Observations on local and not so local environmental events, including people and their surroundings.
Brazil Set to Legalize Terminator Seeds
Brazil may be the first country to defy the 13 year UN
moratorium on the commercial sale of terminator seeds. This would be the “thin
edge of the wedge” to gradually collapse the ban on the engineered seeds.Terminator seeds are those engineered to
produce a crop but the seeds from the crop will not germinate or sprout if
planted. So if a farmer buys a GM seed that also has the terminator trait, he
cannot save seed and avoid buying seed from the corporation next planting.
That is bad enough but many of the crops that are GM spread
their pollen via insects, other animals and the wind spreading their traits to
non-GM fields. The spread of terminator traits would be disastrous to organic
and more traditional farmers, forcing them to purchase seed from corporations.
It would eventually drastically reduce the biodiversity of food crops as seed
houses sell what is commercially viable.
The Judicial Commission is meeting this week to review their
decision about Terminators. Whatever their decision, it amounts to an advisory
one and the Brazilian Government may choose to break the moratorium. This would
be the first small step in collapsing the 193 country agreement to keep these
dangerous seeds out of the food stocks.
Commission passes the bill this week,” says Centro Ecológico’s Maria José
Guazzelli, “the Congress could make it law after it reconvenes in February.
While most of Brazil is celebrating a Christmas birth, the seed multinationals
will be celebrating the death of the 10,000-year right of farmers to save
seeds.” GM Watch
A child of the terminator seed is the zombie seed. It is
modified to be able to germinate if it is treated by a specific chemical, one
that is produced by the gene tech corporation of course. Zombies are currently
popular in the entertainment business, but in my opinion that’s where they
Vancouver Island is surrounded by clean, cold water. The
Pacific Ocean cradles the island moderating its climate and providing
livelihoods for many in the fishing industry. One of the successful, modern
fisheries is raising of scallops in the Georgia Strait in Qualicum Bay.
Vancouver Island Scallops have developed a method for
farming the delectable little morsels and until the past few years, been very
successful at it. The scallops are started in the hatchery and when they have
attached to lines are put in nets and placed in the ocean waters. Scallops are
filter feeders so they get their food from plankton floating in the cold
waters. It usually takes about three years before a scallop is ready for
Scallops are called bivalves(two shells). The shells are
made up of chalky material high in calcium carbonate. You know what a scallop
shell looks like if you’ve ever seen the Shell Oil symbol. That’s it.
Unfortunately for the scallops and their shellf…
Most of us are aware of the part that Styrofoam and plastic
bags have played in contributing to the load of plastics in the oceans. Have
you ever wondered what happens to the stuff of tires when they wear down? The
tiny bits that wear off your tires and those of all those other “rubber” tires
around the world mostly ends up in the oceans.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has
published a report that points to two big polluters – tiny plastic particles
from modern tires and synthetic clothing.
Both contribute about 30% of the overall plastic load being
funneled into our oceans today. These two sources alone are estimated to add
about 9.5 million tonnes annually to our waters.
The IUCN lists the top seven plastic polluters and surprisingly
plastic shopping bags don’t make the list. Following are the seven worst
polluters according to the group. ·Tires – many are not made of rubber any longer
but are a complex mixture including plastics·Synthetic textiles – the gr…
Gas flaring wastes gas and adds to atmospheric warming
The current practise of flaring off methane that is routine
in many gas and oil operations may soon be a thing of the past. Researchers
associated with the University of Washington, Pullman, have developed a new
technique which makes it far less expensive to convert the methane so that it
can be used more easily.
Researchers Jean-Sabin McEwen and Su Ha have tweaked the
catalytic reaction to make the conversion more economical. “Right now, we just waste all those gases,” said Ha.
“If we can efficiently and effectively convert methane from shale or gas fields
to electric power or useful products, that would be very positive.” A large
percentage of the US methane is currently flared off. Methane is a potent
greenhouse gas and contributes a large percentage of the world’s atmospheric
greenhouse gases. One molecule of the gas contributes over 30 times the warming
effect of one molecule of carbon dioxide. Methane
is a useful gas, making up…