Fifty-two countries and more than 430 cities around the world had one major thing in common on Saturday: Thousands of people gathered to participate in the March Against Monsanto protests over genetically modified seeds and biotech companies including the poster-corporation for GMOs: Monsanto.
The reasons for protesting genetically modified seeds are many: The EU recently banned several pesticides and herbicides strongly believed to be responsible for the massive bee deaths so severe it could cripple the world's food supply. Other issues include the ongoing debate about whether or not it's ethical or fair for corporation to own patents on life. A recent Supreme Court decision ruled in favor of Monsanto's ability to patent its seeds after an Indiana farmer was accused of saving GMO soybeans without paying Monsanto.
Beyond the environmental and ethical issues, there are major human health concerns over genetic modification and exposure to herbicides and pesticides. Some of the most popular protest signs include "I'm not a science experiment" and "I'm not a lab rat." Experts have linked GMOS and their companion herbicide (Monsanto's Roundup) with cancer, neurological and developmental issues, birth defects, Parkinson's disease, digestive disorders and obesity.
The idea for the march came from Tami Canal, who created a Facebook page earlier this year. She had no idea that her call to protest would grow so rapidly. The page now has more than 154,000 fans and propelled the idea to a worldwide movement. It seems likely that the success of Saturday's event will lead to more worldwide protests and demands for GMO labeling.
Among the March Against Monsanto events, the Huffington Post noted 6,000 protestors gathered in Portland, Oregon, hundreds in downtown Los Angeles, which forced street closures, and hundreds in cities including New York, Johannesburg, Sydney and Buenos Aries.
March Against Monsanto is now calling for "the Invasion of Monsanto" on June 1st. They're encouraging people to flood Monsanto's Facebook page with comments aimed at exposing the truth about what GMOs do to the environment, to farmers and to consumers.
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Image: March Against Monsanto