#1 Generating Massive Greenhouse Gas Pollution (CO2, Methane, Nitrous Oxide) and Global Warming; While Promoting False Solutions Such as Industrial Biofuels, So-Called Drought-Resistant Crops, and Genetically Engineered Trees: Evaluations of corn grown for ethanol show that whatever reduction in emissions you get from burning corn instead of oil in the gas tank is more than offset by the fact that producing biofuel from corn requires as much fuel as it could replace.
#2 Polluting the Environment and the Soil-Food Web with Pesticides, Chemical Fertilizers, and Persistent Toxins, Including Dioxin: Industrial agriculture’s heavy reliance on pesticides and fertilizers is responsible for the release of many dangerous toxins into our environment, but since Monsanto first commercialized genetically engineered crops in the 1990s, we’ve been exposed to one more than any other. Its common name is glyphosate, but Monsanto markets it as RoundUp, RoundUp is very toxic. It’s known to cause cancer, birth defects and infertility. In fact, some scientists are now saying it’s more dangerous than DDT.
#3 Turning Farmland into Desert, Draining Aquifers and Wetlands: In the U.S., the soil’s capability to sequester carbon has been severely deteriorated due to the enormous increase in the use of nitrogen fertilizers, mostly to raise Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops for animal feed. The soil should be a sink for excess carbon but has lost about 50% of its organic matter, making it is less than half as effective as it used to be.
#4 Poisoning Drinking Water, Acidifying the Oceans: Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is also responsible for the nitrate poisoning of two-thirds of the U.S. drinking water supply. Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is the major cause of the 405 oceanic dead zones around the world (including the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and the coasts of California and Oregon).
#5 Chopping Down the Rainforests for Monoculture GMO Crops, Biofuels and Cattle Grazing: Clearing land to grow GMO crops for animal feed is the biggest driver of forest and wetland destruction, which generate 20% of all climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases. In Argentina and Brazil, Monsanto’s genetically engineered soy is the main cause of deforestation.
#6 Increasing the Cost of Food, While Reducing Nutrition and Biodiversity: The business press unabashedly links Monsanto’s profits to record-high global food prices and increases in the costs of farm inputs, especially Monsanto’s patented genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto’s profits go up as hunger increases and families lose their farms to insurmountable debt.
#7 Spawning Pesticide-Resistant “Super” Bugs and Weeds, and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria: Genetically engineered crops designed to produce insecticides or tolerate herbicides have proven a failure. Herbicide-resistant “superweeds” have increased farmers’ weed-control costs to $50/acre, as they battle weeds that can stand up to the most toxic chemicals ever invented.
#8 Generating New and More Virulent Plant, Animal and Human Diseases: The way Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide (glyphosate) kills weeds and plants is by compromising their defense mechanisms, making them very susceptible to soil borne organisms. It’s not a direct killer, but it has a debilitating effect on the weed’s immune system, much like the human disease AIDS. Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready gene, which enables crops to withstand glyphosate, doesn’t solve the problem of a debilitated immune system, all it does is make it possible for the plant to survive and to accumulate more glyphosate.
#9 Utilizing Wasteful Fossil Fuel-Intensive Practices and Encouraging the Expansion of Natural Gas Fracking and Tar Sands Extraction (Which Destroy Forests, Aquifers, and Farmland): The industrialized food system is responsible for more than half of greenhouse gas emissions, making Big Ag one of Big Oil’s biggest customers.
#10 Stealing Money From the 99% to Give Huge Subsidies to the 1% Wealthiest, Most Chemical and Energy-Intensive Farms and Food Producers: In the 2012 Farm Bill, Congress is poised to cut 7 million acres from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The CRP is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and pays farmers to keep highly erodible land out of production. Putting land into conservation programs leads to cleaner water, healthier soil, and robust wildlife habitat, and also plays a major role in fighting climate change. By Alexis Baden-Mayer & Ronnie Cummins for http://OrganicConsumers.org, edited for length by RHHR.