Jeremy Rifkin Quotes
I wanted to make sure that this be the first scientific and technology revolution in history in which the public thoroughly discussed all the potential benefits and all the potential harms, in advance of the technology coming online and running its course.
The antitrust litigation currently in the federal courts in the U.S. against Monsanto will be the test case in the life sciences, just as the Microsoft case was the test case in the information sciences.
If your corn has a herbicide-tolerant gene, it means you can spray your herbicides and kill the weeds; you won't kill your corn because it's producing a gene that makes it tolerant of the herbicide.
What's different here is that we have now technologies that allow these life science companies to bypass classical breeding. That's what makes it both powerful and exciting.
The public should know that the liability issues here have yet to be resolved, or even raised. If you're a farmer and you're growing a genetically engineering food crop, those genes are going to flow to the other farm.
The industry's not stupid. The industry knows that if those foods are labeled 'genetically engineered', the public will shy away and won't take them.
One thing I've learned over these last 30 or 40 years is that people make history. There's no fait accompli to any of this.
So my attorneys brought litigation in the U.S. federal courts. The judge ruled in our favor.
When we seed millions of acres of land with these plants, what happens to foraging birds, to insects, to microbes, to the other animals, when they come in contact and digest plants that are producing materials ranging from plastics to vaccines to pharmaceutical products?
Back in 1983, the United States government approved the release of the first genetically modified organism. In this case, it was a bacteria that prevents frost on food crops.
Many of the mainstream agricultural scientists, especially at the agricultural schools, but at all of our major universities, are tied into all sorts of contractual relationships and consulting relationships with the life science companies.
They're now turning those seeds into intellectual property, so they have a virtual lock on the seeds upon which we all depend for our food and survival.
I know quite a few farmers all over the United States who have tried this and have said the opposite, that they have to use more herbicides, not less. The same holds true with BT.
The position I took at the time was that we hadn't really examined any of the potential environmental consequences of introducing genetically modified organisms.
The 10 largest antitrust law firms in the United States have gone into the federal courts charging Monsanto with creating a global conspiracy in violation of the antitrust laws, to control the global market in seeds.
Europe will not accept genetically modified foods. It doesn't make any difference in the final analysis what Brussels does, what Washington does, or what the World Trade Organization does.
The insurance companies aren't covering that. Should Monsanto be liable for these losses? Should the state government? Who's going to cover the losses? The fact is, here's an industry with no long-term liability in place.
Back in the mid-1980s, congressional hearings were held after we brought this litigation, and held up the first experiment. At that time, I went in front of Congress, along with the major agencies involved with this.
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