TheGreenRocket.com has focused its resources on very informative and somewhat formal articles, so I am glad I have a place to make random little posts about things I find along the way to writing articles, as well as life’s lil thoughts.
Today I came across a classic corporate vs. the little guy case when in discussion about GMO’s in a facebook group (“100000 Canadians Against Global Warming). Someone linked to the case of Percy Schmeiser vs. Monsanto
Percy Schmeiser is a small town Saskatchewan canola farmer, and Monsanto a corporate giant that is a world leader on Genetically Modified Organisms. In brief, Monsanto took Schmeiser to court in a lawsuit claiming patent rights over Schmeisers canola crops—which contained some of their patented seeds that had blown over and cross pollenated with Schmeiser’s crops.
Supreme court’s original decision was in favour of Monsanto, noting that regardless of how the seeds got onto Schmeiser’s fields, they were the property of Monsanto. This was appealed later, and the decision changed to note that while Monsanto’s patent was valid, Schmeiser would not have to pay. I have further read that Schmeiser recently won a countersuit against the company, though I have not heard details on this.
The whole case brought light onto the GMO debate again in my mind…
I am not against GMO’s in my food. Health wise, while I love natural and organic foods, the idea of genetically modified stuffs does not scare me. In spite of the debate over whether GMO’s are less productive or not, I believe they can be if used with efficient farming techniques.
Which brings me to the real issue… the corporate elements of GMOs that are rising with the growth of the industry. This was the issue of the Schmeiser case, and will continue to be an issue unless control starts to be equalized.
One of the main reasons I support GMOs is the possibilities they bring to countries with poor agricultural lands, such as in Africa. Without a balance system on the corporate giants, the people who need the potential GMOs can bring the most are going to get left behind. (This is, of course, an issue beyond corporate inequalities—lack of education, resources, political instability are a few of the more significant contributing issues for the case of agriculture in Africa.)
Check out http://www.gmoafrica.org/ for some interesting info on that topic.
Also, I follow the Viva La Evolution blog by NunoXEI, which is supportive of progressive science and research that generally finds controversy in mainstream society…it has definitely opened my mind to be less skeptical of scientific developments. There isn’t a post about GMOs yet, but the one on stem cell research is what I am referring to.
Finally, a link to the technical details of the Schmeiser vs. Monsanto case for anyone interested in the policies surrounding this issue— facts from the federal court and from the U of Montreal resources on supreme court judgements
Anyway… at the moment the development and distribution of GMOs are placing wayyy too much control of farming techniques in the hands of the corporate, yet they can yield so many benefits. Lets hope more individuals like Schmeiser make the effort to