Genetically Modified Energy

Seeds of Destruction in the Polish Countryside.

The Bio-Fuel Act, in the process of being adopted by the Polish Parlaiment , is a potentially poisoned gift to the Polish Countryside. Under the guise of promoting a clean, environmentally friendly fuel, the act will, in reality, encourage the widespread use of agrichemicals and open the door for the production of genetically modified crops.

 

If this act is passed it will further expose Poland to the pressures of US based agribusiness corporations (backed by the US Government) to find a home for highly controversial GM seeds, such as oilseed rape, currently blocked or still under trial in other countries.

Instead of benefiting the farmers who grow them, the danger is that GM crops will contaminate native plants through cross-breeding and produce new strains of 'super weeds' that will prove almost impossible to eradicate, except with highly toxic agrichemicals. This is the main conclusion of top UK scientists currently assessing UK field trials of GM rape.

There is increasing evidence that the use of genetically modified plants in agriculture (such as soya, maize, rape) could have a catastrophic effect on the preservation of the natural biodiversity of the countryside. The UK Government's own wildlife advisory body, English Nature, is warning of the dangers inherent in the cross-contamination of native and genetically modified plant breeds. Their concern is echoed by the European Environment Agency and scientific bodies throughout Europe.
In June, the University of Lille, France warned that GM material can be spread over long distances by farm vehicles or shoes. This evidence contradicts the view that GM contamination can be avoided by leaving a small distance between GM and conventional crops.

The Polish Government does not appear to have done any research into the ecological hazards associated with these crops. The use of genetic modification or agrichemicals to grow bio-fuel plants is a clear contradiction. Only the ecological production of such crops can benefit the farmer, the environment and the consumer.

Poland's greatest asset is its large area of unpolluted agricultural soils and rich natural environment. Through actively encouraging the development of renewable 'green' energy, such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass, and by supporting traditional and ecological methods of food production, Poland could set a much needed example of long term, responsible, land management. Rather than repeating the mistakes of other countries, this could make it a leader in the growing demand for environmentally friendly sources of food and energy while retaining maximum employment on the land.

Julian Rose, July 2003

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