Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winona LaDuke on GM Rice

There is so much happening that it is difficult to keep up with everything. It would require a full time staff. Once in a while something catches my eye and I decide to pass it on. Such is the case with the following excerpt from an article in Nation by Joliange Wright, Environmentalism with a Social Conscience. Most of the article is devoted to convincing us that Dylan was right.
The face of the environmental movement is changing. No longer strictly the domain of nature enthusiasts, a new socially conscious environmentalism is becoming mainstream.
Buried near the bottom of the article is a mention of Winona LaDuke and our favorite corporate target (even ahead of WalMart) Monsanto.
The new environmentalism also means recognizing the direct link between cultural diversity and biodiversity, a connection that indigenous activist Winona LaDuke is trying to bring into the public discourse. "Wherever Indigenous peoples still remain, there is also a corresponding enclave of biodiversity," she writes, and that variation of life-forms is vital to the health of any ecosystem. For twenty years she has fought to protect Manoomin, a wild rice that grows on the lakes in Northern Minnesota and is a sacred food to the Anishinaabeg people, from genetic engineering. Changing the DNA of traditional foods upsets the ecological systems in which they grow and impacts the people whose cultures depend on their cultivation. At the Bioneers conference LaDuke said: "I didn't know what seed slavery was until I met up with Monsanto." Keeping agri-giants like Monsanto away from traditional seed supplies and keeping Manoomin wild are two ways indigenous Americans are working to preserve native lands and cultures.
The implications for California a clear. It is one more reason why the California State Legislature needs to pass AB 541.

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