May 10, 2013, marks a historic date for our family. On that date, I facilitated our first of what will likely become hundreds of public events dedicated solely to exposing Monsanto, the biotech industry, and genetically modified organisms.
The day started in the early morning hours with a dream. In this dream, I was seated in a hotel conference room. Older people filled the chairs around me. From their conversation I learned we were on some sort of tour together. These people complained incessantly about the service they were receiving on the tour. I paid little attention to their complaints, both because their complaints were trivial and because a group of punk boys were engaged in some sort of shenanigans in the front of the room. The tourists paid no heed to the boys. In fact, they gave no evidence that the boys were even visible to them.
These boys were focused on two or three small pipes running horizontally against the wall in the front of the room. The pipes were attached to the wall some 8 feet or so above the floor of the room. With the aid of ladders and little shelves they hammered into the wall, they studied the pipes, moving their fingers along them until they seemed to find an area of interest.
I grew increasingly anxious in this setting. What were these boys doing? I knew beyond doubt they were up to no good. “Somebody should stop them,” I thought. Somebody with authority, somebody from the hotel. But no such people were present. And my fellow tourists? Why couldn’t they see the boys?
I clearly didn’t fit in with the other tourists. Their complaints bored me, especially at this moment when punks were violating the norms of civilized social behavior. I sat in my chair—paralyzed—knowing that I should get up, say something to the boys, stop them, or go get help. But I felt powerless. I was, after all, just a tourist.
In this state of inner turmoil, I watched a boy position himself on a precarious shelf so he could gain access to a particular part of the pipe. He produced some sort of sharp device—a nail perhaps—held it up to the pipe and pounded on it with a hammer. A spray of water shot forth from the hole and sprayed all of us in the room.
So absorbed were the tourists in their complaints that the spray of water had no effect upon them. Finally, I stood and fled from the room in search of the hotel authorities. I entered the hallway and found hotel guests moving about, confused and afraid. I saw hotel personnel shouting out commands on their hand-held radios. I wanted to tell them what I had observed, but there was no need. I was too late. They already knew. The effect of the hole in the pipe was so sudden and immediate that everyone in the hotel knew.
I was filled with shame. I had seen the boys. I knew they were engaged in something nefarious. Why had I sat there? Why didn’t I respond?
The scene changed. I found myself seated in the office of my former boss. She spoke, as she always speaks, both with compassion and directness. “What were you thinking, Brett? Why didn’t you do something?”
And then I awoke from this meaningless nightmare. The images were fading but the shame filled my soul just as surely as water filled that hotel conference room.
I was glad to be awake, glad to power the computer, glad to write, blog, message, and network. Glad to take my mind off my foolish dream. I had only a few precious hours before work. I had much to do to prepare for the first of our three Monsanto movie nights and Sitka’s March Against Monsanto.
And then it hit me! My dream was not just another meaningless mess full of random images and senseless chatter.
My dream was deeply and perfectly symbolic of the situation facing our modern world.
People of means live their lives as tourists, traveling the world, so self-absorbed in their trivial problems, that they fail to see what’s going on in front of their faces. A gang of boys known as the Big 6—Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta—are working together, poking holes in cells, draining economies, poisoning the world, destroying and killing millions of lives around the world.
And I have sat still far too long, knowing that something is seriously wrong with a food system that is controlled by chemical and pesticide companies. I have sat still, waiting for the authorities to intervene. But now I know, now many of us know, that the authorities are very much aware of what Monsanto and gang are doing. In fact, a growing number of us know that Monsanto and gang are the authorities. They regulate the FDA and the USDA and congress and the White House, not the other way around.
The U.S. government and multi-national corporations have joined hands, bank accounts, and militaries to become the world’s largest and most powerful crime syndicate.
And my conscience is screaming at me. “What are you thinking, Brett? Why aren’t you doing something?”
And finally, I am doing something!
Last night I joined a grand total of six other people—Brittany, Gayle, Kathy, Gus, Jay, and Ryan—to raise awareness of the poison/biotech industry. Together we watched the bulk of The World According To Monsanto, a documentary that presents indisputable proof that Monsanto and gang are lying bullies and criminals.
I learned from one participant that people in Kansas—the land of biotech crops and RoundUp—report that birth defects and stillbirths have become a rather normal event for them. Another participant thanked me for helping him learn more about GMOs. He said he had been so angry about the recent death of his father to Agent Orange that he hadn’t taken the time to consider Monsanto and gang’s ongoing threat to the world.
“So what?” one person asked. “So what if a few of us meet and talk about Monsanto? What does it matter? What good does it do?”
I would like to say I know the answer to that question, but I don’t. It might be too late. The people of my generation have lived their lives asleep, complaining of trivial matters while the government prostitutes itself to the highest bidders. Genetic contamination is inevitable. It’s already happening and it has already wreaked havoc in nature and economies. We don’t yet know how far those effects might spread. Poison saturated food, soil, air, and water is a fact of life that has already sickened and contributed to the deaths of millions. Bees and butterflies are victims of a global holocaust. Will we follow them?
I don’t know, but this I do know. I can’t sit quiet any longer listening to mindless drivel while punks destroy the world.
I honor the people who attended the meeting last night. Our seven won’t phase the Big 6. But consider this? Is there any place on Earth where seven regular citizens met last night in a grassroots effort to support the Biotech Industry? No. But how many people met last night in preparation for the world’s first March Against Monsanto, a march that will inspire millions of people to wake up, stand up, and take action? People—people like you and me—don’t want to eat poisoned food and we don’t want to feed it to the people of the world. We don’t want lying bullies and criminals poking holes in cells, laws, ethics, morals, and economies.
The Biotech Industry only benefits people who profit from the Biotech Industry. It offers nothing but lies and destruction to the rest of us. The irony in this situation is that the people profiting from the Biotech Industry sees themselves as separate from humanity, separate from nature, and separate from the environment. And from that place of separateness they feel free to exploit, war, and profit. But they are not separate from us, and they are not separate from the environment. When they poison poor peasants in Paraguay, they poison themselves. When they exploit Indian farmers, they exploit themselves. When they pollute the soil, they pollute themselves and their children.
If common people are blind to Monsanto and gang, then Monsanto and gang are the most blind of all. Their policies, practices, poisons, and products produce death. And as mere mortals, they are not immune to death. What meaning will their lives have when they realize they have destroyed their own backyards and their own children?
I cannot predict the outcome, but I promise you this: people of conscience are waking up. We are fed up with eating lies and poisons. I am proud to stand among those people, both in Sitka and in the world. And I am so excited to meet with them as David and I run across the U.S.A. in 2014.
Will we win? I don’t know. But we will sound the alarm; we will do every ethical and moral thing we can to counter people who have sacrificed their ethics and morality to Monsanto and gang.
See you on the road!