Faustian Frankenpoodles Sighted

In the recent debate on sustainable agriculture, I noted that “The likelihood of pollen from GE cotton causing harm to the environment is about as likely as a poodle escaping into the wild.”

Amidst the avalanche of comments, noone rebutted the peer-reviewed data indicating that biotechnology has already contributed to enhancing the sustainability of our farms as measured by environmental and socio-economic benefits. But there were several people who were concerned about the poodle.

Let me explain.

The farms here in the great Central Valley of California supply 50% of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. We grow many exotic species–tomatoes and corn from Central and South Americas, cotton from what is now Pakistan, safflower and alfalfa from the Near and Middle East, and rice from China. Our farms are surrounded by the blue-gray foothills of the inner coast range harboring some of the wildest land in California (where mountain lions and bears still occasionally surprise visitors).

Notably absent from these foothills are crop species. Despite the proximity of farms and foothills, none of our crops have gone wild at any point during the 150 years of farming. This is because any residual weediness in these species has been eliminated through many years of breeding and domestication. The traits that make these plants good for farmers make it impossible for them to survive in the wilderness.

Furthermore, genes from GE corn and cotton crops plants cannot be shared with the native populations nearby, because the GE crops grown here have no sexually compatible relatives in the foothills. This means that the GE species grown in this great valley are trapped. It is as if California were a large, oval-shaped, flat-bottomed platter with steep, slippery sides holding all the GE crop plants at the bottom.

But apparently the poodle is another matter. Several readers commented that poodles, once they are free from their owners, interbreed with wolves, roam in packs and threaten children.

i-1b267ecbfc4485ba58028a6ffeebd830-poodle.jpg

And Joanna pointed out that Goethe’s Faust uses the poodle as a symbol of unexpected and approaching evil.

Faust: D’you see a jet-black dog now scampering wide
Through corn and stubble?

Wagner:
Him I have espied
Some time ago, but gave him not a thought.

Faust
Look closer now, with care, and say what sort
Of beast you think he is.

Wagner:
Why, Sir, a hound
Of poodle breed who snuffs his way around
To find his master

Faust:
Mark the spiral trail
With which he comes from far, yet ever nigher
Encircling us: unless my senses fail
His track is traced with little tongues of fire.

Wagner:
Some optical illusion, Sir, maybe:
He’s nothing but a poodle-dog to me.

Faust: It seems like magic tracing of a snare,
Or meshes in our future pathway spread.

Thus, I amend my statement to say, GE crops are much safer than poodles.

Comments

  1. #1 Hinemoana
    November 26, 2010

    @ eliquid nicotine

    I doubt you would be so off-hand about people or yourself dying if it was actually an imenent threat to you or your loved ones.

    Also, no one here is saying that we are happy about the continuing increase of the human population. However, populations are known to stabilise (and even decrease slowly) when death rates are low. A stable and adequate food supply is required to lower death rates, something which many developing nations don’t have. Yes, there are many issues –political, cultural, economic- that need to be tackled to curb human population growth. Here, we propose ways to adequately feed people in the least environmentally damaging way possible while those other issues are tackled -indeed, to facilitate those issues being tackled at all.
    If you think agriculture is such a blight on humanity, feel free to become a hunter-gatherer.

  2. #2 eliquid nicotine
    November 23, 2010

    -why do you believe that it is ‘our job’ to feed the world…this perpetuates a circular problem…namely one of population. Let’s face it, there are too many people in the world. Yes, that means some have to die. Hope I’m not one of them. But the fact remains true that we cannot sustain our human numbers.

    -Pam gets funding from USDA, therefore she does receive funding from Monsanto via the USDA. There is no argument there if you look at the past leadership of both those organizations (don’t be surprised if you see the same names)

    -Mankinds demise started and is being perpetuated with agriculture.

  3. #3 tütüne son
    November 21, 2010

    Difficult to do since Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission handed the monopolists the means by which to purchase those legal channels. “Seed” Media.. Hmmm.. makes ya wonder..

  4. #4 tütüne son
    November 18, 2010

    Is that what Pam did? Smack me down? I’m still not sure but what she, despite apparently sincere motives on her part, isn’t the one being used as a “tool” by the GE seed monopolists.

  5. #5 bernarda
    November 16, 2010

    ProGmo’s only report on studies that they think show the economic effectiveness of the Gmo’s, and they ignore other economic factors, some that apply to any type of food.

    The California Central Valley is basically a desert. It once had the largest lake in California, Tillare(sp?), but it was drained for agriculture. That wasn’t enough, so pipelines were built at great cost to send water from the north down to the valley. Farmers pay only a fraction of the cost, ten times less than city dwellers for their water.

    Agriculture only exists in this area because of this hidden subsidy. For heaven’s sake, even rice which uses a lot of water is grown there. Anyone who has traveled through the valley knows that the Western foothills are arid, so it is not surprising that seeds blown there don’t grow or mix because there are few plants there.

    GMO’s are just the latest propaganda by the Monsantos of the country who want us to believe in their version of sustainability.

  6. #6 darwinsdog
    November 15, 2010

    darwinsdog is a tool. thanks to pam for the smackdown.

    Is that what Pam did? Smack me down? I’m still not sure but what she, despite apparently sincere motives on her part, isn’t the one being used as a “tool” by the GE seed monopolists.

    You need to work through legal channels to reduce the monopolistic tendencies of these seed companies..

    Difficult to do since Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission handed the monopolists the means by which to purchase those legal channels. “Seed” Media.. Hmmm.. makes ya wonder..

  7. #7 AnonyMouse
    November 15, 2010

    darwinsdog is a tool. thanks to pam for the smackdown.

    also, this
    “So your rejection of a particular technology will not get rid of the large companies. You need to work through legal channels to reduce the monopolistic tendencies of these seed companies…We need a diverse, thriving seed industry. And you need to trust farmers a little more.”

  8. #8 Guest
    November 15, 2010

    #10 is hardly an admission of failure, resistance evolving isn’t failure – Bollgard II deals with the resistance issue (for now at least – any time you set up an evolutionary pressure the clock starts ticking – one can hope that things like refuge get taken seriously in India to avoid resistance evolving supremely quickly)

    It most certainly is an admission of failure, as the reduced yields & increased prices attest to. It doesn’t do anything it said it would. Hardly surprising, as they’ve been caught lying for 10 years.

    Also:

    Monsanto guilty in ‘false ad’ row

    Monsanto’s weed-killer, Roundup, is the world’s best-selling herbicide

    France’s highest court has ruled that US agrochemical giant Monsanto had not told the truth about the safety of its best-selling weed-killer, Roundup.
    The court confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide as “biodegradable” and claimed it “left the soil clean”.
    The company was fined 15,000 euros (£13,800; $22,400). It has yet to comment on the judgment.

    and

    Monsanto fined $1.5m for bribery

    Bribes were falsely entered in the books as “consultancy fees”

    The US agrochemical giant Monsanto has agreed to pay a $1.5m (£799,000) fine for bribing an Indonesian official.

    Monsanto admitted one of its employees paid the senior official two years ago in a bid to avoid environmental impact studies being conducted on its cotton.

    In addition to the penalty, Monsanto also agreed to three years’ close monitoring of its business practices by the American authorities.

    It said it accepted full responsibility for what it called improper activities.

    and

    Monsanto ‘faked’ data for approvals claims its ex-chief

    The debate on genetically modified (GM) brinjal variety continues to generate heat. Former managing director of Monsanto India, Tiruvadi Jagadisan, is the latest to join the critics of Bt brinjal, perhaps the first industry insider to do so.

    Jagadisan, who worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including eight years as the managing director of India operations, spoke against the new variety during the public consultation held in Bangalore on Saturday.

    On Monday, he elaborated by saying the company “used to fake scientific data” submitted to government regulatory agencies to get commercial approvals for its products in India.

  9. #9 Guest
    November 15, 2010

    Ewan R

    Idiotic. After 10 years of lies & deception, that’s all you can offer? Beyond pathetic. Their concession is admission of guilt. Deceived consumers of their products should be entitled to refunds as all research hitherto is false rendering every claim made by Monsanto worse than useless & every product suspect.

    And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects.

    Woops! 10 years of this has been going on. No wonder superweeds are rampant & the soil in the US is dying:

    Glyphosate Interactions with Physiology, Nutrition, and Diseases of Plants: Threat to Agricultural Sustainability?, Mineral Nutrition and Disease Problems in Modern Agriculture: Threats to Sustainability?

    European Journal of Agronomy
    Volume 31, Issue 3, Pages 111-176 (October 2009)

  10. #10 Ewan R
    November 15, 2010

    Guest @ 9 – Monsanto recently signed an agreement allowing agronomic testing of its transgenics specifically in response to the concerns raised by the scientists in question. So that whole rant may have been meaningful 6 months ago. not so much now.

    #10 is hardly an admission of failure, resistance evolving isn’t failure – Bollgard II deals with the resistance issue (for now at least – any time you set up an evolutionary pressure the clock starts ticking – one can hope that things like refuge get taken seriously in India to avoid resistance evolving supremely quickly)

  11. #11 Guest
    November 15, 2010

    Bt cotton has failed admits Monsanto

    The ongoing debate on biotechnology crops in India took a new turn on Friday when American seed firm Monsanto disclosed that cotton pest–pink bollworm–has developed resistance to its much-touted Bt cotton variety in Gujarat.

    The company has reported to the regulator, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), that pink bollworm has developed resistance to its genetically modified (GM) cotton variety, Bollgard I, in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagarh and Rajkot districts in Gujarat.

    This was detected by the company during field monitoring in the 2009 cotton season….

    Not only has Bt cotton been rendered ineffective, it has also led to detection of some new pests never before reported from India. It is toxic only to bollworm and does not control any other pests of cotton. “New sucking pests have emerged as major pests causing significant economic losses”, the report says.

    At the same time, productivity of cotton has fallen from 560 kg lint per hectare in 2007 to 512 kg lint per hectare in 2009.

    And pesticide expenditure has gone up from from Rs 597 crore in 2002 to Rs 791 crore in 2009.

  12. #12 Guest
    November 15, 2010

    I am still waiting for science-based, ie. peer-reviewed arguments against most GM crops. Until that day, I vote for GM food, which has been shown to have myriad benefits for both humanity and the earth’s ecosystems.

    You could be waiting for a while, seeing as the science in the US is routinely distorted & corrupted:

    Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research

    Unfortunately, it is impossible to verify that genetically modified crops perform as advertised. That is because agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers.

    To purchase genetically modified seeds, a customer must sign an agreement that limits what can be done with them. (If you have installed software recently, you will recognize the concept of the end-user agreement.) Agreements are considered necessary to protect a company’s intellectual property, and they justifiably preclude the replication of the genetic enhancements that make the seeds unique. But agritech companies such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta go further. For a decade their user agreements have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. And perhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects.

    Research on genetically modified seeds is still published, of course. But only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal. In a number of cases, experiments that had the implicit go-ahead from the seed company were later blocked from publication because the results were not flattering. “It is important to understand that it is not always simply a matter of blanket denial of all research requests, which is bad enough,” wrote Elson J. Shields, an entomologist at Cornell University, in a letter to an official at the Environmental Protection Agency (the body tasked with regulating the environmental consequences of genetically modified crops), “but selective denials and permissions based on industry perceptions of how ‘friendly’ or ‘hostile’ a particular scientist may be toward [seed-enhancement] technology.”

    Shields is the spokesperson for a group of 24 corn insect scientists that opposes these practices. Because the scientists rely on the cooperation of the companies for their research—they must, after all, gain access to the seeds for studies—most have chosen to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. The group has submitted a statement to the EPA protesting that “as a result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technol­ogy.”

  13. #13 Jerry Hodge
    November 15, 2010

    Pam, Thanks for the post and, as always, your thoughtful comments.

    Your rational and scientific arguments continue to hold water. On the other side, we see a faith-based belief that GM crops are bad for the environment, whatever that means. “I don’t want fish genes in my strawberries!” I am still waiting for science-based, ie. peer-reviewed arguments against most GM crops. Until that day, I vote for GM food, which has been shown to have myriad benefits for both humanity and the earth’s ecosystems.

  14. #14 Pam Ronald
    November 14, 2010

    Dear DarwinDog

    New Mexico is a nice place. You can probably produce a lot of fruit and vegetable year round, as we do.

    You are mistaken, for years my husband and I have worked for both intimately related goals: how to provide food & fiber for people in an overpopulated and increasingly environmentally stressed world and to do this in a way that maximizes ecosystem health and biodiversity. By focusing only on your local ecosystem you are giving up too easily. Dont do that, we need everyone at the table.

    And take a hard look at the data. It is clear we can achieve both goals.

  15. #15 darwinsdog
    November 14, 2010

    Thanks again for your thoughtful response, Pam.

    A couple of clarifications: I live in New Mexico not New York. I haven’t lived in New York since I was at SUNY – Stony Brook years ago. I tend a large garden although I don’t claim it is “organic.” I am not averse to buying a bag or two of I-NPK at Intermountain Farmer or using a little Miracle Grow on my tomatoes & chiles. However, I have never used herbicides or insecticides of any sort, and I am not averse to hoeing, it’s just that the growing season is over. I largely save seeds from the open pollinated varieties I grow but when I do purchase seeds it’s usually from a small distributor in Colorado. I too work for a university, on an experimental farm, and although my background is in zoology rather than agronomy or horticulture, I’m fairly well acquainted with the issues you mention. Our concerns largely overlap but our approach to addressing the problems we face as a species differ. It seems to me that you focus more on how to provide food & fiber for people in an overpopulated and increasingly environmentally stressed world whereas I focus on ecosystem health and biodiversity issues. Both approaches have their place. I only ask that you consider whether some of the work you do might not be counterproductive to your own goals & values. Peace & best wishes.

  16. #16 Pam Ronald
    November 14, 2010

    Typo correction:

    we are too BUSY typing…

  17. #17 Pam Ronald
    November 14, 2010

    Dear Darwindog,

    You are absolutely correct. by “you”, I meant all of us, not you in particular. We all need to be fed and most of us want a lot of good food. So the discussion is broadly relevant.

    You are also correct that I do not work for Monsanto. I am university professor. For the past 15 year my laboratory research has been funded entirely from non-profit agencies (USDA, NIH, DOE and the NSF). I do not sell GE crops to companies. I work on rice and have recently isolated a gene for submergence tolerance that was used by breeders to develop new varieties (through marker-assisted breeding) that have been rapidly adopted by farmers in the poorest regions of the world.

    Because you grow your own strawberries and live in New York, then you know how challenging it is to grow your own food. My husband is an organic farmer and so I have a pretty good idea of how much he relies on genetically improved and hybrid seed for his operation and how there are still agricultural problems that cannot be solved by seed alone, even in combination with innovative farming practices.

    Take strawberries for example. This week he brought home some that he grew on his farm. In November they are small and worm eaten. We dont mind so much because we just cut off the worms.

    But what about the rest of the world? You may be willing to forgo strawberries this time of year, but most people are not. We know that fresh fruits and vegetable are key to good health and this is why they are in demand (unfortunately, with fast food, this demand is lower than it should be). Where do you buy your fruits and vegetable during the long NY winter (I used to live in NY and remember the cold and snow and lack of local produce)? Most of your produce likely comes from Florida or California.

    You may be able to pay a premium for food that is brought in from far away, and certainly there is a growing market in NYC and SF for such food, but most people cannot afford these kinds of luxuries that we are all accustomed to.

    You are concerned with the health of our ecosystem and we need more people like you. But as a scientist you must certainly agree that science-based decision making is essential for the future of food. Scientists working on BT cotton have tackled the issues of selection pressure head on. By integrating ecological-based farming practices with the planting of BT cotton, they have made enormous strides in reducing selection of resistant insects and at the same time have massively reduced insecticide usage. For this reason biodiversity of nontarget insects has increased in farms in Arizona. Please read the articles that I have cited in the posts. I believe you will be reassured.

    Your gut feeling tells you that something is wrong with agriculture and that large corporations are creating a mess that cannot be stopped. But as a scientist you need to read the data, not go from your gut. Of course I am not propagandizing on behalf of agro-industrial corporations. I am writing for the world’s ecosystems and for those that do not have enough to eat. I understand why many people hate corporations- they have a poor history and their primary motivation is profit. Monsanto and Dow made Agent orange. monsanto and a few other large corporations have bought up most of the small seed companies, so competition is much reduced. Of course you dont want to rely on such corporations for science-based information. But you need to get your information from somewhere. I recommend peer-reviewed journals from non-industry scientists (see the nature and science citations).

    As for the future of seed production, you only need to look at global trends to see that Monsanto will not be the only one producing GE seeds. In the next 5 years, more than 50% of the GE seed will come from national providers of seed that will benefit their own people (see JRC report cited in post). Here in the US, it will be hard to get away from corporations that produce seed because public funding for seed production has all but been obliterated. Also, unless the large seed companies are broken up somehow and all seed production returns to non-profit sector we are stuck wtiht the corporations. If the public rejects GE crops (and the well-established benefits to the farmer and the ecosystem) they will grow seed that has been generated through marker assisted selection and other techniques. And they will seek to control that, too. So your rejection of a particular technology will not get rid of the large companies. You need to work through legal channels to reduce the monopolistic tendencies of these seed companies. The Dept of Justice is looking into that now. And they should. We need a diverse, thriving seed industry. And you need to trust farmers a little more. Would they buy seed that yields poorly or increases their insecticide costs? no they are buying GE seed because of the enormous benefits to their own profits, which is a direct result of reduction in the purchase of toxic insectides.

    The questions you pose are important: How are you going to feed 6.8 billion people, let alone the projected 9 billion by 2050, when all the bee gardens are gone? When the fossil fuel feedstocks for the Haber Bosch process are depleted and prohibitively expensive, when the Diesel fuel for transporting methyl bromide adulterated strawberries across the continent is unavailable?

    The answer no doubt lies in a combination of approaches. Eating less meat (although more and more people are increasing their consumption), making our farms more efficient, making farming more profitable, reducing water use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing energy use, reducing insecticide use, reducing applications of highly toxic class 2 and 3 herbicides and continually paying heed to the ecological consequences of our consumption. Apart from the first point on my list (meat consumption), GE crops have made impressive and well-documented contributions to all of these goals. And they have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment. This is important especially in light of the 300, 000 deaths every year as a result of the use of toxic pesticides (something that is oddly forgotten in the fury about GE crops).

    Each new variety (GE or not GE) must be examined on a case-by-case basis. There is no simple black and white answer. For example HT crops have dramatically shifted the herbicide spectrum to less toxic herbicides in the midwest of the US and have enhanced no-till farming, but it is hard to see how such crops will be useful for farmers in very poor countries, which cannot afford any herbicide at all. The answer may be to stop using herbicide completely but who in the US is willing to hand weed our farms? Certainly not you or I (and yes here I mean particularly you or I…we are too buy typing)

    Do not take if from me, read the cited papers. Then please come back and tell me specifically what you do not like about GE cotton in Arizona or GE papaya in Hawaii. I want to know.

    Lets talk again.

  18. #18 darwinsdog
    November 14, 2010

    You are the one that demands strawberries all year-round and require them to be sprayed with methyl bromide.. so that they are worm free.

    I have my own strawberry patch. It isn’t as productive as it once was since trees have grown to the east & south and now partially shade it. I may have to cut those trees or relocate my strawberries elsewhere. But unless I can grow my own strawberries or buy them locally from a producer who doesn’t spray them, then I won’t eat strawberries. When purchasing produce I look for signs of insect herbivory because that indicates that the food likely hasn’t been sprayed with biocides. Sweet corn at the local farmers’ market that exhibits earworm damage sells at a premium because such damage indicates that it’s neither been sprayed or contains the Bt gene. But all this is beside the point as I recognize that when you say “you” you probably mean people in general and not necessarily me in particular.

    I took genetics as an undergrad and took pop gen in grad school in an ecology & evolution program. Also, my dissertation research included phylogenetic & phylogeographic analysis of a particular clade of organisms. Perhaps your education included some courses in ecology & evolutionary biology, as mine did in genetics. If so, you may be aware of the selection pressures placed on organisms confronted with novel environmental challenges. Resistance to the endotoxin protein product of the cry1Ac gene in insects is rapidly evolving. When resistance becomes widespread how will this impact soil ecology? This polypeptide appears to be quite refractile and can be assayed from watersheds where transgenic crops that elaborate it are grown. What impact does this free bacterial endotoxin have on the biodiversity of lotic ecosystems? What will happen when cry1Ac is laterally transferred to other organisms? No one knows the answers to these questions but those with backgrounds in the life sciences recognize for what they are, efforts on the part of vested interests to render them moot: propagandizing on behalf of agro-industrial corporations.

    If your course work included some e & e, perhaps you are also aware of the consequences of destroying ecosystems. Perhaps you know what happens to populations that exceed the carrying capacity or their environments. How are you going to feed 6.8 billion people, let alone the projected 9 billion by 2050, when all the bee gardens are gone? When the fossil fuel feedstocks for the Haber Bosch process are depleted and prohibitively expensive, when the Diesel fuel for transporting your methyl bromide adulterated strawberries across the continent is unavailable?

    I afford you the benefit of the doubt, Pamela. I believe that you sincerely want to help feed Homo‘s obscenely bloated populational overburden. I believe that you are motivated by the desire to not see people starve. You are also undoubtedly fascinated by transgenic technology, and seek to employ this technology in the service of human well being. I take it as given that you are not merely the shill for Monsanto, et al., that a cynic might take you for. If I am correct then I am here to tell you that your efforts are misguided. I am telling you that your work only serves to degrade the carrying capacity of the biosphere that much faster & further, hastening the time when human population, so grossly in excess of that carrying capacity, crashes. It may not be your intention but what you do contributes to the same toxification California’s once great Central Valley has undergone, on a global scale. The net outcome of your research, and outreach in print including this blog, I say, contributes to the destruction of bee gardens worldwide.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful response in comment #2.

  19. #19 Pam Ronald
    November 14, 2010

    Darwin,
    The bee gardens described by Muir are indeed gone. Sadly this is the fate of wild nature- when there are lots of people to feed we get farms instead. I agree things could have been done much better here. I miss the massive valley oak forests, the vernal pools, the bears and the streams.

    But here we are now and how do you propose to fix it and still feed the tourists that do the drive by of our farms, who probably do not get of the freeway as they skoot from urban area to national parks? Yes you are one of the people that we are trying to feed, that consume 25x more than an average person in India. You are the one that demands strawberries all year-round and require them to be sprayed with methyl bromide (a chemical that is toxic to farm workers and the environment) so that they are worm free. You require insecticides on your cotton so you have enough cloth to wear. And you require so much that all the land has been cleared and there is little left in the world to feed your needs. We now have to produce 70)% more food in 50 years without destroying any more bee-filled magical valleys and we have to somehow find the water to do it.

    And the air pollution that we see many days here in the Central Valley when we are riding our bikes to school and work? It blows in from the San Francisco bay area where you undoubtedly stopped for a bite to eat our food delivered to at your table before you motored on to Muir woods.

    Sorry Darwin, we are all in this together. Many farmers and geneticists here are trying to to turn around decades of neglect. We need tourists to get off the bus, take a look at the farms to see where their food comes from and perhaps, even, give us a helping hand.

  20. #20 darwinsdog
    November 14, 2010

    The farms here in the great Central Valley of California..

    In 2005 my friends from New York, along with my son and I, toured Sequoia National Park and Yosemite. Having seen the sequoias we decided that we also wanted to see the coastal redwoods and the Monterrey aquarium, so we crossed your “great Central Valley,” which John Muir had described as a “bee garden.” A lot had changed since Muir’s day. We found it to be an agro-industrial sacrifice zone, the nastiest, most polluted place in the US I’d ever seen. The entire region was disgusting. From one campground in Sequoia NP, we looked out over the photochemical smog creeping up the foothills of the Sierra like a poisonous cloud. The full moon setting over this sea of pollution lent a ghastly beauty but the overall sense of the place was one of wastage and toxicity.

    So keep your NOx-ious pollution, Pamela, your volatile organics, ozone, carbon monoxide & Peroxyacyl nitrates. And keep, while you’re at it, your genetically engineered Frankenfoods. We don’t want any of it. We’ll eat what we grow for ourselves and the local small farmers can grow for us. We’ll eat wholesome food and you can wallow in the filth you’ve polluted your “bee garden” with. It would break John Muir’s heart to see the ugliness that has been wrought via your technology.

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