December 14, 2012

Famines and other "radical overhauls"

By Anthony L. Francois Senior Attorney

Why do some organizations profess to care so much about food, and decide that the problem is technologies that produce more food, instead of the corrupt governments that oppress hungry citizens?  Perhaps the question answers itself: they care more about preventing success, even success in feeding the hungry, than they care about feeding the hungry.

Greenpeace’s Sustainable Agriculture Campaign recognizes that, “globally speaking, lack of food is not the cause of hunger.  Political challenges and failures are the cause of world hunger with an estimated one billion victims.”  ‘Political challenges and failures’ would be code for corrupt, incompetent, and oppressive governments. But instead of focusing their resources on the despots and bureaucrats whom they identify as the real causes of hunger, Greenpeace is fighting technologies like genetic engineering that produce more food. In their view, the problem is not the regimes who engineer or enable famine, but the rest of us who, well, make too much food.

Having botched the problem statement this badly, it is not a shock that their answer is (drumroll) making less food, through universal organic farming.  To accomplish this they call for “a thorough and radical overhaul of present international and national agricultural policies.”  Did we all catch that?  Greenpeace knows that oppressive and incompetent regimes make a billion people hungry, and they want a thorough and radical overhaul of agricultural polices to be undertaken by … those same governments.  Who else will implement “radical overhauls of national agricultural policies”?

Let Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo explain: “It angers me that corporate scientists and global genetic engineering companies can still get away with the bogus claim that their seeds will feed the poor, when in fact their only goal is greater profits.” So, even if it is true that genetic engineering helps feed the poor, Naidoo is angry that business enterprises are helping the poor.  Even if they do more to feed the hungry than Greenpeace will ever do, corporations are the problem because they are in business.

Fortunately, not every veteran of the international environmental movement has lost sight of what the poor, and their environments, truly need.  Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, recently described his former colleagues’ anti-GMO campaign as a “crime against humanity.”

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