The Law of Mother Nature

April 2011

Picture from Wikimedia Commons




... and other landmark decisions

Bolivia is set to pass some landmark new laws. The country will soon have the world's first laws granting all Nature equal rights to humans.

Politicians and grassroots social groups have agreed the 'Law of Mother Nature' which redefines the countries natural resources, its rich mineral deposits, as “blessings”. The new law is expected to lead to radical conservation and social measures which will reduce pollution, reduce emissions, and control industry.



Eleven rights will be established for Nature, including:
  • the right to life and to exist
  • the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration
  • the right to pure water and clean air
  • the right to balance
  • the right not to be polluted
  • the right not to have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.
All industries in Bolivia will have to think long and hard about what their activities are actually doing to life, especially the biotech industry which doesn't seem to have any place at all in a land with laws like these.

Head South to Argentina, and you'll find an area which has noticed what its high-tech agricultural system is doing to the people living there.

The province of Santa Fe has now banned the spraying of agrochemicals in the vicinity of urban areas. This is the first case in Argentina where a Court has made a firm decision to prohibit such spraying to protect health. It sets an important precedent for judges elsewhere in the country and establishes a legal basis for questioning the GM soy/agrochemical agricultural model which has been implemented on a huge scale in Argentina.

There are lots of important implications in this landmark decision:
  • People have a right not to be sprayed with toxins
  • The precautionary principle (which states that lack of information or scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent harm to health or the environment) has been implemented
  • Long-overdue questions over the safety of glyphosate have been raised
  • The door has been opened to hundreds of new court cases for people affected by spraying.
The president of the Argentinean NGO, Cepronat, which has been involved in the law suit, summed up the whole situation: “After years of complaints, and being treated as crazy, the court has confirmed that the sprayed villagers are right. With this precedent, we will ask the same prohibition in the 300 affected villages in the province.” He continued that the problem “is not only glyphosate, but the agricultural model with health and social consequences ... The use of pesticides in Argentina is authorized based on the 'studies' of the companies themselves, and not on independent research. When you carry out a serious review of scientific studies that were not purchased, they support fair decisions, such as that taken by the court ...”.

In Europe, France grocery giant, Carrefour, has taken landmark steps to give its customers the choice not to be part of a food chain which includes GM. The world's largest hypermarket chain has launched labelling to tell its customers that its own-brand animal products are produced without GM feed. Its Executive Director said: 
“We have a very strong belief in Carrefour to inform our customers and give them the freedom to choose. With this new labelling, we allow our customers to decide in a transparent way whether or not to buy products from animals having been fed GM-free food. Being a responsible retailer is a fundamental value for us.”
Other good news in Europe is that attempts (by a UK conservative MEP) to introduce 'accepted' GM thresholds into EU law have failed. This move was widely seen by green groups as a foot in the door to flooding our food chain with all manner of artificial, untested and unapproved DNA constructs. The legal mechanisms to protect us from GM-polluted food remains intact.

OUR COMMENT

As Carrefour has demonstrated, it is perfectly possible for retailers to demand full disclosure labelling on any animal product they sell.

Like Mother Earth and the Argentinean villagers, we should have the right not to have our food or our bodies polluted or altered. Demand your rights.

SOURCES:
  • Bolivia Set to Pass 'Law of Mother Earth', www.truthdig.com, 2011
  • Dario Aranda, Pesticides-free zone in Santa Fe, Paginal2, 26.02.11
  • Carrefour launches 'non-GM' labels, Just Food, 25.10.10
  • Carrfour launches new GM labelling, The Connexion, 26.10.10
  • GM Freeze campaign to prevent routine GM contamination of EU's seed, 7.04.11 www.gmfreeze.org, and response from Struan Stevenson MEP, 12.04.11

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment. All comments are moderated before they are published.