The herbicide Roundup seemed like a good idea in the beginning. After all, it was designed for no till crop systems, reducing the need for plowing up the soil bed, and exposing precious soil to the elements and erosion. What could go wrong?
Over 155 million acres are planted in what are known as Roundup Ready crops, crops that are inherent to our livelihoods such as corn, soybeans, and cotton. These Roundup Ready crops are genetically modified to tolerate having the herbicide sprayed directly onto them, killing everything around them while leaving the crop standing tall. Roundup Ready seeds are patented by Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup. In order to be able to use Roundup, farmers have to buy Roundup Ready seeds, resulting in a perfectly closed circle, or rather an endlessly spinning hamster wheel, farmers find it difficult to get off of.
Genetically engineered crops were supposed to be a panacea, promising increased yields and reduced dependence on herbicides. In reality, they have done neither. Weeds that have grown resistant to herbicides, including Roundup, have resulted in greater applications of herbicides being required to achieve the same results, and the promised greater yields haven’t materialized either.
A new and potent microscopic pathogen, which is can be linked to Roundup Ready crops or Roundup itself may be directly linked to reproductive failures and abortions in livestock. If it’s in livestock, what livestock eats or what you eat, the odds are pretty good it might also be showing up in a human organism close to you any day.
It’s becoming harder and harder to buy the notion that genetically modified organisms, (GMO’s) and all the accoutrement that goes along with making them useful is harmless. And if a respected scientist is writing a letter like this to the Ag Secretary, the issue may be bigger than we can imagine.
Our agriculture and food system depends on these crops whether it’s a good thing or not. Solutions aren’t going to be easy or cheap and may result in economic change the likes of which we can’t comprehend right now.
The bottom line is that the genie is well and truly out of the bottle, and it may be impossible to stuff her back in.