A Fiction story (Sort of)
The names, quotes and places are real - the time is fiction, but just barely so.
By Captain Paul Watson
Report from 2030
We refused to listen to the environmentalists. They were all just doom and gloom Cassandras, always talking down against the corporations, against the government, against science and technology as our means of solving global problems like world hunger and global warming.
We forgot that for all her hysterics, her pessimism and her dire predictions that the Princess prophetess Cassandra of Troy was right in all her predictions. Her father King Priam refused to listen to her and he, his city state, his people and his entire family were destroyed.
The first signs occurred in 2002.
We did not pay attention. We were busy having a good time, preoccupied with music, films, video games, television and sports.
Meanwhile at the University of Jena in Germany, Professor Hans-Heinrich Kaatz had begun his research into finding an answer to what was causing bee populations to dramatically decline.
By 2007 he had his answer. Professor Kaatz had discovered that the gene used to modify oil-rape seed had transferred to bacteria living inside honey bees.
Despite all of the claims by Monsanto, the biotech industry and supporters of genetically modified food, the sober fact was emerging that humans had tampered with something that they could no longer control.
In the spring of 2007, British Agriculture Minister Nick Brown urged British farmers to destroy all crops contaminated with genetically modified seeds. Some 600 farms had mistakenly planted more than 30,000 acres of GM rapeseed supplied by the Anglo-Dutch company Advanta. These seeds were also planted that spring in France, Germany and Sweden. The French and Swedish governments ordered the uprooting of the crops. Brown said at the time that if Kaatz’s research was correct that it represented an extremely serious situation.
Meanwhile Monsanto’s genetically modified rape seed was going into the ground in Canadian fields and the company had achieved a corporate coup d’etat in Brazil with their soybean monopoly. The company’s profits were astronomical. The shareholders were ecstatic.
Monsanto and Advanta and other genetically modified seed companies threw a small army of lawyers into the fray to counter the scientific research with legalistic obstacles. Pseudo scientists like former Greenpeace President Dr. Patrick Moore were paid to praise the benefits of GM foods. Opponents of GM foods were branded as racists for opposing a product that could save millions of starving children in Africa. The public relations firms followed in the footsteps of the lawyers in a campaign to discredit anyone and everyone who spoke out against the Frankenseed.
Professor Kaatz worked at the respected Institute for Bee Research at the University of Jena in Germany. He built nets in a field planted with genetically modified rapeseed produced by AgrEvo. He let the bees fly freely within the net. At the beehives, he installed pollen traps in order to sample the pollen from the bees' hind
legs when entering the hive. This pollen was fed to young honey bees in the laboratory. Pollen is the natural diet of young bees, which need a high protein diet. Kaatz then extracted the intestine of the young bees and discovered that the gene from the GM rape-seed had been transferred in the bee gut to the microbes.
It was noteworthy that honeybees raised on organic plants did not demonstrate any sign of diminishment that the commercial honey bee breeders were experiencing.
In a May 2007 interview with the British newspaper The Observer, Kaatz said, "It is true, I have found the herbicide-resistant genes in the rapeseed transferred across to the bacteria and yeast inside the intestines of young bees. This happened rarely, but it did happen."
Although Kaatz realised the potential 'significance' of his findings, he said he "was not surprised" at the results. Asked if this had implications for the bacteria inside the human gut, he said: "Maybe, but I am not an expert on this."
Dr Mae-Wan Ho, a geneticist who worked at Open University and a critic of GM technology, stated that she had no doubts about the dangers. She said: "These findings are very worrying and provide the first real evidence of what many have feared. Everybody is keen to exploit GM technology, but nobody is looking at the risk of horizontal gene transfer. We are playing about with genetic structures that existed for millions of years and the experiment is running out of control."
Ho warned that one of the gravest concerns was that anti-biotic resistant genes used in some GM crops crossed over to bacteria. "If this happened it would leave us unable to treat major illnesses like meningitis and E coli ."
By August 2007, some scientists became very worried that the same affect that GM seeds were having on bees, as serious as that was, could also affect the bacteria living inside the human digestive system. They warned that if this happened, the potential was there for the human immune system to be seriously damaged, that it could affect digestion and even the ability of blood to clot.
Monsanto descended on Professor Kaatz with a vengeance in a campaign to discredit his scientific credentials and his research methods.
Professor Kaatz was no match for the lawyers, the lobbyists and the politicians. He was discredited and retreated to the halls of academia, another scholar punished for daring to reveal scientific truth in the face of corporate power.
That was twenty three years ago.
Today, I sit here one of the few survivors. A strict organic vegan diet allowed me and a few hundred thousand others to bear witness to the death of human civilization. I wish I could get some satisfaction from saying, "I told them so."
But I can’t. It is a sad thing indeed, an experience unthinkable that I would have lived to witness the death of human civilization. The death of billions was horrific. They starved to death when their bodies could no longer digest food, what food was left after the demise of the bees and the extinction of thousands of flowering plants.
Already the cities have begun to rust and crumble. We have to research and analyze every morsel of food we eat just to survive.
Sad to think that we face a world without music and art, without the sweet laughter of children, without hope.
And in the head offices of Monsanto, the stagnant computers rot and files blow across the streets by the heated wind – all their dreams of profit dashed upon the ignorant arrogance of their blind quest for profits.