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Sunday, 4 August 2013

GM Crops – Another case of the Prometheus Syndrome!

In June 2013 the British Government announced that it intends to convince the British public to accept Genetically Modified (GM) crops. They, the British Government that is, have already decided on the matter, and now, we, the public, have to accept these crops. I note immediately here that there is not to be a public debate about the possible damage GM crops may cause, in the longer term, to the natural world. No consideration is to be given to presenting the public with alternative technologies. No, this approach to public engagement in Science and Technology is strictly about getting the public to accept what the experts want you to accept. Very sophisticated indeed! And also, very much a characteristic of those suffering from what I have already written about in earlier blogs – the Prometheus Syndrome.

Many years ago I had a very insightful encounter with an agrichemical/biotech multinational. Here I learned firsthand the thinking that predominates in such companies and why we as ordinary members of the public, should peacefully resist these organisations. Words like hubris, arrogance, contempt, ignorance, greed, disingenuous, and so forth, come to mind when I recall the people that I had to deal with. Before this encounter, I had no strong views about GM crops, the use of pesticides, and organic farming. This is no longer the case, and whenever possible I now purchase organic produce, and always question and look for information about the source of food, and who is the producer.

So why is the British Government so biased? The answer is straightforward. Large multinationals have been working behind the scenes, using their vast wealth, to lobby the British Government to adopt policies that support the introduction of GM crops in the UK. And the reasons for this is clear – greed in the form of profits. What the Government is interested in however is the economy, in other words, economic growth and jobs, and ultimately this is what will predominate in all decisions that affect the natural world, which will always come second to the matter of economy. This mindset has to be changed.

I would also add here that it is not just the usual villains at work here – the multinationals. There are also others quietly influencing policy. Who are these people? It is scientists and the scientific establishment (research institutions, universities, scientific bodies), who are attracted by large research grants, patents, scientific publications, and the opportunities to make a reputations. Let us be clear about this matter – this body of people are not at all unbiased about the matter of GM crops, for they too have vested interests.

Thus it could be said, that for the sake of vested interests, greed, economic growth, and people’s egos, the British Government is willing to put the future of the natural world at risk.

There is no doubt that we, as ordinary citizens, should peacefully resist this onslaught against the natural word, and we have the power to do this without much effort. We have a vote, so at the next general election we should use it to vote the present parties of government out-of-office. We have also a wallet (or a purse) so we should use our money wisely and start buying organic produce. And we also have a choice about our lifestyle. We do not have to be constantly buying things and building up our material possessions, or always seeking to have the latest product and technological consumer device. We could just say no and spend our money on improving the natural world, helping to protect it and to ensure its survival. Many of us have gardens, or there are patches of unused waste ground that could be transformed into havens for wildlife. Use your time and money to develop these – it will be far more rewarding than the momentary buzz that comes from buying a new mobile phone!

Never believe, and never let anyone tell you, that you cannot make a difference, that you cannot change the world. This is a lie, and now is the time for ordinary people to start their peaceful resistance.

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