Tuesday, February 28, 2006

terminator seeds

My friend Mike and I finally watched the documentary "The Corporation"together, as we had been promising we would for some time.

Of all the disturbing things mentioned in that documentary, the idea of seeds genetically modified to be terminator seeds bothered me the most. The idea that research is rarely done by disinterested parties anymore and that irresponsible research has produced a seed that is, as we speak, cross-pollinating with other related species out there to conceivably produce all sorts of plants that will simply terminate. It so goes against nature that it's staggering to think about.

There are so many things that we as humans are capable of doing and creating, but it does not seem to me that we should necessarily go ahead and do them, just because we can, or worse, only because there is a buck to be made. There should be a whole and thorough appraisal of so many other concerns, the good of the biosphere, the community, the soul...

Another thing that I found so shocking was the number of convictions for various criminal acts, one after another, where fines were imposed in $$ figures that seemed astronomical to me, and yet: those same corporations continue their immoral and criminal activities, stroking off the fines as the cost of doing business. Obviously, fines are puny irritations only to some of these corporations.

It seems so irrational to me. The linear thinking with profits as the ultimate goal is hurtling our imbalanced society at breakneck speed toward the precipice of annihilation. Sources of cheap labour will be broken and destroyed, natural resources will be plundered and squandered. What conceivable marketplace will be left to be the stupid, compliant consumers of products we neither need nor can afford?

Although organizations such as the conservative think tank, the Fraser institute, would promote the private ownership of every particle of the natural world, every blade of grass, every flower petal, every pulsing amoeba, every grain of sand, every drop of water, and I would presume even rain & dew & snowflakes, every cell and every gene, there are plenty of people fighting to protect the common good, who are against the piracy of biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

Surely, in every place, at some time or another, someone will realize what is happening to them and the natural world around them and that someone will speak up. The corporations cannot silence everybody. Human nature has a wonderful streak of anarchy in it, afterall. Even the smoothest surface has tiny fissures in which a little bit of moisture will hide away. And in the cold, brutal winter of heartless and immoral fiscal enterprise, that little bit of moisture will freeze and swell and grow. Eventually that tiny fissure will become a crack, and more moisture and more freezing will only make that crack grow wider.

I laughed out loud to hear Michael Moore remark that he is driving his truck of dissent into an opening made by the nature of corporate greed itself. That even though MM is speaking out against the very corporations which disseminate his speech and visual images, they will eagerly seek MM out because the desire for the buck MM can bring them outweighs their objections to whatever MM might say.

Never should we underestimate the power of the little person. If enough little people realize that an artificial legal construct has been given the rights of a living, breathing, individual human being, they will see the problems with that, that this bizarre money-making creation is twisting the life, humanity and joy out of our societies. They must realize that we must put an end to that, turn things around, back to the way they should be, where individual people have rights and responsibilities. The people hiding behind the profit making corporate machines should be brought out into the open to face their fellow human beings as naked and defenseless as their neighbour, the person whom they have labelled "cheap labour", " a captive market", and worse.

When it is so easy for those making the profits to shelter themselves among "their own kind", attending the right schools and churches, living in gated communities, taking holidays in fancy resorts, it easy for them to be so brutally heartless. If they had to look their factory workers in the eye, see the bodies maimed and scarred by horrendous working conditions and environmental toxins, see the skies dark, thick with the acrid smoke of civilization and the whole natural world going up in smoke, would their conscience be tender enough be appalled? Would they recognize themselves in the exhausted mother living in poverty, trying to keep her child alive and thriving, constantly assaulted by inhumane living conditions, the cruelest work places, and insistent, deceptive advertizing that confuses her child and makes out of her child a torment of indiscriminating desire, rather than the hope of a better future? Maybe not.

As individuals we can be more aware, more active, more responsible. Look at what we consume, ask the hard questions, face the truth, make wiser choices. It may seem impossible to wean ourselves from so many of the conveniences we consider a necessary part of our lives, things that make life more livable. But it pays to think about the real price we are paying for some of those conveniences. It pays to look for creative alternatives that are more circular in their goals, more inclusive and more spiritual. It may be that our conveniences are actually complicating our lives and just cost too much. But if we don't examine those issues, we will never know and we will all be like lambs to the slaughter. The bucks will have been made at greater and greater costs to the environment and every living thing on this earth. Then the precipice will come. That is a foregone conclusion if that expressway straight through is what we continue to travel without heed. The world will be exhausted. Terminator seeds and all.


Anonymous joared said...

You are right, of course -- so many issues -- so many groups trying to address those issues, but still no challenge to these huge mega corporations. I long ago came to believe capitalism has run amuk. Isn't some containment possible without destroying the system? Guess we have to each keep trying in our own way, hoping there will be enough of us together to bring about necessary change.

4:11 a.m.  

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