions, but when an argument is refuted, they don't change their minds but work harder to find a replacement argument. Moral debates, far from resolving hostilities, can escalate them, because when people on the other side don't immediately capitulate, it only proves they are impervious to reason.

I worry that too many in the environmental movement are so certain they are right on everything, that they automatically dismiss anyone whose positions are not in complete agreement (on a different note I suspect that almost every environmentalist I know, including myself, "knew" that global warming was real and caused by humans the first time we heard the phrase. We required no evidence. Whereas evidence to oppose human caused global warming would need to overwhelming for most of them to accept. Now the reality is that evidence supporting human caused global warming is overwhelming and evidence against it is incredibly weak, but it worries me that absolute position came before knowledge of the evidence for so many. It made sense to us, fit in with our sense of justice that their must be consequences for our life style. But just because something makes sense doesn't mean that it is right.). And I find the environmental movement to often requires a standard of zero risk for anything they oppose (however not for things they support), knowing that science will never claim anything is zero risk. But the proper way to assess risk is to compare the risk of doing something to the risk of not. For instance today I had breakfast and lunch despite both carrying some risk (choking to death, food poisoning etc). I deem that the risk of eating is smaller than the risk of not eating and the benefits of eating outweighs the benefits of not eating. I assess the risks of nuclear energy and GMO to be above zero, but less than the risks of no nuclear energy and no GMO. I also assess the benefits of nuclear energy and GMO to be higher than the benefits of no nuclear energy and GMO. I could be wrong on both counts, but that is my honest assessment.

[ 05 February 2008: Message edited by: Trevormkidd ]


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged

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