Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Setting the Scene on GMO’s

I'd like to introduce you all to Mr. Mark Plummer who I'm pleased to say has joined the VIDDA Publishing team. Mark's first book for VIDDA will be released via Amazon Kindle, November 14th 2015. 

This is the first in a five book series covering one the most important and controversial subjects in today's society, our food supplies and the proliferation of GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms). If you have questions about GMO's this series of books will supply the answers for you. 

Knowledge is power as the overused saying goes. But is anything more important than being able to make an informed choice when choosing exactly what food you and your family put on the dinner table? It sound simple but day by day that choice is being taken away from us. 

Conspiracy or fact? You owe to yourself to find out exactly what is happening in the biotech/food industry and what the possible consequences will mean to you.

Please read Mark's bio at the end of this blog.
We encourage your support and feedback, thank you.

Setting the Scene on GMO’s
Mark Plummer BSc /PGCE

          About 12 years ago I was enjoying that rarest of beasts, a paid job that I actually enjoyed and that made a difference. I am now enjoying a second incarnation of that eventuality and I recommend that everyone of strives for the same. As the debacle of the Afghan invasion literally bled into its equally catastrophic bedfellow we know as the Iraq War I was employed as a fundraiser. Clearly, each of us had to obtain a minimum number of daily sign ups but our remit included raising awareness about Genetically Modified (GM) crops. In the early spring of 2003 the prospect of such plants being grown in the UK on a commercial basis was becoming distinctly likely. Unfortunately the same holds true in 2015. As I write the EU has effectively given the green light for GM crops to be grown on an ad-hoc basis. In conjunction with this reality the UK general election of May 2015 saw 11 million people vote for a government headed by a man who by his own admission wants to put “rocket boosters under TTIP” (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). After the 2015 election David Cameron re-affirmed his personal support and therefore that of the conservative party to a trade deal that could well destroy what is left of democracy in Europe. All discussion pertaining to both wholly undemocratic policies (TTIP and GMO’s) is occurring behind closed doors. We only know about them because you cannot keep something this big under wraps for ever. Secondly, in the UK at least a flurry of FOI requests have brought both policies into the public domain. I’ll put it bluntly GMO’s and TTIP/TPP are inextricably linked and resisting one augments resistance to the other. The development and growing of GM crops is merely one area that David Cameron and the wider British establishment wish to fast track. If GM crops are not stopped then I predict that by 2020 we in the EU will be eating a diet laden, (if not completely contaminated) with GMO’s. If such an eventuality occurs there will be dire consequences for all of us. 
            As the Shirley Bassey song imparts, history is in fact repeating itself. When the New Labour government headed by Tony Blair was dragging the UK into the catastrophic debacle that we know as the inter-related Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the whole discourse on GM foods was relegated to the back seat. Without doubt the British establishment saw an opportunity to pull a fast one and proceed with the commercial growing of genetically engineered crops. Thankfully, it never happened, my tiny contribution to this defeat (and it was for the government and supporters of GM foods) was the fundraising and communications role mentioned above. Unfortunately, the same battle is going to be fought over the next few years, whether you like it or not GM foods is raising its ugly head once more.  Polls undertaken in the UK appear to indicate that opposition to genetic engineering in food has softened. Therefore it seems pertinent to ask the questions:
·         What are GMO’s?
·         What is Genetic engineering?
·         Do we need it?
·         Does it work?
In my view the answers to these and other questions are a mechanism by which to remind ourselves of the very real dangers intrinsic to plant genetic engineering. The eBook “introducing GMO’s” provides a solid foundation for answering the first two questions and sets the scene for the resounding “No” to the other two. The remaining eBooks will provide the reader with concrete real evidence which back up my absolute “anti” position. It must be realised that a huge part of your point of view on GM foods (and other issues) depends on your perception and the level of acceptance you have concerning the state of the world we live in. Speaking personally I view the state of the world today and sea a ball of conflict, destruction, madness, confusion and dysfunction. All of it completely unnecessary and fuelled literally as well as figuratively by the venal desires of a selfish, lying, thieving warmongering, plutocratic elite that cares only for profit. If such a perspective (based on evidence) encapsulates your view of the mandarins of global power, then you are going to have questions.  If on the other hand you are thinking that somehow everything is OK and / or acceptable then you are probably not going have any issues with developments such as GM foods. In addition you are unlikely to have questions concerning “how things are done in this world”.  If you are of this latter persuasion I would argue that you need to wake up both for your own sake and for that of your children. If after some thought you still think that things are “going well”, then I would argue in the strongest possible terms that you have major perception problem. Overall I believe GM foods to be a product of the commercialisation of science and along with the obscene amounts of resources diverted toward military and weapons research represents an abuse of the whole scientific endeavour and its achievements.
            The actual science conducted in plant (and animal) genetic engineering laboratories may well technically brilliant and of an impeccable standard. I am not suggesting or arguing otherwise, in any case this is not the point. I am inculcating that the product does not work and alternatives exist and as such GM foods are wholly unnecessary. Genetic engineering of food crops is at the very least a prime candidate for what is known as the precautionary principle. As the phrase implies, if an activity has the potential (however remote) to harm the environment or human health then precautionary measures ought to be taken. Precautionary measures should be instilled even in the absence of any science that suggests they are necessary. Additionally, I would add that if we need to bring in protective measures for any technology then its necessity and utility, must by definition be open to question. It is interesting that the attitudes towards the science behind climate change and that displayed toward GMO’s are the antithesis of each other. On the one hand the response of the capitalist classes in the industrialised world toward climate change has been inadequate to the point of criminality. The intransigence displayed by the elite toward systemic climate change occurs in the teeth of the urgency displayed by both the global community of climatologists and the peoples of the planet. Conversely, the global establishment appears to have embraced GMO’s wholesale despite the subjective and downright spurious science and objections on the part of millions of people all over the world. If this reality does not represent a systemic contradiction (if not dysfunction) as well as a threat to global democracy then I don’t know what does.
            With climate change and GM foods there is no reverse switch. Once a genetically modified organism (GMO) has been released into the environment accidentally or otherwise there is no rescind option. The same is true of the greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere, once they are there, no viable extraction or storage technique exists for storing them. With both of these huge issues the answer is very simple, for GMO’s we don’t need them and they don’t work in the real world. For climate change the energy we use has to be derived from renewable technologies at least until we can bring hydrogen and/or fusion on stream. The one course of action not open to us is to say “oops, that didn’t work” and expect no consequence.  To see what happens when “things go wrong” the reader need only look at the litany of environmental disasters caused by invasive species across the world. Furthermore, the example of the transport of African bees to South America in the 1950’s is a classic example of what happens when nature bites us in the proverbial private parts. Thankfully communities in the affected areas have adapted and by and large dealt with this problem, but the point is they shouldn’t have had to. I argue that GMO’s fall well and truly into the precautionary category and have a real potential to cause severe irreversible damage to both human health and the environment. Despite the industries protestations to the contrary GM foods come with an inherent risk to people and planet. Additionally, intensive agriculture in general has undermined, compromised and destroyed many of the relationships that characterise sustainable agriculture.  GM foods are a product of “big agriculture” and hence cannot be seen as a solution to a problem of its own making. This is cognitive dissonance on a global scale which if allowed to continue will most definitely end in tears, streams of them from hundreds of millions of people.
            The GM food industry has absolutely circumvented the edicts of what constitutes good science and aside from generating profits for the industry serves absolutely no purpose. In addition it represents a technology that has been foisted upon us all based on a pack of lies. The lies themselves are promulgated by the proponents of the technology and an establishment which is in bed with industry. All of this has occurred for the benefit of the agribusiness oligarch which is attempting to gain even more control of the global food supply. Finally, GM crops will only exacerbate the very real systemic problems of the current food distribution system. The consequences of unfettered GM foods (which thankfully we do not to date have) could well bring about a global catastrophe that could in all seriousness compromise to the point of collapse our place on the Earth. My belief is that by the time you have finished reading these eBooks arriving at a different conclusion places a person up that famous river in Egypt and the planet up its equally famous tributary without a paddle.



I trained and taught science in Spain until a confluence of austerity, divorce and new love brought me back to the UK. I have worked on behalf most major UK charity, environmental and NGO you can think of. I was a fundraiser, data in-putter, administrator and every role in between and back again. Aside from that I have paid my dues on the chalk face of terrible temporary and agency jobs. Bitter experience has taught me, don’t let it grind you down, remember you have rights, join a union and you can say NO! Today I divide my time between writing, campaigning and teaching. My leisure time involves music, film, literature and the kitchen as well as spending quality time (what other time is there?) with friends and family.

Image: Taken outside Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope about an hour before the first time I saw Hawkwind live in the summer of 2013.