Education, Society — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho January 9, 2013
Science co-opted by big business endangers society and stultifies the imagination on which the advancement of science depends; liberating science and the imagination is top priority for the survival of people and planet.
Science is central to every aspect of our everyday lives and our wellbeing, be it to do with climate change, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), nuclear energy, mobile telephony, or the tens of thousands of chemicals to which we are constantly exposed in our homes, workplace, and the general environment.
Science is also a force for innovation, and investing in science is indeed investing in wealth creation and the future.
Science, as much as the arts and humanities, needs to be thoroughly integrated into the social, cultural and political fabric of society; science-literacy is essential if we are to have a truly democratic society in which everyone can participate in making important decisions on science and science policies.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho November 1, 2012
Glyphosate has contaminated land, water, air, and our food supply; the maximum permitted levels are set to rise by100-150 times in the European Union if Monsanto gets its way as damning evidence of serious harm to health & the environment piles up.
Click to purchase the fully referenced
and illustrated report
- Regulators and industry both culpable
- How glyphosate works
- Health impacts
4.1 Teratogenicity and reproductive effects
4.2 Endocrine disruption
4.6 Internal organ toxicity
4.7 Acute toxicity
- Environmental and agronomic effects
5.1 Glyphosate resistant weeds
5.2 Effects on crop and plant health
5.3 Effects on soil ecology
5.4 Effects on ecosystems
5.5 Diseases of livestock
5.6 Widespread contamination of water supplies
- To conclude
The use of glyphosate-based herbicides, especially Monsanto’s Roundup formulation, has increased dramatically since the introduction of genetically modified (GM) glyphosate-tolerant crops, resulting in the contamination of our food, environment and water supplies.
Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. It is still promoted as ‘safe’, despite damning evidence of serious harm to health and the environment.Comments (2)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho January 13, 2012
The new Truly Green Economy needs to be modeled after and embedded within the circular economy of nature to generate and regenerate wealth for people and planet.
The linear economy and the circular economy
The world’s economy is on the brink of financial meltdown, thanks to the corrupt Wall Street money and banking system unleashed by deregulation in the 1970s and 1980s  (“Shut Down Wall Street!” SiS 53). Emerging from the ruins is a new socially accountable economy that can provide good jobs at living wages, and generate real wealth for people and communities, at least in the United States  (New Economy Now, SiS 53). But that is not enough, we need a truly green circular economy working with and within nature to generate and regenerate wealth for people and planet.
Until a few years ago, very few people would take green or circular economy seriously. Not anymore; governments and businesses are now outdoing environmental groups in claiming the green circular economy for themselves. So perhaps it is time to put down some goal posts to make sure we get there.Comments (2)
Compost, Consumerism, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho November 18, 2010
Turning bioenergy crops into buried charcoal to sequester carbon does not work, and could plunge the earth into an oxygen crisis towards mass extinction
A fully referenced and illustrated version of this article is posted on ISIS members’ website. Details here
An electronic version of the full report can be downloaded from the ISIS online store. Download Now
The story goes that charcoal buried in the soil is stable for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years and increases crop yields. The proposal to grow crops on hundreds of millions of hectares to be turned into buried ‘biochar’ is therefore widely seen as a “carbon negative” initiative that could save the climate and boost food production.
That story is fast unravelling. Biochar is not what it is hyped up to be, and implementing the biochar initiative could be dangerous, basically because saving the climate turns out to be not just about curbing the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere that can be achieved by burying carbon in the soil, it is also about keeping oxygen (O2) levels up. Keeping O2 levels up is what only green plants on land and phytoplankton at sea can do, by splitting water to regenerate O2 while fixing CO2 to feed the rest of the biosphere  (Living with Oxygen, SiS 43).
Climate scientists have only discovered within the past decade that O2 is depleting faster than the rise in CO2, both on land and in the sea [2, 3] (O2 Dropping Faster than CO2 Rising, and Warming Oceans Starved of Oxygen, SiS 44). Furthermore, the acceleration of deforestation spurred by the biofuels boom since 2003 appears to coincide with a substantial steepening of the O2 decline. Turning trees into charcoal in a hurry could be the surest way to precipitate an oxygen crisis from which we may never recover.Comments (56)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho August 17, 2010
Major crops genetically modified for just two traits – herbicide tolerance and insect resistance – are ravaged by super weeds and secondary pests in the heartland of GMOs as farmers fight a losing battle with more of the same; a fundamental shift to organic farming practices may be the only salvation
Please circulate widely, keeping all links unchanged, and submit to your government representatives demanding an end to GM crops and support for non-GM organic agriculture.
Two traits account for practically all the genetically modified (GM) crops grown in the world today: herbicide-tolerance (HT) due to glyphosate-insensitive form of the gene coding for the enzyme targeted by the herbicide, 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS), derived from soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and insect-resistance due to one or more toxin genes derived from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Commercial planting began around 1997 in the United States, the heartland of GM crops, and increased rapidly over the years. By now, GM crops have taken over 85-91 percent of the area planted with the three major crops, soybean, corn and cotton in the US ] (see Table 1), which occupy nearly 171 million acres.Comments (6)
Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho January 26, 2010
The largest wave of farmer suicides and an ecological nightmare are unfolding around Bt cotton. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho exposes the “fudged” data and false claims of ‘successes’ that have perpetrated the humanitarian disaster.
A fully referenced version of this report has been submitted to Shri Jairam Ramesh, Environment Minister of India, urging him to stop growing Bt cotton and other GM crops in India; it is posted on ISIS members’ website (details here) and can be downloaded here.
The Bt cotton killing fields
As the cotton growing season drew to a close in the state of Andhra Pradesh, farmer suicides once again became almost daily occurrences. Officially, the total number of suicides within a six-week period between July and August 2009 stood at 15, but opposition parties and farmers’ groups said the true total was more than 150 . Opposition leader N. Chandrababu claimed in a speech that he had the names and addresses of 165 farmers who ended their lives because of the distress caused by the drought.Comments (3)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho June 22, 2009
The unstoppable groundswell of opposition to GMOs in Europe, by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
The recent call for a moratorium on GMOs in Europe  (see Europe Holds the Key to a GM-Free World, 5th Conference of GM-Free Regions, Food & Democracy, SiS 43) reflects an unstoppable groundswell of opposition to GMOs from both European citizens and governments.
An online poll  on the question: “Should GMOs be banned in Europe?” conducted in April 2009 returned a 79 percent yes, 18 percent no and 3 percent don’t know. Days earlier, Germany outlawed the cultivation of Monsanto’s GM maize MON810, a surprising move that delighted campaigners. Germany became the sixth EU country to introduce a provisional ban on the GM maize, after France, Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg and Greece . A source close to the EC said the German ban might bring a revision of the European legislation on GM crops. Germany also voted with the majority in March when the European Commission (EC) attempted to force Austria and Hungary to reverse their bans, and its ruling was overturned by a big majority .Comments (5)
Economics, GMOs, Society — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho November 23, 2008
by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho: Geneticist, Biophysicist and Director of the not-for-profit Institute of Science in Society.
The world’s biggest philanthropic foundation is reaping huge profits investing in companies responsible for causing the problems it tries to solve; its grant-giving is also doing more harm than good in undermining health and agricultural systems, distorting national and global priorities, and preventing the necessary paradigm change that could help secure the future of the planet.
Dark clouds over good works
|Bill & Melinda Gates, with Warren Buffet|
The Gates Foundation, the world’s largest, richest philanthropic organisation founded by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000, and doubled in size by Warren Bufflett in 2006, is “dedicated to bringing innovations in health and learning to the global community” in order to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. It is indeed famous for giving hundreds of millions to good causes.
But an investigative report published in the LA Times at the beginning of 2007 found that the Gates Foundation “reaps vast financial gains every year from investments that contravene its good works”. These investments go to companies responsible for causing the problems the Foundation tries to solve.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho September 23, 2008
Sustainable farming across the world relies on cultivating a diversity of crops and livestock to maximise internal input, and this is in marked contrast to the high external input monoculture of industrial farming, which is proving unsustainable in many respects. Indirect support for the sustainability of agricultural diversity is coming from an unexpected quarter. Academic ecologists are discovering that biodiverse systems are more productive.
by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho: Geneticist, Biophysicist and Director of the not-for-profit Institute of Science in Society .
For over three decades, academic ecologists have debated whether complex, species-rich ecosystems are more stable than ones with fewer species. Unfortunately, there are many definitions of complexity, and even more of stability; and so the debate continues.
The question most relevant to agriculture, and also most easily answered, is whether biodiverse systems are more productive. There is growing evidence that biodiverse systems are indeed more productive, although ecologists still disagree as to how that could be explained, and on the number of species needed to sustain an ecosystem, which has large implications also for conservation.Comments (1)