Hawaii’s Big Island Bans GMOs;
Now Do Your Part to Stop the TPP

by Melissa Diane Smith

The mayor of the Big Island of Hawaii has signed a bill into law that bans all future plantings of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and prohibits biotech companies from operating on the Big Island. In a letter to council members announcing his decision to sign the bill, Mayor Billy Kenoi said that the new law signals the county’s desire to encourage community-based farming and ranching, as opposed to playing host to global agribusiness corporations.

Hawaii is joining Mexico, which recently banned (on an interim basis) the planting of all genetically engineered corn; Peru, which has a ten-year moratorium on GM crops; and Italy, which in July became the ninth European country to ban planting of Monsanto’s GMO corn. In addition, two city councilmen have proposed a motion to make the city of Los Angeles a GMO-Free zone, the largest one in the country, by banning the growth, sale and distribution of GM seeds and plants anywhere in the city. (These actions are pointing to more people in counties, cities, and countries understanding that banning and boycotting GMOs are better uses of our time and efforts than labeling them. See my special report “Why We Need to Focus on GMO Boycotts and Bans” for more info.)

Amidst this good news, the danger that is looming is a fast-track passage of a secret trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which most of us have never heard of. According to Food Democracy Now, a grassroots movement of farmers and citizens dedicated to building a sustainable food system, the TPP will be a “Global Monsanto Protection Act on steroids” that will allow Monsanto and other corporations the ability “to undermine nation’s laws in favor of GMO labeling and bans on their toxic products. The TPP is so bad that it would even allow Monsanto to sue a country if they felt its nation’s laws harmed Monsanto’s profits.” Again, according to Food Democracy Now, a biotech and pesticide industry lobbyist that once represented Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and the biotech giants is working as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. government!

The powers the TPP would grant corporations would allow them to undermine food safety laws, trample workers’ rights and environmental protections, limit access to vital medicine, restrict access to an open Internet, and limit a country’s abilities to pass laws to protect themselves against Monsanto’s predatory practices and toxic chemicals and GMOs. Learn more about the TPP here, here, and here, or watch this.

Leaks about the document show that the Obama administration is pushing hard for fast-track approval of the TPP – probably right during this holiday season when most of us aren’t paying attention – without proper oversight by Congress.

If this is outrageous to you and you want to do your part to keep the bans that have been passed active and to prevent corporations from controlling our food and other freedoms such as an open Internet, sign this petition right now to send a definite message to President Obama and Congress – or write or call the president or your legislators – to demand an end to the secret trade deals that would give corporations even more power.

Copyright © 2013 Melissa Diane Smith

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