I am not trying to defend Monsanto or GMOs, but I do have to ask how “The U.S. Government And Monsanto Are Teaming Up Against Opponents Of Genetically-Modified Food” provides facts toward "huge corporations like monsanto destroy the planet, and peoples health and their economies"? What you posted only highlights that two groups have a rivalry going.
More fundamentally, think about what you originally said
jorvik wrote:huge corporations like monsanto destroy the planet, and peoples health and their economies
That is a broad, sweeping statement that hardly makes for a successful business model. Monsanto is a corporation, with the typical corporate concerns for profitability and longevity. That can be both bad and good, bad in that these needs often force corporations into a knee-jerk reaction of denial when a product is found to cause more problems than it solves but good in that rampant destruction of the planet, health, and especially economies does not help a corporation meet its objectives.
Do corporations act in the best interest of everyone, no. But neither do governments. And neither do scientists. And neither do environmental activists. Unfortunately the only way to not hurt anyone is to not help anyone, i.e. to not try. But is that the best option given the problems facing the world? The best we can hope for is a balance of trying to improve the conditions of the most people while negatively impacting the fewest people. It is not ideal, frankly it *****, but it is the reality of living in a world of 7+ billion people. And it keeps the lawyers busy. Something to keep in mind though is that "huge corporations" are often the only entities with the resources and talent to tackle the big problems.
My perspective in all of this is as a scientist, that is the hat I tend to wear when looking at these topics. Like Bill I believe in evidence and letting data speak for themselves, and while we do not agree with what the evidence says about Global Warming, largely because of complexity of the issue and the incompleteness of the picture, we do agree on the process needed to unravel the puzzle and complete the picture. Such debates are healthy for science and help science to move forward. Contrary to some of the devil's advocate arguments I make when debating Bill, I am not an activist and do not support activism science. I believe scientists should uncover facts with objectivity, and I see activism science as a slippery slope that can remove too much of that objectivity. Would I like to see all policy decisions based on science, sure, but ultimately it is up to society at large to make these decisions and they may or may not be based on science. It is what it is.
That is why I always draw a clear distinction between ecology and environmental studies. My undergraduate major was in ecology, I completed some graduate studies in ecology, I conducted research in the ecological genetics of prairie grasses, and I have taught ecology at the college level. I have never considered myself an environmentalist however. Ecologists investigate the workings of the biosphere, environmentalists push for particular policies and actions. I am by the way not saying society does not need nor benefit from environmentalists, I am saying I believe these two groups should be separate and not combined.
And ecologists and environmentalists do have different perspectives on GMO's. Take a look for example at Genetically Modified Organisms at the Crossroads
written by two Australian ecologists. Some excerpts:
It is not our task to present a complete account of all possible ecosystem effects, but rather to suggest that what is needed is a systematic approach to ecosystem risk assessment, and this four-way analysis is one way to approach it.
Comparative risk analysis, which involves comparing the relative risks of different activities to make rational policy and resource decisions, is also rudimentary for agricultural systems. For example, because of their sheer volume, introductions of non-GMO plants pose a far greater risk to the environment than does the comparative trickle of GMO crops, but the former receive only a fraction of both public attention and risk assessment resources. Take the perceived risk that a GMO may create a new "super weed." For Australia, it is a hard truth that roughly half of all our noxious weeds were introduced intentionally, mostly as ornamentals (Panetta 1993), and none of them had been genetically modified. It could be argued that, if Australia allowed in only GMOs, which are presently being introduced at an extremely low rate due to the expense of developing them and the limited ability of the agricultural industries to use them, the country would be in far better shape than it is now, when it is virtually inundated by several thousand new non-GMO taxa per year.
Incidentally, we part company with Conway when it comes to his belief that Terminator and similar technologies are unequivocally bad. If horticulturalists could be persuaded to release new ornamentals that were incapable of propagating outside the garden, this would be a major advance for vegetation management. This approach is analogous to work already being carried out by agencies such as ours on "sterile ferals," which aims to resolve the problems that arise when introduced species that are commercially valuable escape into the wild and become pests. Australia has numerous examples of species of this type. The concept is that the GM species is identical in every way to the original except that it requires a particular compound (for example, in its diet) to remain fertile. If it escapes into the wild, in the absence of that dietary component it becomes sterile.
Communication of the risks associated with specific GMOs has been poor. This has resulted in a dialogue of the deaf, with scientists and technocrats as proponents pitted against environmentalists who lack hard data but are full of alarmist claims. Despite the fact that it already takes hundreds of millions of dollars to bring a GMO to market, more funding to explore and quantify the risk side might have resulted in a more informed debate and, paradoxically, perhaps a greater degree of public acceptance. It is also worth noting that some GMOs have apparently been withdrawn by their proponents because existing assessment procedures have identified unacceptable levels of risk. In other words, at least some proponents of GMOs are showing greater caution than might be implied by the prominent public pronouncements, and all GMO proponents should be playing this card more strongly.
Different strata of society may perceive risks very differently, and the social psychology of GMO risk perception is an area that needs to be researched if public concerns are to be properly addressed. Conway is correct in identifying the need to label GM foods, and it defies imagination that agribusiness would not support this in a world in which the market is supposed to reign supreme.
Returning to our introductory comment on the strategic approach to using GMOs, we suggest that a serious effort by the GMO multinational companies to apply GMO technology to environmental problems would be both timely and wise.
This analysis of the GMO issue is far different from the blanket rejection of GMOs by environmentalists, and paints a different picture of the roles and actions of corporations than does your environmental activist article.
Ecological studies have shown that not all GMOs are bad. Simply tossing out all GMOs without question therefore makes as much sense as simply adopting all without question. We need to find that balance.