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November 28, 2014
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editorial

Of corn, genetic modification and the lowly honeybee


Unfortunately, the time has now come to pay the piper, and honeybees are not the only casualty. A number of pests, like the corn rootworm beetle, have predictably developed resistance to all this chemical warfare. The response is similar to that of the pharmaceutical industry to drug-resistant diseases: use heavier doses, and develop new versions—for which you can charge even more. Too bad that the resistant bugs and weeds have a tendency to be more malignant than the ones you started out with. That, in turn, makes it harder to restore the natural balance and go back to IPM, leaving world farmers trapped in a vicious cycle. No wonder there’s an epidemic of suicide among Indian farmers who grow cotton—which, along with soy and corn, is one of the three big GM crops.

Then there’s the general poisoning of the environment not only by the pesticides and herbicides used along with the GM seeds, but from substances like Bt that the plants are now engineered to secrete. In the big picture, the honeybee is only one part of the wide swath of collateral damage inflicted by this profit scheme.

The evidence is that not only clothianidin, but the entire neonicotinoid class of which it is a member, are contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder. Get rid of them all, and it might very well be game over for Monsanto et al. Farmers might have to go back to IPM—and so long, Monsanto profits. We’re talking about a revolution against the giant multinational corporations that control the agriculture for an entire planet. Of course the EPA—part of a government bought and paid for by multinationals—is dragging its feet.