The electronic media introduced this idea to the larger audience very, very quickly. We spent years and years and years meeting with activists all over Europe to lay the groundwork for a political response, as we did here.
What I'm suggesting to you is that this could be a renaissance. We may be on the cusp of a future which could provide a tremendous leap forward for humanity.
Many of the genetically modified foods will be safe, I'm sure. Will most of them be safe? Nobody knows.
What's different here is that we have now technologies that allow these life science companies to bypass classical breeding. That's what makes it both powerful and exciting.
The interesting thing is, while we die of diseases of affluence from eating all these fatty meats, our poor brethren in the developing world die of diseases of poverty, because the land is not used now to grow food grain for their families.
The antitrust litigation currently in the federal courts in the U.S. against Monsanto will be the test case in the life sciences, just as the Microsoft case was the test case in the information sciences.
When we seed millions of acres of land with these plants, what happens to foraging birds, to insects, to microbes, to the other animals, when they come in contact and digest plants that are producing materials ranging from plastics to vaccines to pharmaceutical products?
The 10 largest antitrust law firms in the United States have gone into the federal courts charging Monsanto with creating a global conspiracy in violation of the antitrust laws, to control the global market in seeds.
Back in 1983, the United States government approved the release of the first genetically modified organism. In this case, it was a bacteria that prevents frost on food crops.
In this country, the health concerns and the environmental concerns are as deep as in Europe. All the surveys show that. But here, we didn't have the cultural dimension. This is a fast-food culture.
Europe will not accept genetically modified foods. It doesn't make any difference in the final analysis what Brussels does, what Washington does, or what the World Trade Organization does.
It may be that everything the life science companies are telling us will turn out to be right, and there's no problem here whatsoever. That defies logic.
The position I took at the time was that we hadn't really examined any of the potential environmental consequences of introducing genetically modified organisms.
They're now turning those seeds into intellectual property, so they have a virtual lock on the seeds upon which we all depend for our food and survival.
Many of the mainstream agricultural scientists, especially at the agricultural schools, but at all of our major universities, are tied into all sorts of contractual relationships and consulting relationships with the life science companies.
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