Monthly archives "December 2011"

Monsanto’s Micro-Monster that could kill us all!

I thought I was browsing through the 50’s science-fiction section of the DVD-store when I came across the title. But no, it was a serious headline in one of the green publications I follow. Apparently, according to a respected doctor, genetic modification has unleashed a micro monster that could kill us all.

There’s a tendency to use fear as motivation. To assume that the only way we’ll act to change things is if we’re terrified of the alternatives. There’s a good reason to think so. If, while I was swimming in the sea, someone said there was a great white shark coming towards me, I’d be out in a flash. But if, instead of telling me about the shark, I was told about a killer kraken and the risks of being swept over the edge of the flat earth in a great waterfall, I may not be quite as worried.

Stories like the micro-monster assume the more ludicrous and fear-inspiring the claim, the better the result. They take a complex situation, dumb it down and send it out into the world.

Unfortunately, it backfires, as supporters of GMO’s just have to look at a headline like this to dismiss all opposition as Luddite nonsense.

The story referred to some interesting findings about plants genetically-modified to be glyphosphate resistant, the resultant extreme use of glyphosphate and its impacts on the soil, and a microbe that’s been found to enjoy these nutrient-deficient soils. The microbe has been associated with various plant and animal health risks. With the companies responsible for the GM seeds being responsible for testing and oversight, there’s been little rigorous testing, but it’s enough to raise more warning bells.

The model of farming used in genetic modification is wrong. With 94% of all soya and 70% of all maize grown in the US now genetically-modified, it may look like GM has things sewn up. But Monsanto has only ever have only ever commercially released two traits. Producing a pesticide or being resistant to a herbicide. And both are failing. “Weeds” have developed resistance to the herbicide, resulting in farmers having to apply (and spend) more and more, or use cocktails of herbicides to get the same results. And now insects are developing resistance to the pesticides.

With private companies regulating themselves and funding their own research, there’s a clear conflict of interest, and the industry is lobbying governments and agricultural departments around the world to keep it that way. A bad idea all around that has nothing to do with feeding the world.

But micro monsters are not going to kill us all.

Last week for orders
It’s our last week for orders before we head off on holiday, while a few of our regular collection points have already headed for the beaches and won’t be open this week. We want our shelves to be as empty as possible while we’re away, so there are quite a few specials this week, from chocolates to nut butters.

We’ll be open for orders again on the 12th of January, for delivery on the 19th.

Have a great week, and a safe and blessed holidays,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za to place your order before Tuesday 2pm, and remember that you can follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.

Us and them

This week saw the complete failure of COP-17, the climate summit hosted in Durban. While some have described it as a modest success, the result sees no binding commitments until 2020, which means nine more years of burn baby burn.

Searching for articles on the topic now, the first one I came across highlights the problem. A list of “winners and losers”, the “us and them” mentality is exactly what’s wrong. There’s no shared vision – countries and the corporates behind them dominated proceedings, and by defining a win in the same way as a fisherman beating his competitor to take the last fish from the sea is a “win”, we all lose.

Seeds
We have a new batch of certified organic seed available, and there are now 66 varieties available for sale. There’s a lot that can be planted in December and January, so if you’ve been putting it off, it’s time to get your hands dirty.

Oils
After a long break, November saw us reintroduce SOiL‘s certified organic range of essential oils, hydrosols and carrier oils. Hydrosols can be used as room sprays, linen sprays or as a face and body spritz.

Closing for the holidays
Remember that we’ll be closing for three weeks over the festive season. Our last delivery will be on the 22nd of December, and our first delivery next year will be on the 19th of January. Our last week will probably see quite a few regular collection points closed, as they’re also taking a well-earned holiday, so make sure you get your orders in in time.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za to place your order before Tuesday 2pm, and remember that you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The award-winning maize

A friend forwarded this story recently – many of you may have heard a version of it before, but it’s worth a reminder.

“There was a farmer who grew superior quality, award-winning maize on her farm. Each year, she entered her maize in the national fair where it won top honours.

One year a newspaper journalist interviewed her to learn the secret of her successful farming. The journalist discovered that the farmer shared her maize seed with her neighbours.

“How can you afford to share your best maize seed with your neighbours when they are entering maize in competition with yours each year?” asked the journalist. The farmer replied, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen grains from the ripening maize and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior maize, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my maize. If I am to grow good maize, I must help my neighbours to grow good maize.”

The farmer’s insight shows us the inter-connectedness of life. Her maize cannot improve unless her neighbours’ maize also improves. So it is in the other areas of life. Those who choose to be in harmony must help their neighbours and colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others live well. The value of a life is measured by the lives it touches.

Success does not happen in isolation; it is most often a participatory and collective process. So share with your family, friends and everyone you come into contact with. Success breeds success. Peace and Love to you all”


Closing for the holidays
As usual, we’ll be closing for three weeks over the festive season. Our last delivery is on the 22nd of December, and our first delivery next year will be on the 19th of January. Since we don’t like to sit on much stock while we’re away, our warehouse is emptying fast, so make sure you stock up in time for the break.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head over to www.ethical.org.za and remember that you can follow us on Facebook and http://twitter.com/ethical_co_op