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Thought I would share that a new documentary about genetic modification is currently being broadcast on YouTube until October 17th- for free. California has a ballot initiative, Prop 37, which will mandate labeling of GM foods. This is a huge fight and I believe that it should pass. Of course, there is belly aching from the GM industry that folks will make uneducated decisions, that many of the people who are anti-GM are neo-Luddites who hate science, etc. etc. They are spending quite a few dollars against this proposition and will continue to fight it until November.

We have the right to know. Watch this video and share it widely in the next few days.

(Edit, Note: the embed for Genetic Roulette is AFTER the link for Green Gold. Sorry for any confusion!)

I'm only eighteen minutes in so far and it seems well produced. I know there are many people on this site who are pro GMO, but I also know there are many reasons why my supranational federation (the EU) continues to impose a ban on widespread introduction of the crops to this continent. Yes, they do make their way into our foods, especially in soy for animal feed (even in "certified" rain forest friendly, GMO free soy), but they are not present on the scale seen back in the States.

As I said, this won't be a long diary. But for those who continue to believe that genetic modification is the key to feeding the planet, I point you to this diary which has links to a very small handful of documentaries showcasing agroecology and permaculture that never use GMO in their designs. When was the last time a GM crop greened a desert? Turned a mountain side in the Alps into a model farm? Helped replant a rainforest?

Or this new documentary, Green Gold by John D. Liu in which he travels the globe to showcase "large scale damaged ecosystems" which are being turned around in dramatic fashion through the application of agroecology. (I really need to diary this documentary and Mr. Liu's work)

For more evidence (some repeated in the documentaries, but not the images of Niger), see this link. There are before and after photos of sites from around the world. Look especially at Niger. Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) only requires a brief workshop, a pocketknife, and dedication. Over 30,000 square kilometers (18,631 mi2) are already being managed in West Africa using this method.

Our problems are cultural- the way we do things. We don't face food shortages because GM tech isn't spread enough. We don't face water cycle problems, desertification, rural brain drain, salinization, pest "problems," fertility problems, etc. because of a lack of GMOs. We face these problems because of our system of industrialized agriculture and its emphasis on so-called efficiency. The addition of untested GMOs is only exacerbating our cultural addiction to combating nature.

As evidenced by the examples above, we can accomplish much more when we work with natural processes. Take it from experts at the UN:

Small-scale farmers can double food production in a decade by using simple ecological methods, according to the findings of a new United Nations study released today, which calls for a fundamental shift towards agroecology as a poverty alleviation measure.
So while I expect to see many pro-GM arguments in the comments, I've done my best to provide evidence that the millions being poured into researching GMOs could better be spent providing loans (micro and otherwise) to farmers around the world to educate them about agroecology. I have yet to see a story where a GMO has pulled a village out of poverty and improved their environment. Especially on the scale being witnessed in Niger, the Loess Plateau in China, and in Ethiopia.

I would usually wait until I have watched the entire film before writing a diary, but since I am already 7 time zones ahead of EST I thought I'd just share the link(s).

English, no subtitles.

English, with subtitles.

English, with Spanish subtitles.

(Updated- added this resource list for those wanting a little bit more info on agroecology)

Additional Resources

Excellent, must see documentary: John Liu's Green Gold- extended version of "Hope in a Changing Climate" that was presented at the recent Rio summit. I'll have to do a diary on this documentary. It is astounding.

There are some excellent video presentations from last year's International Permaculture Convergence held in Jordan, which followed a permaculture design course taught at the world-renowned "Greening the Desert Part II" site in the Dead Sea Valley. Here is a link to the documentary about the site, and here is a photo update from 2011 (around the time of the Convergence). John Liu's Green Gold also features the site and is probably newer than the 2011 pictures. If you scroll to the bottom of this webpage, you will find links to video presentations given at the convergence. Most were delivered in Bedouin tents near Wadi Rum.

You can also find a few more great documentaries in the first diary of this series- one about rainforest restoration to provide habitat for orangutans and a standard of living for the local people using agroecological methods as well as a documentary about Sepp Holzer, a very famous Austrian noted for his ability to cultivate citrus in the Alps.

My favorite books:

Edible Forest Gardens, Vol I and II. David Jacke with Eric Toensmeier. Chelsea Green, 2006.
Sepp Holzer's Permaculture. Sepp Holzer, translated by Anna Sapsford-Francis. Chelsea Green, 2010.
Gaia's Garden. Toby Hemenway. Chelsea Green, 2009 (2nd edition).
Let the Water Do the Work. Bill Zeedyk and Van Clother. The Quivira Coalition, 2009.
The One Straw Revolution. Masanobu Fukuoka. Link will point you to a decent review.
Akinori Kimura's Miracle Apples. By Takuji Ishikawa, translated by Yoko Ono. This is an absolutely fantastic story. My favorite part is towards the end, chapter 22, when Kimura is told of his family's first success. Give it a read!

For a much fuller list of books on the subject, see Toby Hemenway's Permaculture Reading List. The article I linked to up top is also a great read.

There are plenty of materials online as well. The Permaculture Research Institute is excellent (Updated: formerly PRI Australia).

Originally posted to Practical Survivalism and Sustainable Living on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 11:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

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