Today in AgBioView from www.agbioworld.org: January 24, 2006
* Europe's biotech food ban must end
* European Union farm chief defends more GMOs in organic farming
* Article on biotech crops misleading
* Iran takes lead in rice biotech
* Africans welcome biotech future
* West Africa needs laws on biotechnology says Coordinator
* Greenpeace greenpeacers greenpeacing people who don't want to be greenpeaced!
Europe's biotech food ban must end
- Alan Caruba, ENTER STAGE RIGHT, January 23, 2006
Since May 2003, the United States, joined by Canada and Argentina, has pursued a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process against the European Union (EU) regarding its de facto moratorium banning biogenetically altered food crops.
The main opponents of such crops include the usual "environmental" organizations for whom any progress toward eliminating famine and disease is regarded as an increase in the Earth's human population. If you're a member of the Earth Liberation Front, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Center for Food Safety, and the Organic Consumers Association, among others, the scientific advances of biotechnology are bad news.
If you are a member of the human race, however, genetically-modified foods
(GMOs) means (1) an increase in agricultural productivity wherever such crops are grown; (2) crops that can resist the effects of drought, a common cause of crop failures; (3) the bioengineered increase of nutrients and a decrease of saturated fats in various food crops; and (4) the reduction of the use of insecticides and herbicides. Farmers will tell you GMOs, in addition to reducing the amount of water needed to grow certain crop˙s, contribute to the reduction of soil erosion caused by agriculture.
So why is the European Union refusing to permit the importation and use of GMOs? Alex Avery of the Hudson Institute probably said it best when he described it as "technological apartheid." While the Europeans are well fed, the fate of people in Africa and other Third World nations are of little importance to them for purely economic reasons. Avery points out that, "More than half of the EU's collective budget is gobbled up by farm subsidy costs, so Europe has done all that it can to avoid productivity-enhancing technologies for cost savings."
In the interest of keeping GMO crops from America and other nations out of Europe, the EU has declared that such crops may pose a health risk. They say that genetically modified crops, if grown in Europe, might "contaminate" organic crops. Baloney! For all the reasons stated above, GMO crops not only do not pose a threat to organic crops, except in terms of greater yields, they hold the potential for the virtual elimination of famines that cause the deaths of millions worldwide every year.
The EU represents the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports. The earnings were projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at $7 billion for 2005, nearly 12 per cent of all the U.S. agricultural exports. The main export products are soybeans, tobacco, and animal feed, including corn gluten.
To date, the EU has not offered a scintilla of scientific evidence to justify the market bans imposed by some member states. The whole point of the World Trade Organization is to end frivolous bans in order to facilitate, well, world trade! The WTO even has an Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures that requires "sufficient scientific evidence" to support trade-restrictive regulations on crops and food products."
Speaking in May 2003, President Bush said, "Our partners in Europe?have blocked all new bio-crops because of unfounded, unscientific fears. This has caused many African nations from investing in biotechnology for fear that their products will be shut out of European markets. European governments should join, not hinder, the great cause of ending hunger in Africa."
The opponents of GMOs will tell you this is about consumers versus agricultural corporations or they will continue to fear-monger about the safety of GMO foods. It's a government-to-government confrontation over food exports and more than a dozen nations, including South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Australia, Columbia, El Salvador, Honduras, New Zealand, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico and Egypt, have expressed support for the U.S. initiative currently waiting a still-delayed decision by the EU.
Putting aside the financial aspects of the ban EU member states have imposed, the issue of GMO safety has long since been decided. In 2004, the National Research Council, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a report in which it found that genetic engineering is "not an inherently hazardous process", calling the fears of the anti-biotech crowd "scientifically unjustified." The report in fact repeated findings that date back to 1987.
The United Kingdom-based Institute for Food Science and Technology found that "Genetic modification has the potential to offer very significant improvements in the quantity, quality and acceptability of the world's food supply."
Not only is there no cause to fear GMO food products, since the WTO case was launched in 2003, the planting of biotech crops has increased around the world at unprecedented rates. In 2005 alone, more than 81 million hectares were sown with biotech crops by more than eight million farmers in 17 countries; a 20 per cent increase over the previous year. They are even being planted in European nations where farmers in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Romania are taking advantage of the˙ benefits they represent.
While a favorable decision by the WTO opening European markets to GMO food choices will be good for consumers, the real winners will be the world's farmers who have suffered the most under these de facto trade restrictions.
So now we wait for the EU to do, at last, the right thing, the moral thing, by ending the GMO ban it has imposed.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet website of The National Anxiety Center.
European Union farm chief defends more GMOs in organic farming
- Reuters, 24 Jan 2006
BRUSSELS: Europe's farm chief defended her plans to permit more genetically modified (GMO) content into organic farming, saying it would be too costly for farmers to achieve higher purity in their organic produce.
Questioned about her draft law that would allow products with up to 0.9 percent of GMO content to retain a label of ''EU organic'', EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel yesterday said the recommended labelling threshold was a realistic one.
''It's a standard threshold in the regulation,'' she told a news conference, referring to the 0.9 per cent label level that is already enshrined in current EU law on biotech food and feed.
''We live in the real world. The lower we go (on a threshold), the more expensive it will be for organic producers. We have to find the right balance,'' she said.
Since some organic farmers might struggle financially to ensure their produce met higher purity standards, they would then not be able to sell that produce at the higher premium that organic items usually command -- and so lose income.
Fischer Boel's proposed organic regulation, now being considered by EU agriculture ministers, would still make it illegal to use GMOs in organic farming knowingly. The 0.9 per cent level refers to accidental or unavoidable contamination.
''The Commission has held firm on this so far and there are no signs of them moving,'' one EU diplomat said.
''If you have a threshold for non-GM produce ... it's another step to say that we'll have a different threshold for organic. It'll be a major issue for some member states as this gets debated over the months,'' he said.
Environmental groups are outraged by the proposal, with one recently attacking it as the ''thin end of a wedge which will allow the creeping contamination of organic food across Europe''.
''Should GM contamination enter the organic food chain, organic farmers will necessarily be economically damaged,'' the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) said in a statement.
''There has not been, and will not be, any tolerance at all for GMO contamination of organic products,'' it said, adding that the EU had a duty to ensure that all farmers who wanted to stay GMO-free were properly protected in the event of contamination.
In the EU-25, the amount of organic farmland is around 5.7 million hectares, or some 3.5 percent of its total agricultural area. Around 175,000 farms are now run organically.
Article on biotech crops misleading
- WILKES BARRE TIMES LEADER (Pennsylvania), January 23, 2006
Your article, "USDA investigators slam agency for poor oversight of biotech crops," from Jan. 13 may have left readers with the mistaken impression that biotech crops are not adequately regulated in the United States.
Your article did not point out that there is a strong and improved regulatory system in place that is designed to keep pace with the continued rapid advances in biotechnology.
Under strict government regulations and strong industry oversight, biotechnology has improved food crops with significant benefits to farmers, consumers and the environment,.
Sean Darragh, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Washington, D.C.
Iran takes lead in rice biotech
- DES MOINES REGISTER, by Philip Brasher, January 23, 2006
Iran's nuclear scientists get all the ink. But the country's biologists are making some strides that could shake up agriculture.
The Iranians commercialized the first variety of genetically engineered rice last year.
No one expects this rice to leave the country. Iran doesn't produce enough rice as it is, and the type modified is a locally important variety.
But the crop is a landmark development in biotechnology nonetheless.
It was the first time that a biotech version of rice, one of the world's most important food crops, legally had gone into production.
Just as significantly, the Iranian crop, plus similar advancements in China, show that biotechnology is spreading beyond the industry giants such as Monsanto or Des Moines-based Pioneer Hi-Bred International that have led the way.
For advocates of agricultural biotech, who have been arguing for years that farmers in poor countries could be major beneficiaries of genetic engineering, here at last is some evidence.
Even if it is Iran.
"This is a very important contribution from the public sector in terms of genetically modified food crops," says Joel Cohen, who follows biotechnology developments for the International Food Policy Research Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
The Iranians as well as the Chinese, who also are close to commercializing their version of biotech rice, are doing their research in the public, rather than private, sector.
Iran's new rice plants are toxic to insect larvae known as stem borers. The Iranian scientists crafted the crop in the Philippines at the International Rice Research Institute, a sister organization of the International Food Policy Research Institute.
The rice contains a bacterium gene identical to one found in popular types of Bt corn that is now commonly grown in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. If the Iranians ever tried to export the rice, they could run into patent problems, says Cohen.
The rice was put through extensive safety testing before it was released to farmers, he says.
And so far the results appear promising: Iranians report that their Bt rice raised yields by 10 percent to 2.2 metric tons per acre. The average U.S. yield is about 3.2 metric tons.
"This is an excellent demonstration of the fact that you can use new technologies but in very basic material requested by farmers in the developing world," Cohen says.
Between 500 and 1,000 Iranian farmers are believed to have grown the crop in 2005. Full commercialization is expected to start this year, but on less than 50,000 acres.
U.S. rice farmers won't have anything to do with biotechnology until it's accepted in markets such as Japan and Europe. Because much of their crop must be exported, U.S. farmers can ill afford to lose any markets.
But the developments in Iran, and especially in China, will turn up the pressure on the Bush administration to figure out how the government would handle imports of foods that have been bioengineered in other countries.
Believe it or not, the country that pioneered agricultural biotechnology isn't sure yet how it will treat the products of other countries' scientists.
To date, the only imports have been of material intended for research purposes.
The U.S. Agriculture Department is still trying to figure how it should regulate imports, and there are significant questions to be answered: Would every crop or transformation need separate approval? Would USDA treat the products of some countries more leniently than others, depending on how similar their regulatory structures are to the U.S. system?
USDA hopes to have a proposal ready later this year.
The government needs to be looking ahead before "something shows up at the door," says Michael Fernandez, executive director of the Washington-based Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology.
"It's not just going to be the U.S.-dominated commercialization that it once was," he says.
Africans welcome biotech future
- COUNCIL FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY INFORMATION, January 23, 2006
As individual African farmers plant, nurture and harvest crops successfully, they build a better quality of life for their often-struggling families, communities and nations. But when those farmers face ongoing battles against drought, disease and infestations, their countries grow dependent on international subsidies and agricultural imports, and they clamber to maintain a hopeful vision of self-sufficiency.
That's why the recent explosion of local biotechnology initiatives, which farmers themselves often lead, may be critically important to the long-term sustainability of African agriculture.
Grassroots development of agricultural biotechnology across the continent has the support of senior scientists and policymakers through the African Panel on Biotechnology. The panel is advising the African Union, an organization of African states, on how to adopt biotechnology in appropriate ways that involve local growers and integrate with community customs. The panel's mission is "a clear sign the African Union is finally pushing Africa toward science-led development," said Norah Olembo, executive director of the African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum, which promotes public awareness of biotechnology solutions to Africa's problems. Calestous Juma, former executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, co-chairs the panel and agreed that the issues facing African agriculture require an aggressive approach.
"Africa must take charge of its future and assess the usefulness of all existing technological options for meeting its needs," Calestous said. "The challenge is how to make biotechnology relevant to local needs and how to ensure that existing institutions meet this challenge." 1
Local farmers and institutions already are vested in Africa's biotechnology future. For example, seven African countries are holding trials on genetically modified crops that resist destructive pests. Following are examples of trailblazing biotechnology initiatives from Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda.
Kenya: Fighting Stem Borers in Corn
The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) is conducting a three-year field trial to test a type of maize (corn) that resists the stem borer, a caterpillar that burrows into maize and grasses with thick stems. 2 According to KARI Director Romano Kiome, Kenyan farmers lose about 400,000 tons of maize to stem borers every season, which is nearly the same amount of maize the country needs to import each year. 3 If Kenya's trial successfully reduces stem-borer damage, farmers there will breed genetically˙ modified maize with indigenous Kenyan varieties to develop new varieties that can thrive against the elements.
The Kenyan field study follows five years of laboratory research conducted partly at a $12 million, cutting-edge greenhouse. The facility, which KARI developed with the International Centre for Maize and Wheat Research (CIMMYT), enables Kenyan scientists to conduct biotech experiments that conform to international biosafety standards.
"With this greenhouse opening, and the training of competent staff to manage it, Kenya and KARI have positioned themselves to be leaders in sub-Saharan Africa in the use of biotechnology to meet the rapidly growing need to increase food production," said Masa Iwanaga, CIMMYT director general. 4
Tanzania: Protecting Cotton From Caterpillars
Tanzania is beginning its first field trials of biotech crops by testing modified cotton developed to repel the red bollworm caterpillar, which attacks cotton plants and causes disease. The government is sponsoring the research in the nation's southern highlands, where it halted cotton production in 1968 to prevent the bollworm from spreading to the rest of the country. Due to challenging growing conditions and limited market opportunities for other local crops such as sunflowers, farmers in the area have ˙suffered ever since with few alternative crop choices and small yields. 5
"Tanzania cannot afford to be left behind [from] technologies that increase crop yields, reduce farm costs and increase profits," said Wilfred Ngirwa, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. Parliament member Paul Ntwina spoke for many farmers in southern Tanzania when he said, "I am glad we will be able to produce cotton. Technology is likely to be our liberator." 6
South Africa: Increasing Biotech Crop Acreage
South Africa has the longest track record on the continent for adopting biotechnologies that aid local farmers. In 1996 and 1997, South African regulators approved a cotton strain and two maize varieties as the country's first genetically engineered crops for commercial production. 7 Since then, the country has steadily increased its acreage of genetically modified crops - including a 25 percent rise in production in the Cape Town area in 2003, making South Africa one of the top 14 biotech growers globally˙. 8 These crops have significantly reduced the invasive stalk borers that damage maize and contribute to fungal infections.
AfricaBio, an independent, nonprofit biotechnology association, has offered local farmers training and tools to increase their production and control pests. AfricaBio also works with regional leaders and food buyers to promote consumer education. In 2004, AfricaBio created six demonstration plots of modified and traditional maize to illustrate the quality, health and yield benefits of biograins.
Sabina Khoza, a farmer in her second year of growing biotech maize, is seeing the results from South Africa's investment in biotechnology. She reports that genetically modified maize has much larger ears and less insect damage compared with South African varieties. "I don't want to plant conventional corn again," she said. 9
Uganda: Battling Cassava Mosaic Virus
Uganda has accelerated biotechnology initiatives in the past several years. In 2003, President Yoweri Museveni launched a biotechnology laboratory to research genetically modified bananas, coffee and other crops. In 2004, Uganda adopted its first biosafety policy bill, expected to pave the way for new biotechnology research projects and production. 10
At the local level, Ugandan farmers are embracing biotechnology to fight insect infestation. Ugandan Nanyoni Sharifa grows cassava, a grain that she and other farmers can mill and store as flour for nearly one year, making it a highly valuable food source. Sharifa saw her yields fall to one ton from eight tons per acre due to the cassava mosaic virus. Her farmers association won a $57,000 grant to test insect-resistant varieties of cassava and begin a series of farmer field trials. The group discovered var˙ieties that were particularly productive and created surplus yields for 500 farmers in the region. In response to their results, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, a government body, recently invested $40,000 in a processing plant close to Sharifa's village. She joined the plant's executive committee, which encourages villagers to grow cassava and supply the facility. 11
Biotechnology Promises a Stronger Africa
The examples presented above are just a sampling of biotech work and adoption across Africa - and perhaps a harbinger of things to come as the continent addresses longstanding challenges. At a June workshop for journalists and scientists, Monty Jones, executive secretary of the Forum in Agricultural Research for Africa (FARA), an umbrella organization of major stakeholders in agricultural research and development, said Africa should adopt biotechnology to solve problems relating to hunger, disease and the ˙environment.
"With the current state of 60 percent of soil degradation, coupled with water pollution and very little irrigation, the conventional way of doing things will get the continent nowhere," Jones said at the FARA-sponsored workshop, designed to expose journalists to biotechnology issues. He also suggested that biotechnology may hold the key to helping Africa achieve self-sufficiency - and more. That includes fulfilling his organization's vision for Africa to achieve at least 6 percent annual growth in agriculture by the year 2020.
"It is only by adopting biotechnology that Africans can experience equitable distribution of wealth and become a net exporter of agricultural products," he said. 12
1. Chege, Kimani. "African Union sets up biotechnology advisory panel," SciDev.Net, July 21, 2005.
2. Obulutsa, George. "Kenya scientists plant trial GMO pest-proof maize," Reuters United Kingdom, May 27, 2005.
3. Ogodo, Ochieng and Balile, Deodatus. "East African Farming Genetically Transformed," spacedaily.com, June 10, 2005.
4. Chege, Kimani. "Kenya unveils $12m greenhouse," news24.ccm, June 29, 2004.
5. Balile, Deodatus. "GM crop tests get green light in Tanzania," SciDev.Net, Feb. 28, 2005.
6. Balile, Deodatus. "GM crop tests get green light in Tanzania," SciDev.Net, Feb. 28, 2005.
7. "South Africa: Genetically Engineered Crops Ready," Inter Press Service, April 15, 1999.
8. "Farmers Take to 'Supercrops' at Blistering Rate," Business Day South Africa, Jan. 20, 2005.
9. Holdmeyer, Frank. "Biotech brings hope to Africa," Wallaces' Farmer, June 2005.
10. "GM is Allowed in Uganda," A Harvest (Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International), Oct. 21, 2004.
11. Peacock, Christie. "Africa: Farming sense," OECD Observer, July 2005.
12. Kudom-Agyemang, Ama. "Africa Must Embrace Biotechnology," Accra Daily Mail, June 23, 2005.
West Africa needs laws on biotechnology says Coordinator
- January 23, 2006
Professor Walter Sandow Alhassan, West African Coordinator, Programme for Bio-Safety Systems on Friday expressed regret that no West African country had put in place a bio-safety law in this age of Genetically Modified Organism.
He said: "As at now no country within the Sub-Region has a bio-safety law in place, although Ghana and Nigeria have made great advancement in the formulation of their biotechnological framework and safety guidelines.
"Ghana's framework is still before Cabinet awaiting passage into law," he told over 40 participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Liberia and South Africa at the end of a five-day international workshop on biotechnology and bio-safety which opened in Accra last Monday.
The workshop was organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) with collaboration from the Ministry of Environment and Science.
Biotechnology is a scientific system being used to improve gene culture in plants and animals to be either tolerant or resistant to diseases and weather conditions.
Prof Alhassan said Burkina Faso under a Presidential decree had planted genetically modified cotton, which was in its third year of production, hence the need for Ghana to get its laws in place as early as possible to control the movement of this cotton across its boarders. He said Ghana was party to the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety, hence the need for it to observe the obligations and rights of countries that were party to the protocol.
Opening the workshop Ms Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, told the participants: "Ghana, specifically and indeed Africa as a whole need to take advantage of the progress that has been made in modern biotechnology to be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
She said the progress biotechnology had made in agriculture, health, energy and industry could go a long way to help Ghana to meet the targets set in the MDGs.
Prof Alhassan said the concern of the Minister was in the right direction, yet there was the need for a regulatory framework to be in place to harness the technology.
He said a sub-regional research organisation, West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF), has commissioned a study on biotechnology for the Sub-Region as a way of building capacity for its biotechnologists.
He said the Council had put in motion a development programme for bio-safety and biotechnology for the Sub-Region.
He noted that Agriculture Ministers subjected the framework drawn up by this group to a discussion at a conference at Bamako Mali in June 2004 and that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Secretariat should develop an action plan to be implemented on Biotechnology and Bio Safety in the Sub-Region before 2007. An ECOWAS Ministerial Meeting to be held in Ghana this year would discuss the plan.
Greenpeace greenpeacers greenpeacing people who don't want to be greenpeaced!
- by Andrew Apel, AgBioview, www.agbioworld.org Jan 24, 2006
'Greenpeace' is becoming generic, just like the brand name "Kleenex" became a generic term for a paper product you blow your nose on. Variants of the word are becoming generic as well, and these revelations come courtesy of Google.
In spite of what Greenpeace would like to have us believe, the vast majority of those who dislike the group are *not* paid to speak on behalf of corporations. Unlike organickers and neo-Marxists, they aren't unified by an interest in selling specially-branded consumer products or touting a failed economic model. They don't like Greenpeace for lots of reasons, and one of the results is, 'greenpeace' is becoming generic. Let's take a look.
Googling the phrase "Greenpeace idiots" brings up 206 hits. The first is a page for people who enjoy a specific brand of sports car. In "GreenPeace Idiots et al idiots..," Clint Sever writes, "My God, spare me .. There's a troop of these washed up uberenvironmentalists that's assaulting the UofA.. They wear bright yellow/orange jackets, carry clipboards, and ask if 'you can spare a minute for GreenPeace.' No, but I could spare an M1A1 Abrams and a SABOT into wherever shithole your headquarters resides. The saddest part is the sheer volume of sheep that stop, talk, and sign up. How can liberalism not be overrunning this country?! It's such a sad state of affairs when what should be intelligent, independent thinkers (college students) become so sucked into the liberal media that they refuse to think for themselves; instead they throw regurgitated, convoluted bullshit propaganda at you and have absolutely no factual evidence to back it up."
That's from a sports car fan, and he's obviously not happy. The word "Greenpeace" may be in the headline, but the complaint is about "uberenvironmentalists" and their propaganda.
The next hit is a discussion titled "Potato Gun turned on Greenpeace idiots" and involves a June 7, 2005 news article in icWales, "Trawlermen fire potatoes at Greenpeace activists." According to the article, Greenpeace said fishermen fired potatoes at them, using an air-powered potato gun, when the activists used inflatable boats to disrupt a trawling ship. One of the contributors to the discussion says that he or she "awaits the day a disgruntled captain declares 'RAMMING SPEED!'"
The third hit brings up a discussion titled "Thanks to the Greenpeace idiots, people are dying....." and the poster links to an editoral in Fox News about rock stars wanting to help Africa. "One necessary step toward economic growth in Africa, for example, is eradicating the continent's crippling famine and perpetual epidemics of disease," the editorial states. "Yet, Greenpeace's successful campaign against the use of pesticides such as DDT has resulted in millions of deaths from diseases like malaria that pesticides could have prevented." It's widely known that a vast array of environmentalists are responsible for denying Africans the means to defend themselves from malaria. Nonetheless, the onus of guilt is laid at the doorstep of Greenpeace.
The author of the post adds, "And may I remind you that Greenpeace is listed as a terrorist organization....." Apparently, the author has confused Greenpeace with the groups Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. Yet another indication that 'Greenpeace' is becoming generic.
The fourth hit brings up the web page of a radio station specializing in rock n' roll music. The starting point of the discussion is "Activists Angered by Flyover at MLK [Martin Luther King] March." The discussion turns to Greenpeace with this post: "I don't really consider MLK an activist. When I think activist I think greenpeace idiots who chain themselves to trees, or PETA idiots who start lame arsed campagns to tell children how there parents kill animals. MLK, at least to my understanding preached peace and equality for everyone, that is awesome, and very useful."
This prompted two responses. "Some activists (groups) just b!thc for the sake of b!tching, or they really like to hear themselves talk," says one, while another says, "I guess the good ones are so far and few between that it does taint the image of what a true, useful 'activist' really is."
And apparently, the tendency is to collectively brand false, useless activists as 'Greenpeace.'
The fifth hit brings up a page on a website dealing with deer hunting in the US state of Arizona. Greenpeace (the actual group) hasn't announced any policies on deer hunting that I've noticed, but Greenpeace comes up in the discussion forum when one of the members mentions an article published at www.scsun-news.com. The link has expired, and the author of the post merely says, "This is an interesting article... Good or Bad not sure.."
This prompts a strongly worded riposte. "These Greenpeace idiots really get me fired up," "Tonto" says. "Trust me folks, these SOB's are not our friends or do they represent what is best for us or the land. They want to take away water rights, some of which are 100 years old that supports our local economies. Grazing, when practiced right can do unimaginable improvements for species diversity, and overall ecosystem health. Yet they call it a 'Major Threat'."
When "jason" asks what can be done about "the problem," whatever that problem might be, "Tonto" responds, "Heck, Jason, maybe go postal on the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club for starters. Nah, just kidding, I can't recommend that, but it might wake some of them asinine fellers up! I know I don't do enough, but I try to write my State Politicians as often as I can, and I always try to tell people what I think based on scientific fact, not myth or emotions."
Now when the term "Greenpeace idiots" expressly includes the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, that's looking *very* generic. In fact, "Greenpeace idiots" is such a popular generic phrase that Google returns only 170 hits for the more general term, "environmentalist idiots."
So, generically speaking, the term for false, useless environmentalist idiots is Greenpeace.
However, the trend toward making 'Greenpeace' a generic term does not stop there: it continues with the emergence of the noun 'greenpeacer.' The first few hits returned by Google deal with news accounts titled "Whaling Protest: Greenpeacer Knocked Overboard" and "An Ex-Greenpeacer Examines the Melchett Affair." Things quickly turn to dark humor in the first batch of hits with the following scenario:
First Greenpeacer: Like, oh, wow man, we did it! The seal pup hunt has been stopped!
Second Greenpeacer: Cool! We won! Pass that marijuana cigarette!
First: Whoa, dude! Like, check this out. Am I "freaking" or what?
Second: Huh? Wha --?
First: Like, here comes this incredibly cute herd of little seal pups! Don't they look just like cute little puppies??
Second: Don't they have ... Jesus! .... such big @#!$%@ teeth?!!
First: D-don't they ... don't they ... nooooooo!! DON'T!!!
(EXT: Snarling, snapping, crazed Killer Seal Pups swarm over the Greenpeace volunteers, leaping for their throats, ripping them to bloody shreds with razor-sharp fangs, juggling severed heads on noses as other seals clap approval! Pious screams fill the air.)
Also among the first returns on 'greenpeacer' is a blog by Lew Rockwell, who describes himself as "anti-state, anti-war, pro-market."
On Lew's blog, Humberto Fontova opines, "The Enviro-yuppies who make up today's Scuba divers regard a speargun about like Diane Feinsten regards an Assault rifle... [t]hey horrify them. I've had these yuppies shrieking and sputtering at me across a restaurant table over spearfishing, pelting me with masticated grilled grouper. We're the clods right? We're the simple-minded yahoos, right? -- the rustics, the unimaginative oafs, right? Yet the process by which the little pet they fed on the reef that morning turned into dinner seems to escape them. Unreal."
When discussions of "enviro-yuppies" occur, a reference to Greenpeace seems inevitable--but here Humberto delivers it via the generic noun. "And Geezuz, if fishing is cruel, how about spearfishing?" he asks. "What a tale that would make! They'd need sedatives if they saw that in action, especially down here around an oil platform. Here's a scene to boil the blood and foam the brain of any Greenpeacer, a sleep-choking nightmare."
A more purely generic use of the term "greenpeacer" shows up in the website of a winery, captured on the third page of Google returns. There, the author's musings about greenpeacers are also not terribly kind. "Wouldn't it be ironic if an evil greenpeacer spiked a tree but instead of busting a saw blade the tree passed through the mill and got turned into a futon and sold to the very same greenpeacer and he impaled himself on the spike when he went to sleep - I think Alanis should sing about that!" he suggests. "We MUST continue to cut down trees, drill for oil, mine for metals and ship it to all China so they can turn it into tables, chairs and capuccino machines and sell it to Starbucks ensuring that in between protests the enviro-greenpeacers don't go without their double, non-fat lates."
'Greenpeace' may be the generic collective term for "false, useless environmental idiots," and 'greenpeacer' the generic term in the singlular, but what about a verb form? Yes, that's out there, too, and it's 'greenpeacing.' Google returns 40 hits on 'greenpeacing.'
It looks like Greenpeace itself coined the verb 'greenpeacing.' "We Canadians started the Greenpeacing of America last night," Ben Metcalfe announced in the first broadcast from the vessel /Greenpeace/, on September 16, 1971. "The message of the Greenpeace is simply this: The world is our place-- and we insist on our basic human right to occupy it without danger from any power group."
Well, Greenpeace (the actual group) is now a power group, and "basic human rights" isn't even on its radar any more.
This is reflected in the third hit Google returns on the word "greenpeacing:"
Did you ever get the feeling...
That the deceit and denial age is happening right now full throttle And Green Peace organizations are examples of mass denial gone a wry Like believing in god You can believe in the Peace Corp! EXCELLENT! Maybe Green Peace is a euphemism for unable to adapt You could turn it into a verb As thousands jump on the bandwagon Greenpeacing their way to financial access!
Apparently, 'greenpeacing' means something like 'engaging in environmental hypocrisy.' Google turned up a commentary on greenpeacing by Roger Moody, who advocates a "methodical campaign to dismantle multinationals." In Moody's opinion, Greenpeace behaves like a multinational oil company by "dealing out the solutions to the very crises it creates." As Moody sees it, "'Greening' industry is a pretence which has been around a long time, but at least it could sometimes be tested in the field. 'Greenpeacing' commerce is far more insidious and destructive of human values: it delivers exactly what industry needs in order to survive its victims' wrath."
If 'greenpeacing' is out there, how about 'being greenpeaced?' Yes, it's out there, and a greenpeacer may have coined the phrase. Google's third hit turns up a commentary by Bob Hunter, a co-founder of Greenpeace (the actual group) who had joined CITY-TV. While riding a boat with Patrick Moore, a fellow co-founder of Greenpeace (the actual group), he says they were protested by a boatload of protesters, adding, "we had been well and truly Greenpeaced. A classic media ambush..."
Being greenpeaced can refer to other types of ambush as well. In an online essay titled /Greenpeaced!/ the author describes an encounter with an environmentalist while doing yard maintenance.
"I got assigned by my apartment body corp chairman (another resident) to supervise the tree-pruning. Its no big deal. I just need to make sure the tree cutters cut down the dead tree, take out a small tree that is growing near the sewage pipes, and clean up the garden.
"Everything was nearly finished when ALL HELL broke loose. This irate white European man- whom I have NEVER seen before in my life - was running around screaming bloody murder. His eyes were like on fire, I swear they were glowing bluish crimson like saphires. *** He demanded to know who was in charge... and so I said, 'Uh. me. can I help u?' He then walked straight up to me, and towered over me and spent 30 minutes giving me a Greenpeace speech about why I was idiotic for hating and destroying nature, killing trees, hating and killing the squirrels, the bird life, etc.. He also said he called the Ministry of Environment, the police - who were coming to arrest me - and was going to take us to Court for the unlawful destruction of trees. All this time, he was trying to goad me to hit him or something. I mean for frack sake, his face was like two inches away from my face. The only thing he was missing was a big Greenpeace placard."
So there you have it. 'Greenpeace' and its variants are indeed becoming generic terms, and what's more, people are obviously getting real tired of what they refer to: false, useless environmental hypocrites ambushing people just trying to mind their own business. In other words, Greenpeace greenpeacers greenpeacing people who don't want to be greenpeaced.