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Those nice people from Greenpeace

While some of its members may genuinely believe they are doing good by their fellow human beings in protecting health and potentially dangerous things, as they think genetically modified plants to be, the dangers of the Precautionary Principle are highlighted to a stark degree by the activities of Greenpeace activists in Canberra, Australia. According to a report, trials in producing GM wheat have been badly damaged.

The persons who did this will, hopefully, be caught and punished with the full weight of the law. Remember, if these guys had their way, the Agricultural Revolution that took place in the decades leading up to the Industrial Revolution might not have happened, or at least to the same degree.

Here is an article by the excellent Ronald Bailey on the GM crops issue.

9 comments to Those nice people from Greenpeace

  • Why do I get the feeling that Greenpeace members look upon us ordinary human beings in the way that old school National Socialists looked upon Jews?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Leslie Bates, maybe. Some GP folk will be appalled at such a parallel; they genuinely think, I reckon, that they are protecting humanity by thwarting some scientific innovations and developments. That is the problem: these people are not necessarily evil characters in black uniforms, or strange megalomaniacs sitting with a white cat on their laps and watching as enemies get eaten in a shark tank. Often, they are sincere, “caring” individuals who are perfectly decent on a personal level. They appear to be quite “nice”.

    It is not always the scheming, malevolent types who are the worst threats to freedom and happiness. The “do-gooder” with the fire of idealism in their eyes can be just as dangerous, and harder to fight against. And they are also well represented in media, academic life, etc.

  • If the history of the last century has shown us anything it is that there are few things scarier than an unrestrained Do-Gooder.

  • John

    I’m sure the nice folks from Greenpeace wouldn’t see it my way, especially since I think they should be heavily prosecuted, but to my way of thinking this is a matter of property rights and degree of trust in big government and big corporations (clearly institutions with tangled, mostly mutual, interests).

    I don’t know if GMOs are a good idea or a bad idea. I admit I have some concerns, but so far that’s been mostly smoke and very little, if any, fire.

    What does concern me is the way the property rights and externalities are managed. Some say that a farmer can be sued for possession of this genetic material.


    Others disagree:

    I find Monsanto’s claims unconvincing.

    Bottom line, I don’t trust our governments to enforce the rights of small businesses when they are threatened by campaign contributing mega-businesses. IF GM material I didn’t buy winds up in my crops, I should have grounds for suing them, not the other way around, in much the same way that I could if I found their weed killer or their diesel fuel on my crops.

  • llamas

    John wrote:

    “Some say that a farmer can be sued for possession of this genetic material.”

    Well, no, they are not being investiated for possession of genetic material – they are being sued (or whatever the exact state of play is in the case) for exploiting genetic material.

    If we don’t like the fact that genetic material can be patented – and presently, under US law, it can – then the gripe should be with the Congress that makes the patent laws, and not with Monsanto for doing, what the law specifically permits them to do.

    Personally, I find the claims of genetic material drifting on the wind or falling off the back of a lorry to be unconvincing. Such claims have been tested in the past (Schmeiser at al) and found similarly unconvincing by a court. And indeed, if you read to the bottom of the linked story, we find that a seed agent is involved. Quelle surprise.

    Patented seed is saved, bagged and sold, in violation of the tech agreement, because it works. Now that glyphosate is off-patent, it’s easy to get into growing unlicensed RUR crops, because there’s no way to track whether or not you bought the herbicide that is half of the system. And people squawk when they’re caught doing this, and invoke some bucolic fantasy of Ma and Pa Kettle, down on the farm, just raisin’ a few chickens peacable-like, until the Big Bad Lawyer from Town came a’callin’. This kind of story plays well with those ignorant about farming and those with a predisposition to believe this sort of narrative.



  • ManikMonkee

    Its quite refreshing talking to academics and scientists in Africa, almost every one I’ve met supports GMO’s. Unlike Europe where for a long time nearly everyone I met parroted the Greenpeace line. It is quite shocking how strong their influence is on EU citizens opinions.

    What fucks like Greenpeace are doing in Africa is criminal

    I’d highly recomend downloading this


    “This is an important book…Paarlberg has written extensively about smallholder agricultural development and genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa. Here he goes much deeper than just the GM debate to suggest that the anti-GM arguments are part of the currently fashionable trend in many international institutions such as the World Bank and leading NGOs to push organic agriculture and a European-style regulatory system in Africa–instead of promoting increased production”

  • damaged justice

    Hurrah, Monsanto makes it easier to feed the world with poison. Eat your hearthealthywholegrains!

  • Gordon Walker

    Contary to common belief Monsanto’s glyphosate patent lapsed at least twenty years ago and anyone who is willing to pay their prices when you can easily find a generic substitute at a third of the price needs their head looking at.
    More generally, the mainstream environmentalist bodies are luddite and people haters. I sometimes think that they deserve the epithet “Hostes generis humani” usually applied to pirates.

  • llamas

    Apprently my previous comment disappeared into Smite Hell.

    Actually, Monsanto’s patent on glyphosate aka RoundUp expired in 2000.

    To a larger point – John wrote:

    ‘ . . . a farmer can be sued for possession of this genetic material.’

    Actually, no – what farmers are being investigated and/or sued for is exploiting this patented genetic material. If you have a beef with the idea that genetic material can be patented (and it may be a legitimate beef, that’s not my point) then your beef is with the Congress that made it so, and not with Monsanto for doing, what the law and the courts have expressly said they may do. Monsanto didn’t write the patent law.

    Personally, having looked in detail at some of these stories, what I find ‘unconvincing’ are these stories if seed falling off the back of a lorry and pollen carried on the breezes. These stories have failed to convince the courts as well – see Schmeiser et al.

    What happening here is that seed containing Monsanto’s patent RUR genetic material is being saved and/or grown and/or sold in breach of the license agreement, a process known as ‘brown-bagging’. The reason that this is being done is that It Works. Now that glyphosate is off-patent and you can buy it anywhere, this approach to exploiting the patented technology is made riotously easy to do, since there is no way to track a user who buys one half of the RUR system – the herbicide – and there’s so much RUR corn in the commodity stream that it’s easy to sell grain grown this way. Once it goes into the elevator, the kernels don’t have serial numbers.

    Of course, when people doing this are caught, they are always shocked! shocked! to find that they were growing RUR crops – even though they sprayed it with RoundUp, a powerful herbicide that kills everything in its path, they thought nothing of the fact that their corn didn’t wither and die. Just one of those things! It must have fallen off the back of a lorry!