GMO opposition-related deaths by environmentalism

In 1997, a book was published in France that caused quite a bit of controversy. The Black Book of Communism is a scholarly tract based on opened Soviet and other Eastern Block country archives. The book reveals everything from propaganda scares to torture to mass executions to even the most minor forms of intimidation and atrocity were used by Communist regimes and revolutionary groups in order to regiment and control people. The result of practicing Communism was death on a massive scale that resulted in the worst humanitarian crimes and death tolls in human history.

It has been established both by statements made by Greenpeace founder Dr. Patrick Moore and a recent news report from a climate rally in Oakland, California that the environmentalist movement is a remaking of the international communist movement. Former British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson recently accused Greenpeace of contributing to the deaths of 6000 people.

Patterson states the deaths were a result of a lack of a Vitamin A deficiency stemming from Greenpeace spearheading opposition to GMO research trial related to golden rice in the Philippines. He goes on to state that Greenpeace’s opposition was exploitative and caused enormous suffering and misery. Greenpeace not only scoffed at Patterson’s assertions but went on to state they had nothing to do with the GMO protests in the Philippines last year.

I suppose the spokesman (or woman) who spoke for the group in response to ex-Minister Patterson’s statement overlooked an article published in Slate last year written by environmentalist and former anti-GMO activist Mark Lynas. In his essay, Lynas affirms Greenpeace’s having a hand in blocking the golden rice trials in the Philippines though not the attacks directly that took place at the farm where the golden rice tests were being held. He states:

It has long been a mainstay of the anti-GMO scene in the Philippines and recently joined with Greenpeace in securing a court injunction against a genetically modified eggplant designed to reduce insecticide use.

And then there is that open communist presence that keeps creeping up whenever an environmentalist group, like Greenpeace, is around:

KMP is an extreme-left organization that promotes a conspiracy theory that golden rice is being produced to facilitate a multinational takeover of the Filipino rice market. In reality, golden rice is being produced by public sector organizations and would be handed out free to farmers, who would be encouraged to save and replant seeds year after year with no technology fees or royalties. Such widespread, free distribution is central to the project’s plans for achieving its humanitarian goals.
Lynas goes on to say:

Greenpeace, with its $335 million annual revenue, has nearly four times more funding than the entire International Rice Research Institute (most of whose work involves conventional plant breeding). Greenpeace has waged a decade-long campaign against golden rice because it involves transgenic technology. The scientists at IRRI insist that there was no other way to get genes for beta-carotene into rice.

Greenpeace’s scaremongering includes the regular production of glossy reports spreading unscientific myths about golden rice. In China last year it successfully created a fake media scandal which landed some of the key Chinese project scientists in jail. Greenpeace Southeast Asia spokespeople took to the media to speak in support of the destruction of the golden rice trial in the Philippines.

The project’s scientists are reluctant to battle Greenpeace directly over golden rice before results of their research come in. I didn’t meet any experts at IRRI who claimed that their project would solve all or even a majority of the vitamin A deficiency problem worldwide. As the IRRI website makes clear, dietary diversification, capsule supplements, and food fortification are also important strategies.

Though not directly involved in the attacks against the research institute conducting the studies on golden rice, Greenpeace clearly did have a hand in the controversy. Not just on the legal side but also with the lies and propaganda they spread about things like GMO’s on their website. Therefore, Patterson is somewhat correct in his assertion and Greenpeace gets caught not only in a lie but a vicious one at best. Greenpeace, including and especially environmentalism, is culpable for contributing to the deaths of thousands resulting from their opposition to GMO’s not just in the Philippines but elsewhere as well.

Ignazio Silone once remarked that Revolutions, like trees, must be judged by their fruit. In this case, Greenpeace assisted in uprooting scientific efforts to help feed the population of a third world country with extremely healthy and nutritious food that could help them replenish potential vitamin A deficiencies and instead chose to exact death over life. In light of all of these facts, one wonders if someone will author a Black Book of Environmentalism.