Editorials The Ecologist goes monthly A
s our readers wil l probably have noticed, The Ecologist, as of this issue, has shifted up a gear, moving from bi-monthly to monthly status. From now on, we wil l be producing ten, rather than six, issues a year, with the magazine appearing on the first day of every month, apart from during the August/September and January/February periods, when we wil l be producing combined issues.
section, which wil l now be able to focus even more effectively on the latest developments around the world, has been expanded and moved from the centre to the front of the magazine. We have also given some space to the return of a popular old friend, Gulliver In Automobilia (page 252), which wil l be a regular feature from now on.
Our move to monthly publication has also been accompanied by some small design changes. The news and campaigns
This move is a reflection of the magazine's continued success and corresponding rise in circulation. But, such changes apart, The Ecologist wil l continue to carry out the
task that i t has set itself for almost thirty years: to challenge the basic assumptions which underlie a political and economic worldview that is causing untold damage to people and their environments across the world.
I f you are a subscriber to the magazine, you wil l now be receiving ten, rather than six, issues of The Ecologist per year, although your subscription price wil l remain the same. I f you are not yet a subscriber, then this is surely the ideal time to remedy that defect...
Is the Biotech Dream Crumbling'? By Paul Kingsnorth
This is not, I promise, just another attack on Monsanto. Readers of The Ecologist wil l already know more than they perhaps want to about the dubious activities of our gene-manipulating friends from Illinois - though continuing demand for The Monsanto Files (over 300,000 copies sold so far, in six languages, and no sign yet of demand slowing down) suggests there are many more out there hungry for the real story. No, this editorial simply raises a question which it might have seemed absurd to ask only a few months ago: is it possible that campaigners against biotechnology might actually win?
The anti-GMO movement is no longer confined to 'activists' - it has become a significant popular movement in its own right, and one of the biggest, fastest-growing and most remarkable environmental campaigns of recent years. Consider the events of just the past few months. Despite staunch support from both British and American governments, biotechnology companies have come under sustained fire from environmentalists (radical and mainstream); from the media (virtually every national newspaper in the UK, for example, from both sides of the political fence, is now actively campaigning against GM crops); from independent politicians; from farmers; from doctors; and even from royalty (in Britain,
The six Genetix Snowball defendants outside London's High Court
the Prince of Wales has lashed out again at GM foods, embarrassing the government in the process.) Seed companies are dropping out of the GMO experiment for commercial reasons. Major supermarkets are dropping GMOs like hot potatoes. A caravan of Indian farmers is touring the industrialised world warning of the dangers of biotechnology.
In other words, the anti-GMO movement is no longer confined to 'activists' i t has become a significant popular movement in its own right, and one of the biggest, fastest-growing and most remarkable environmental campaigns of recent years.
But wil l i t be successful? Is it really conceivable that the GMO bandwagon could be stopped in its tracks - even reversed? Again, a look at recent events suggests that a GMO-free world is perhaps not, after all, an impossible dream.
What may turn out, in the coming
months, to be the most significant development so far in the battle against biotechnology occurred in the High Court in London on 20th April. Six environmentalists from the GenetiX Snowball campaign, who are accused by Monsanto of deliberately uprooting their GM crops, successfully defended themselves against the corporation's attempts impose an injunction on them, which would have meant that any further action they undertook against the corporation would lead to a prison sentence. (There was a twist in the tale, too. Monsanto were also seeking an injunction against anybody who had been sent a copy of GenetiX Snowball's "Handbook For Action", a list which included the staff of The Ecologist, not to mention Tony Blair, the Pope and Queen Elizabeth II... )
Much to Monsanto's frustration, though, the judge at the two-day summary hearing ruled that GenetiX Snowball's defence was strong enough to warrant a
The Ecologist, Vol. 29, No 4, July 1999