From the December 2009 Idaho Observer:

The Latest Horror Unleashed: Genetically Modified Trees

While the heads of the United Nations are meeting in Copenhagen with the stated intention of protecting the planet from imminent destruction from climate change, and their various agencies are infiltrating our cities purportedly to enforce a strict agenda of sustainability - which Oxford defines as the supporting and upholding of life, one of the largest and most powerful corporations on Earth has planted outdoor test plots of genetically engineered trees guaranteed to turn every acre of land on which they thrive into a desert wasteland.

Against the scientific advice of geneticists working for such United Nations support groups as the Sierra Club, the Global Justice Ecology Project and the World Rainforest Movement, Monsanto Corporation, with the help of Cornell University, has planted over 150 farms of GE/GMO trees across the U.S., and these trees are destroying indigenous agriculture throughout the third world.

These trees, which include apples, eucalyptus, and poplar trees used for paper and cellulosic ethanol production, are being genetically modified for four specific features:

Insecticide: The trees’ cells are injected with Bt toxin, a naturally occurring microbe that - when it occurs in nature in the soil, creates a natural insecticide that helps organic gardeners avoid pesticide use. However, when introduced into every cell of a plant, it not only destroys friendly insects, it encourages the evolution of superbugs that are resistant to both the GE plants and to the natural microbes. In addition, the toxin surfaces in the groundwater surrounding the grove up to six times normal concentration.

Herbicide resistance: The trees are injected with DNA that causes them to survive onslaughts of Monsanto’s Round-up herbicide, so the underbrush can be killed off without harming the trees. Roundup is also deadly to bees, birds and small animals, so those that might survive the loss of their food cycle - insects killed by the Bt toxin - will also be eliminated.

Low Lignin: Lignin is the tree fiber that helps the tree stand up to wind and other damage, but it requires additional chemicals to break it down in the production of paper and agro-fuels. Dr. David Suzuki, award-winning scientist and host of “The Nature of Things,” stated in the documentary “A Silent Forest,” that paper would more profitably be made of post-manufactured products, hemp, and forest waste. He stated that of every ten trees cut, the equivalent of one of them rots in the woods.

Sterility: When injected with Monsanto’s patented “terminator gene”, the trees should neither flower nor release pollen nor produce seed. Monsanto claims that this would protect the forests around its GMO trees from being polluted. However, in looking at Monsanto’s terminator seed track record and the number of lawsuits it successfully files against farmers who do not want its unsustainable genes on their farms, it is clear that the terminator policy is not guaranteed to work, and like a dirty secret, once this technology is released into the environment, there is no way on earth to ever reel it back in. Trees that do not put energy into reproduction will divert that energy into unusual growth, depleting the soil of any remaining life and creating a desert that must be abandoned while the producers move on to clear the next plot of land for destruction.

The result? A silent, dead world that would make Rachel Carson’s expose of Monsanto’s DDT in her 1960s book, Silent Spring, look like a high school experiment.

What you can do recommends you undermine economic viability of commercializing GE trees by informing your friends and always buying organic or locally grown non-GE food; know where your food and paper come from; and support Kinko’s and other printers and paper manufacturers that boycott GE paper made by the International Paper Co. Participate in the international movements against agro-fuels made from genetically modified trees; educate youth to build opposition to GE tree research on university campuses; find out whether GE field trials exist in your area and encourage local legislators to remove existing releases of GE trees; assist local groups in building organized opposition in threatened regions; and, finally, support indigenous autonomy and land rights.

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