Re: SOC/BIO Rifkins "worldwide moratorium"

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Fri Aug 04 2000 - 07:23:03 MDT

This is from the Seeds of Change eNewsletter #12 I was tempted to
post the whole thing, but restrained myself, it can be found at

*A farmer's lament
Don Dunklee, an organic grower in Michigan, submitted the following
article to our eGroup Forum

Counterpoint: milkweeds, monarchs and genetically modified

I am a farmer. I knew that since I was 5. I grow crops. The land I
farm also grows butterflies, birds, earthworms and wildflowers, or
at least now I think it is supposed to. Right now I am having
trouble figuring out what kind of farmer I am or should be. This
question is not just for me, but for everyone. I am concerned that
there is no room for bluebirds and butterflies in big precision
genetically modified-producing agriculture, described in an April
30-May 3 Star Tribune series.

In 1995 I thought I was going to be a big farmer and rented land
from one side of the county to the other. I guess the best way to
characterize attitudes about faraway rented land is you don't find
yourself putting up birdhouses on it. It is an economic decision.
We live in the middle of our farm. When you live on the land you
farm, you find yourself wanting to plant trees and put up
birdhouses. Sometimes the weeds are wildflowers that the bugs
treasure, and you and your kids bring them into your house and
cherish them.

Twelve years ago, I rented land that had sat idle for two years. It
was full of weeds -- annual weeds, perennial weeds, lots and lots
of milkweed, classic big huge milkweeds. The battle began.

For a number of years, I never really got on top of those milkweeds
and they never really got on top of the crop. One year I put the
field in wheat and had a chance to end it for the milkweeds. The
timing of the herbicide application would have to be perfect. It
rained when I was supposed to spray.

Looking back, I think this was supposed to happen. I would drive by
that field and try not to look at those oh-so-healthy milkweeds.
Finally one day I stopped to look at my wheat and milkweed field.
Nearly every milkweed had a monarch butterfly caterpillar on it.
Milkweed is the sole host of the monarch butterfly caterpillar. We
didn't make much off the wheat, and nearly choked on the milkweed
fuzz in the straw, but took solace in knowing we raised a good crop
of monarchs that year.

In 1997, Roundup Ready genetically engineered soybeans became
widely available. Roundup herbicide kills everything green except
the soybeans with the genetic alteration. The application window is
huge. I grew some of these soybeans. The milkweeds are gone. I
didn't stop to think about this until the summer of 1999 when it
was reported that pollen from Bt corn, another genetically
engineered crop, was getting on the milkweed in field borders and
may be killing the monarch butterfly caterpillars. I found myself
hoping that the offspring of the monarchs I had displaced had not
wound up next to a Bt corn field. Odds are they will. Before
Roundup Ready genetic engineering, it was difficult to kill
milkweed in crops. My milkweeds are gone. My neighbor's milkweeds
are gone. Farmers using Roundup Ready genetics in soybeans, cotton,
corn and sugar-beets are eradicating milkweed from their field
nationwide, forcing the monarch butterflies to lay their eggs on
milkweed in field borders and ditches. Have we done well? Perhaps
not by the butterflies.

Who is going to tell our children?

-- Michael Klingelhutz, Waconia

Published Monday, May 8, 2000
) Copyright 2000 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
>From Organic Gardening magazine website: What's Wrong With
>From the Organic Trade Association comes this report:
Glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup) linked to Non-Hodgkin's

A population-based case-control study conducted in Sweden between
1987 and 1990 by oncologists Dr. Lennart Hardell and Dr. Mikael
Eriksson concluded that exposure to herbicides and fungicides
resulted in significantly increased risks for non-Hodgkin's
lymphoma (NHL), a form of cancer. In the study, published in the
March 15 Journal of American Cancer Society, the researchers
concluded that in particular, exposure to glyphosate "yielded
increased risks for NHL". Glyphosate is the world's most widely
used herbicide. It is estimated that over 112,000 metric tons were
used worldwide during 1998. Companies developing
herbicide-resistant crops also are increasing their production for
herbicides such as glyphosate and requesting permits for higher
residues of these chemicals in genetically engineered food.
Monsanto, for instance, has received permits for a threefold
increase in herbicide residues--from 6 parts
per million to 20 parts per million on genetically engineered
soybeans in Europe and the United States.
*What is your best tip for pest control organically?
Do you have a successful method for dealing with pests? Please
email it to with "Pest Tip" in the
subject and we will add it to our tip list for a future web page.


Extropy Institute,
Adler Planetarium
Life Extension Foundation,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
Mars Society,
Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W

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