Environmental wackoes at it again over alfalfa

The environmental wackoes are at it again. The same old group of warm and fuzzy-sounding organizations have filed suit in federal court in northern California demanding the government rescind its approval of herbicide-resistant alfalfa.

The Center for Food Safety, Sierra Club, the Cornucopia Institute and others of similar ilk want to toss out at least two decades of research and years of field trials. They cite the same old lame and scientifically unfounded allegations of pollen contamination from GMO crops and are even tossing in concerns that herbicide-resistant alfalfa introduced this season will harm alfalfa export markets. The mass media will pick up the press release and you can read all the inflammatory quotes and half truths there — no questions asked.

It is more revealing to find out who these people are trying to protect you and me. One of the best places I have found to get the facts on these environmental whacko groups is the Web site ActivistCash.com.

Here is what ActivistCash says about the Center for Food Safety:

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) is a project of the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA). CFS is headed by Andrew Kimbrell, who was mentored by Jeremy Rifkin at the Foundation on Economic Trends. Next to the Unabomber, Rifkin is perhaps America's most notable anti-technologist. CFS's current focus is large-scale agriculture — specifically, food technology. It is a major partner in the “Keep Nature Natural” campaign, which receives funding from the organic food industry. CFS often participates in food scare projects managed by Fenton Communications, a Washington, D.C., public relations firm often used by anti-industry activists.

In 2004, CFS was the single largest financial contributor to a campaign to ban biotech crops in Mendocino County, Calif.

The spokesman for CFS is identified as Charles Margulis. ActivistCash.com calls him “essentially a public relations spokesman for Greenpeace's anti-biotech smear campaigns. Margulis waged a PR blitz that tried to show Kellogg's Corn Flakes to be unsafe, without any supporting scientific evidence. Margulis is credited with coining the term “FrankenFood.”

More from AboutCash.com:

As part of an interview for the public-television special “Harvest of Fear,” a PBS reporter asked Margulis about his organization's position regarding biotech foods. “You're not interested in better regulation?” PBS inquired. “You'd like to just eliminate [all genetically improved foods]?” Margulis responded, “That's absolutely correct.”

Forbes magazine once described it (Greenpeace) as “a skillfully managed business” with full command of “the tools of direct mail and image manipulation — and tactics that would bring instant condemnation if practiced by a for-profit corporation.” But Greenpeace has escaped public censure by hiding behind the mask of its “non-profit” status and its U.S. tax exemption.

With each cry of “wolf,” Greenpeace seems to up the ante while ignoring the real-world consequences of its rhetoric. The group has warned that genetic crop engineering would cause new and horrible food allergies (it hasn't), and that biotech corn would endanger monarch butterflies (whose numbers have increased substantially since the introduction of biotech corn). And completely forgotten by the “Frankenfood” protesters is the tremendous potential for biotech foods to solve many of the Third World's famine-related problems. Tanzania's Dr. Michael Mbwille (of the non-profit Food Security Network) said it best. “Greenpeace,” he wrote, “prints and circulates these lies faster than the Code Red virus infected the world's computers. If we were to apply Greenpeace's scientifically illiterate standards [for soybeans] universally, there would be nothing left on our tables.”

Dr. Patrick Moore, who has spoken to agricultural and consumer groups many times in California, was a co-founder of Greenpeace in the basement of a Unitarian Church in Vancouver. As eco-activists in general found themselves suddenly invited into the meeting-places of business and government, Greenpeace made the decision to take even more extreme positions, rather than being drawn in to collaboration with their former enemies.

Moore left Greenpeace with this turn to extremism, and has emerged as an articulate critic of his former brainchild. He has referred to Greenpeace's “eco-extremism” as “anti-human; antitechnology and anti-science; anti-organization;” and “pro-anarchy; anti-trade anti-free-enterprise; anti-democratic;” and “basically anti-civilization.”

Writing in Canada's National Post in October 2001, Patrick Moore offered the following critique: “I had no idea that after I left in 1986 they would evolve into a band of scientific illiterates. Clearly, my former Greenpeace colleagues are either not reading the morning paper or simply don't care about the truth.”

Now you know who is filing suit to get the government to rescind approval of herbicide-resistant alfalfa. We only hope they are as successful as they have been in the past stopping progress.

e-mail: [email protected]

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.