GM lessons, for free, forever

June 2017

Meet Robert. Robert is an on-off-on-off student at Cornell University, New York State, with a "passion for science".

As a freshman, Robert was "deeply unaware of our current GMO agriculture paradigm" and of his university's connection to it (see below).

During an off-student period, Robert participated in three unique seasons of agroecological crop production, and witnessed its "incredible results". Inevitably, this made him aware of the other end of the agricultural spectrum: GM food ruled by giant corporations. He also recognised that GM commodity monocultures fed to factory-farmed animals are one of the most destructive forces to our environment and health that our planet's ever seen.

With this new perspective on 'conventional' agriculture, Robert eagerly sat in on a Cornell University course entitled "The GMO Debate".

The course description blames greens and their political ideals for the objections raised to GM, but promises an opportunity to evaluate these objections in relation to scientific findings. Robert, therefore, expected to hear "members of an intellectual community coming together, with proponents and critics of GMO food each giving the best verified evidence they had to support their cause."

He was shocked to be presented with a concerted defense of industrial agriculture and biotechology, with exactly zero critical examination of GMOs and a complete absence of actual 'debate'.

The Cornell course, it seems was designed to feed young, impressionable students all the industry-constructed GM propaganda we've been hearing for years but which the next generation have missed.

Cornell University's historic ties to the biotech industry

  • The controversial GM-derived bovine growth hormone (rBGH) for dairy cows was invented in Cornell University. Injection with this GM hormone induces excess milk production at the expense of the health of the cows, and arguably of the people drinking their milk. Banned in many countries but still in use, this hormone treatment remains controversial.
  • The 'gene gun' method of firing DNA particles randomly into cells to create random GMOs (with huge collateral damage) was a Cornell University invention.
  • The Cornell 'Alliance for Science'* is an initiative for science-based agricultural communications that is focused on the global public good. It is funded by a $5.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a well-known proponent of using agricultural biotechnology in Africa, India and other developing regions. The Alliance claims lots of fine commitments to poverty reduction, sustainable agriculture, choices for farmers and consumers, and using science and evidence to drive decision-making, but all these seem to boil down to is the promotion of GM crops and boosting the profits of the biotech industry in which the Gates' Foundation holds shares.

Robert's horrified reaction to the University course isn't unique, but the action it inspired him to take certainly is. He came up with a plan to create actual, lasting change on campus in the form of a student-led, expert-backed, evidence-based course in GM.

The alternative GM course consists of lectures by several professionals whose names will be familiar to GM-Free Scotland readers, for example, scientists Jonathan Latham [1,2] and Belinda Martineau [3]. and public interest attorney Steven Druker [4]. It has zero influence from Cornell or any biotech organisation, and is available to all, online, for free, forever.

Check out Robert's GMO course at

[3] Belinda Martineau, First Fruit, 2000, ISBN 0-07-140027-3
[4] Steven M. Druker, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, 2015, ISBN 978-0-9856169-0-8

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