Small-scale organic & sustainable farming to save planet
- Bill Gates: One of the World's Most Destructive Do-Gooders?
Posted By Dr. Mercola | March 04 2012
Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, aims to end world hunger by growing more genetically engineered food cropsa philanthropic plan that may be gullible at best, and destructive at worst, both to the environment and humanity
Monsanto and other biotech companies have collaborated with the Gates Foundation via the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to promote the use of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa
Gates supports the use of Golden Rice, which has been genetically modified to produce beta-carotene that your body can convert to vitamin A. It's promoted as a way to alleviate vitamin A deficiency, which is common in developing countries. However, beta carotene is fat soluble, and many third-world inhabitants eat a very low-fat diet, which would seriously impede or block the conversion.
According to one study, a woman would have to consume 16 pounds of Golden Rice per day to get the recommended amount of vitamin A; a child would have to eat 12 pounds, raising serious doubts about the usefulness of this invention
In recent years, it has become disappointingly clear that Gates may be leading the pack as one of the most destructive "do-gooders" on the planet... His views on what is required to make a difference in poverty- and disease-stricken third world nations are short-sighted and misinformed at best. A recent article in the Seattle Times1 joins me in arguing that Bill Gates' support of genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution for world hunger is based on unsound science. A team of 900 scientists funded by the World Bank and United Nations, investigated the matter over the course of three years, and determined that the use of GM crops is simply NOT a meaningful solution to the complex situation of world hunger.
Instead, the scientists suggested that "agro-ecological" methods would provide the most viable means to ensure global food security, including the use of traditional seed varieties and local farming practices already adapted to the local ecology.
Donating patented seeds, which takes away the farmers' sovereignty, is not the way to save the third-world poor. As reported by Netline last year3, Monsanto and other biotech companies have collaborated with the Gates Foundation via the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to promote the use of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa. The Gates Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to AGRA, and in 2006 Robert Horsch was hired for the AGRA project. Horsch was a Monsanto executive for 25 years. In a nutshell, the project may be sold under the banner of altruism and 'sustainability', but in reality it's anything but. It's just a multi-billion dollar enterprise to transform Africa into a GM-crop-friendly continent.
Conflicts of Interest Abound
Gates' philanthropic methods came under scrutiny back in August 2010, when it was discovered that The Gates Foundation had purchased 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock; dramatically increasing its previous holdingsand hence its financial conflicts of interestin the biotech firm. AGRA-Watch commented on the ties stating4:
"The Foundation's direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two primary levels," said Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering.
"First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record. The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious doubt on the Foundation's heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers. Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict of interests."
It would be naive to think that all these philanthropic collaborations are designed to solve any problem besides how to help Monsanto monopolize the world's food supply with expensive patented GM seeds, and the herbicides to go with them.
In the interview above, Gates claims the seeds would be donated to the impoverished areas in question. But seriously, how long would the seeds remain free? There's rarely such a thing as a free lunch anymore, and it appears highly unlikely that Monsanto is poised to "feed Africa" indefinitely... And since you cannot save Monsanto's seeds from year to year, they will literally own the areas and the people they temporarily donate their seeds to. And once you own the rights to all the food grown around the globe, you literally rule the world.
It's an undisputed fact at this point that the introduction of genetically engineered crops lead to diminished biodiversity, which is the direct opposite of what the world needs. Truly, in order to save the planet and ourselves, small-scale organic and sustainable farming must not only prevail but flourish, and GM crops do not help, but rather threaten their existence. Seeds have always been sold and swapped freely between farmers, preserving biodiversity, and without that basis, you cannot have food sovereignty. And with fewer farmers, "feeding the hungry with GM crops" is nothing but a pipe dream.