The ultimate irony (and hypocrisy) is that Christmas is now cheer-led and celebrated by a consumer capitalism whose corporations are destroying the environment through, for example, the genetic engineering of crops, the drenching of soil with agrotoxins and the eradication of indigenous cultures.
The story of Santa Claus, his elves and the giving of gifts has graced our lives for hundreds of years. It is more than just the story of a jolly old man on a quest to give gifts to every child in the world. It's a lesson about generosity and kindness.
The case of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India has reached the Supreme Court. The government has said it will bow to the court's eventual ruling. That ruling could green-light GM mustard as first commercial GM food crop. If this goes ahead, there will be wide-ranging, devastating implications for Indian food and agriculture.
We are hearing new promises that synthetic biology and GMOs 2.0 will combat climate change, decrease pressure on land or even save endangered species. But these promises are just industry hype to encourage investment and keep away regulators.
Nyeleni (global congress for food sovereignty) produced The Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology. It advocated a model of food production radically opposed to the current corporate-controlled system. The declaration represents a challenge to transnational agribusiness. Rather than wanting to transform society and food and agriculture, these state-corporate interests require business as usual.
The fact that food is discarded because we "have too much" or because it doesn't look right, or enough wasn't sold and it can be thrown away without a second thought goes to show that this food management program is not working right. We as a society need to learn the importance of eating locally and seasonally.
A combination of propaganda disseminated by industry front groups and conflicts of interest effectively allow dangerous chemicals and GMOs into the food chain and serve to keep the public in the dark about what is taking place and the impacts on their health. Certain individuals, like journalist Rosemary Mason, are working to shine a light on this.
Monsanto is now very much embedded in India. It has even been called the 'contemporary East India Company' and says GM food is necessary to feed the world's burgeoning population. Such claims are hidden behind a veil of humanitarian intent, which is easily torn away to expose self-interest. India does not need GM to feed itself and no false argument or regulatory delinquency to force them in can disguise this.
When it comes down to it, it's not really a case of being pro- or anti-GMO. It's a case of being anti-corruption and pro-democratic. When hugely powerful corporations flex their political and financial muscle, they can and do effectively slant science, politics and regulation to suit their own self-interest.
The massive wealth of the biotech/agribusiness industry has been translated into political clout within the media, science and governments. The smear campaigns engaged in by pro-GMO crusaders are intended to denigrate all criticism of GMOs in the eyes of the public, from wherever it comes.