Life Running Out Of Control

“And now you got companies that are putting foreign genes in animals and fish that are changing the crops of the world fundamentally at the genetic level and polluting the planet with this genetic pollution. And once again: only a few scientists, corporation and government regulators are making decision, there is no democratic decision making. ” –Andrew Kimbrell

In the mid 1980s, scientists unlocked the genetic keys to manipulating our world. Suddenly everything seemed possible! There would be no more hunger or malnutrition; diseases would be vanquished and poverty wiped out. But twenty years on the situation looks very different. From the loss of biodiversity to health scares about GM food, the effects of genetic technology are prompting more and more debate. Our documentary this week is an intelligent look at both sides of the issue. Made for ARTE.

Across the world, multinationals like Monsanto are meeting with unexpected resistance to their genetically modified products. But are these concerns justified? Or are activists battling the forces of progress? Renowned filmmakers Bertram Verhaag and Gabriele Krober sets out on a global journey to explore the development of genetic technology. Spanning three continents and beautifully filmed, this high quality doc hears from the scientists, farmers and activists at the heart of the debate.

“Monsanto Out! Monsanto Out!” chants a crowd of angry Indian farmers. They blame the multinational for enslaving them in debt by selling unreliable genetically modified seeds at quadruple the normal price. The seeds were supposed to yield bumper crops, require less pesticides and produce higher quality cotton. But the anticipated large harvest failed to materialise. Instead the plants were rife with disease, forcing them to use more and more expensive chemicals.

Now many farmers face ruin. Having borrowed heavily at exorbitant rates of interest to afford the seeds, they cannot keep up with repayments. In the last few years, thousands have committed suicide. Others try desperately to pay their debts by selling a kidney. But regardless of how many crops fail, farmers are still dependent on the multinationals for their next batch of seeds. “The failure of agriculture is the market success for the corporations,” laments activist Vandana Shiva. “That’s the real tragedy of genetic engineering.” (Excerpt from main website)

 

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