Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And then they destroyed my crops...

Genetic Variation
It is enough for corporations to have rights to their own manufactured products, but where do we draw the line? It is true that a company cannot own an animal, human being, or plant, but it is also true that once they are genetically modified, the company can patent the modification and are entitled to ownership of the genetic makeup. This way of profit has lead to many successes for the corporations, but what about the rest of the world? Money has over-ridden any of the ethical dilemmas that arise out of such exploitation of human rights.

Seed producing industries have taken over the agricultural process indefinitely. No longer organic, seeds have become genetically modified, thus they are owned by large corporations by a patent. These seeds are LEGALLY protected from reproduction and redistribution in the fields. President Clinton signed the 1970 Plant Variation Protection Act enabling ultimate control over saving seeds. Each year after every crop, new seeds must be purchased or the farmer may face a lawsuit. Experts are checking these farms unbeknownst to the land owner. Any re-seeded crops are destroyed because they are protected by Clinton's congressionally approved amendments. What is outrageous is that such re-seeding can ultimately be out of the control of the farmer. Natural redistribution can happen through something as simple as the wind blowing residue across fields. Farms in South America that don't process seeds from North America have been finding crops that originate in our country. Thousands of suicides have occurred in India because Indian farmers can no longer afford to re-purchase seeds harvest after harvest. What these companies are creating is defined as cultural evolution, but what they aren't creating is progress. Progress would be the notion that humans are moving forward with positive agricultural developments, but the productivity of such practices amongst corporations is so low that what genetic varaition is producing will inevitably have a negative effect on our future in farming.

Strangely enough, these genetically engineered seeds aren't affecting just humans. It is possible for these inorganic plants to destroy other species. Monarchs, for example, aren't dying out because children like to catch butterflies. They can no longer digest the pollen in modified plants. If their species can no longer transfer pollen across a field, plants will eventually die out, along with the insects that ingest pollen out of necessity to thrive.

Thanks to organizations such as "Seeds of Change" it is still possible to purchase organic seeds. They strive to preserve seed saving just as ambitiously as corporations strive to destroy it. By continuing to produce natural products we can begin to evolutionize agriculture with positive outcomes. Those that can afford the organic seeds are not required to re-purchase them after every harvest and at the end of the season their profit would outweigh expenses making for happy farming :) (More information can be found at the "Seeds of Change" website http://www.seedsofchange.com/)

"The eye takes a person into the world. The ear brings the world into the human being"
-Laurence Oken, philosopher

Sight has dominated all of the senses, becoming what could be called one of the largest autocrats of our culture. All predisposed dispositions about humans come from what we see. We feel like we can judge based on the way a person looks, walks, and dresses. I will happily blame corporations for this material interpretations of the way people are perceived. What is also sad is that beauty can be derived by a series of genetic changes, also something that a big industry has the ability to control. The way a child looks can be determined by the parents when the gametes are preserved in a petri dish. While corporate America makes this look helpful with movies such as Gattac (1997) and more recently, My Sisters Keeper (2009), there is a reality associated with the ethics of petri babies.

Before personal choice comes the issue of human ratio. If parents are given the ability to determine the gender of their future child it is a given that some will prefer little boys over little girls, and vice versa. The problem is that there has to be a specific correlation between the number of males and the number of females in our world for us to continue to be a successful species. Any changes that are made must be part of the process of natural selection: naturally occurring mutations that either die out if unsuccessful, or continue on as a part of the human adaption process. Tampering with this could lead to negative consequences. It might be that the human race becomes unable to adapt to environmental changes because of synthetic mutations.

Though one may justify the genetic modification of their child as medically necessary to prevent disease, they are only a sell-out to the major corporations. When a child's genetics are needed for research, remember that the industry owns the rights to that specific gene. If modified human genetics continue I sympathize for the future children that are natural. What kind of teasing could they endure if a genetic defect was never modified? In adult life, what kind of life insurance would be denied and jobs taken away if one is susceptible to a certain 'defect'?

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