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Do GMOs Threaten Farming & Nature?

by Don Fitz

 

More and more organic farmers, safe food activists, forest protectors and biologists are becoming con-cerned with how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can affect ecological systems.  While altering the biology of plants, GMOs interfere with soil microorganism and insect species.  They undermine bio-diversity by encouraging the use of monocultures and pesticides.  Monocultures of eucalyptus trees can be especially prone to forest fires.

 

Organic gardening and farming is much more than growing food locally without pesticides.  It means knowing the value of non-crop species and how to use organic material to build soil.  A good organic farmer understands how cultivated plants are in continuous interaction with their living and non-living surroundings.

 

During February 2012 Green Time TV will air four programs looking at how pesticides and GMOs can affect organic gardens and farms as well as forests.  The first two shows feature discussions with St. Louis organic growers James Meinert of New Roots Urban Farm and Paul Krautmann of Bellews Creek Farm.  They pay particular attention to the many dimensions of biodiversity and whether agricultural chemicals can make food less nutritious.

 

Both episodes include interviews with Dr. Vandana Shiva, who compares pesticide usage to drug addiction.  These interviews, along with those with Dr. Charles Benbrook, Walter Heafeker, and Douglas Tallamy, are from the movie, “Nicotine Bees.”

 

In the third February program, biologist Claudia Henriquez and forest activist Daniel digger Romano explain that engineering trees to contain less lignin can ease the manufacture of paper products.  Unfortunately, it can also make trees susceptible to disease and falling over.  This program includes the brief movie, “Anti-GE Tree Day.”

The final February episode features biologist/philosopher Dr. Marti Crouch contemplating the value of weeds as a source of food and for maintaining the health of agriculture and ecosystems.  Dr. Crouch maintains that the goal of keeping agriculture and nature separate is neither possible nor desirable.  She offers  the dandelion as an example of a useful and vigorous plant that some would risk poisoning their children to destroy.

 

Green Time can now be seen on KNLC stations in four Missouri areas.  It appears at noon on Saturdays in St. Louis on Channel 24-1 and at 8 pm on Mondays in St. Louis on Channel 24-2, Springfield on Channel 39, Joplin on Channel 36 and Marshfield on Channel 17.

February Green Time programs focusing on GMOs, farming and nature air on these dates:

• Saturday, February 4 & Monday

February 6: “Organic Agriculture;”

• Saturday, February 11 &

Monday February 13: “Green Revolution:

Promise or Peril?”

• Saturday, February 18 &

Monday February 20: “Genetically

Engineered Trees?”

• Saturday, February 25 &

Monday February 27: “Let There

Be Weeds.”

 

For information about Green Time, call 314-727-8554 or email fitzdon@aol.com.

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