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Musings of a Malcontent: If it’s Not the Seeds, it’s the Weeds – Is Monsanto Creating Monsters?

Musings of a Malcontent: Environmental Irony in an Imperfect (but humorous?) World“Musings of a Malcontent” is a weekly op-ed by GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Carlyle Coash

Nature will always find a way.

The last couple of weeks I have been thinking about the film Jurassic Park. Great movie. A theme that is clear throughout the film is that no matter how much we think we can control nature, in the end we see that it is impossible to control. One of my favorite moments is when they are touring the lab and Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) challenges the lead geneticist on the their claim that the dinosaurs cannot breed because they control the process. At one point they say:

Dr. Yu: You’re implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will… breed?

Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, I’m, I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way.

Boy does it find a way in that movie – with a vengeance.

The thing is, we are doing things like this every day. We muck about, tweaking the world around us to control it to suit our needs. Yet again and again we tend to solve one problem only to create another. Have a rat problem? Bring in cats. Have a cat problem? Bring in wolves. Have a wolf problem? Bring in velociraptor.

It can get out of hand so quickly.

A read in a Reuter’s article a couple of weeks ago that farmers in the Midwest are having their posterior handed to them by a kind of “super weed” that is domineering crops all over the place. One of these weeds, known as “waterhemp”, grows quickly and chokes the crops in the fields where it grows. Apparently there are over 11 million acres of crops affected by super weeds and the problem is not going away. What will not surprise you is that we caused the problem.

Well when I say “we” I really mean “Monsanto”.Sorry Monsanto, but it seems clear that you really blew it. First you genetically alter seeds that are resistant to your pesticide Roundup. Then you get farmers to alter how they manage their crops so that they buy into – and I mean this literally – the Roundup Ready system. Sure for a while those farmers had amazing yield from their crops. They even reduced some practices that damage the soil. They also completely stopped practices that helped them manage the diverse and changing weed plant life that is part of agriculture.

The weeds, by the way, love Roundup now. Not only do these new super weeds not care about being sprayed with Roundup, they would likely mainline it if they had a needle. They are totally jonesing for the stuff. The market for Roundup in the fields is totally overtaking meth or even cocaine. Word on the rows is that they are whacking other weeds to make sure only they get the best product. It’s gone crazy.

In other words, you tried to control the situation and, Monsanto, you lost. Nature, after all, will always find a way.

Let’s just be thankful they were not trying to breed T Rex’s.

What amazed me about the article I read was that its focus narrowed in on Monsanto’s market strength. Yeah that’s what I am worried about – Monsanto’s market strength. What will we do now that their grip has loosened around our proverbial neck? How will we see our way through? Who will save us now? Forget all the damage they have done to a rather depended-upon agricultural system – let’s be bummed for the shareholders.

Apparently their market strength will weaken because other chemical companies will use this opportunity to introduce weed killers outside of the Monsanto milieu. As a global strategy leader at Dow Chemical stated, “You’ve kind of been in a Roundup Ready era…this just allows us to candidly get out from the Monsanto story”.

So, if we are getting out from under Monsanto, whom are we getting under next?

So far it seems to me that Monsanto has not been a particularly considerate lover. Is Dow or another company any better? Will they send flowers the next day? And chocolates? Once they have had us will they continue to whisper sweet nothings in our ear? Will they let us have our own personal expression or will they simply want to control us as well? Tell us what to wear and what to eat. Demand that we only look at them and no other? Start knee capping anyone who smiles at us?

As the universal grandmother would say, “What are their intentions?”

After all, it would seem if given the chance these companies would kill for the level of control Monsanto holds over the current system. Monsanto has the farmers coming and going – so much so that these farmers are in serious trouble. Chemical costs are higher, crops are wielding less and the simple act of harvesting actually spreads these super weeds even more. In the end, Monsanto is the one making the money.

It would seem to me that a little competition is good.

I do wonder what these other companies have up their sleeves to combat the new super weeds. Something equally horrible I am sure. Hey, I know. Maybe they could use all the radioactive runoff still coming from the Fukushima reactor in Japan. I mean they are already dumping it into the ocean – why not use it to kill a few weeds. Put that deadly toxin to good use for heavens sake!

I bet those super weeds would not like that at all. Talk about one really BAD high. Better yet – since the radiation is already coming across the ocean – why not just take out the middle man? I am sure the Pacific Ocean would not appreciate being referred to as the middle man here – but you get my point.

I think if they did it would be a win-win for everybody.

After all, haven’t you always wanted your food to glow in the dark?

Image source: The Alopecian Muse

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