Bioengineering, Chemical Pollution, Dystopic Future, Eco-Apocalypse, EPA, Genetically Modified Organism, Glyphosate, GMO, Monsanto, Roundup Herbicide, Scott Erickson, The Diary of Amy: the 14-Year-Old Girl Who Saved the Earth, Toxic Environment
The following blog entry is a guest post by award-winning satirical writer Scott Erickson. When I was initially contacted by Scott I was a bit wary until I read more about him and his writings at his website. He’s definitely ‘collapse-aware’ and is my kind of people. In a world where dystopic fiction has in many ways already become reality, we find ourselves to be a captive audience of the real world post-apocalyptic story playing out before our very eyes. Life is increasingly becoming stranger than fiction…
SATIRE CAN’T KEEP UP WITH REALITY
How long until Monsanto proposes genetic engineering of the human race?
By Scott Erickson
The hardest part about writing satire is trying to write things that are more absurd than what real life comes up with. I’ve heard this from a lot of comedy writers lately. There’s this idea that satire is dead because real life has become a satire of itself.
Here’s an example: Could anybody have invented the character of Sarah Palin? The vice presidential debate with her versus Joe Biden was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in my life.
Someday she’s going to be elected President. Which reminds me of the movie Idiocracy. It’s a pretty good satire about where we’re heading. Or have we already arrived?
The rest of this post is about a more personal example.
I just published a satirical novel about environmental destruction: The Diary of Amy, the 14-Year-Old Girl Who Saved the Earth.
In the novel, our young protagonist Amy Johnson-Martinez encounters the evil corporation GloboChem. A spill of the agricultural chemical “GrowMagic” has led to a hospital full of sick babies.
Amy does some research into what “GrowMagic” is, and she is shocked – SHOCKED! – to discover that “GrowMagic” is actually ONE OF THE MOST POISONOUS AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS EVER MADE. This is what she finds on the GloboChem website:
Our main product is HappySeeds™ which grow 73% of the world’s vegetables and grains. Most of those seeds are Magic-Ready HappySeeds™ that are genetically engineered to accompany GrowMagic™ “agricultural helper.” As happy farmers around the world say, “I need the miraculous GrowMagic™ to keep my Magic-Ready HappySeeds™ happy!” And since Magic-Ready HappySeeds™ are genetically designed to grow plants that don’t produce seed, farmers around the world are happy to come back and buy more HappySeeds™ year after year – which keeps GloboChem shareholders happy! GloboChem: Spreading happiness wherever it touches.
If you guessed that “GloboChem” is a thinly-disguised “Monsanto,” and that “GrowMagic™” is a thinly disguised “Roundup,” then good for you! You win 10 points and advance to the semi-finals.
Later in the story, things take a darker turn. Since weeds have evolved into super weeds that are increasingly resistant to agricultural chemicals, bolder measures are necessary. Thus, GloboChem’s spokesperson announces a radical new proposal:
Ladies and Gentlemen, some people would suggest that GloboChem has gone too far. I put it to you that we haven’t gone far enough. I am proud to announce that GloboChem has developed an innovative new product that will absolutely end all problems with human exposure to agricultural chemicals.
Our new product is a highly-advanced version of our famous ‘HappySeed’ technology. As you surely know, ‘Magic-Ready HappySeeds’ are genetically engineered to go with our ‘GrowMagic’ agricultural helper. I am proud to announce GloboChem’s brand-new product, which we call ‘HappyHuman.’ It will make human beings – people like you and me – able to withstand the ‘GrowMagic’ that brings us the clean and inexpensive food you serve to your loved ones. ‘HappyHuman’ will be available in capsule form – just one dose per month is all you’ll need to stay healthy and prosperous.
Each capsule contains specially-engineered radioactive isotopes that go throughout the body, miraculously altering the genetic code to change the cell chemistry in each and every cell. Then, our bodies can withstand the ‘GrowMagic’ that brings us attractive pest-free food at a reasonable price. In other words, it will make us able to withstand ‘GrowMagic’ 100 percent naturally!
I know what you’re all thinking. You’re thinking, ‘What about our household pets, our fuzzy kittens and puppies?’ I’m pleased to assure you that GloboChem will offer our supplement in a pet-friendly form, because GloboChem cares about your pets. In fact, we love them more than you do.
Funny stuff, huh? Well, maybe less funny after the recent announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency. Since weeds have evolved into super weeds that are increasingly resistant to agricultural chemicals, the EPA has decided to allow larger traces of the herbicide glyphosate in farm-grown foods (http://rt.com/usa/monsanto-glyphosate-roundup-epa-483 http://truthstreammedia.com/epa-to-raise-allowable-glyphosate-levels-in-food-crops-3000)
Yes, glyphosate is the key ingredient in the company’s GrowMagic™ label of herbicides. Sorry, I meant to write Roundup label of herbicides.
Don’t worry, though – the acceptable level of glyphosate is only rising a little bit. The EPA is increasing limits on allowable glyphosate in food crops from 200 ppm to 6,000 ppm. That’s not much – only 3,000%.
Yes, scientists have linked glyphosate to cancerous diseases.
Yes, a study by The Cornucopia Institute concluded that glyphosate “exerted proliferative effects in human hormone-dependent breast cancer.”
Yes, another study concluded that “glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins.”
According to GloboChem – sorry, I meant to write Monsanto – the public is okay with this. A two-month open comment period that began May 1st drew little public resistance. Yes, the comment period was only announced on a 3×5 card posted in the company’s break room, but if you really wanted to see it then you should have looked harder.
Later in The Diary of Amy, the story eventually takes an even darker turn. The public has so far resisted GloboChem’s plan to genetically alter the human race. But now the agricultural chemicals are not stopping the super weeds, despite applying them far above the recommended concentrations. And the economy is in a tailspin due to a sudden oil shortage. We have to act fast! Fortunately, GloboChem comes to the rescue:
Recently GloboChem, Inc. has received some “less than fully satisfied” feedback on our agricultural products. We are pleased to respond to this feedback and offer what appears to be the only viable solution.
Apparently our GrowMagic™ agricultural helper is becoming less effective over time, even by using heavier applications.
Some have claimed all along that this would happen, and that we have lied about it. That is true. But even though we lied once, that doesn’t mean we’re lying to you this time. Since we told the truth about our lying, that should make you trust us now.
But rather than engage in a useless discussion about “who said what when,” we must forge ahead, like the courageous nation that we are. America has never turned its back on a challenge, and these tough economic times mean we must not turn our back like never before.
We recently announced our new HappyHuman™ product and sought to receive congressional approval to market it. But public reception was less-than-positive and the congressional bill stalled in committee.
We believe that now is the time to pass the bill and rush HappyHuman™ to the American public. Only by genetically engineering a human race able to withstand our products can we preserve our American way of life.
We must increase the “magic” within GrowMagic™ to a level high enough to kill every form of life that has not been genetically modified to resist it. There is no other option.
We have consulted with economic experts that we paid, and confirmed the following: Either we go forward with HappyHuman™, or food prices will increase by one thousand percent and the United States agricultural system will collapse and we will all die.
In other words, the only way to sustain human life is to modify ourselves to resist killing the rest of it.
This was much funnier to me when I wrote it. Now, not so much.
I’m just wondering how long it is before I see such a press release in real life, or before I see such a plan being proposed by a GloboChem spokesperson. Sorry, I meant to write Monsanto spokesperson.
The Diary of Amy, the 14-Year-Old Girl Who Saved the Earth
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End_of_More (@End_of_More) said:
An excellent piece, it would be as well to read the review of Margaret Atwood’s latest novel, which takes this to its logical (and scary) next stage
Worth a look
Seen from a satellite, an industrial feedlot has a sort of abstract beauty. The washes of colors, the juxtaposition of organic and rigid geometries, initially obscure the subject. Then comes the realization: That’s where our food comes from.
Such is the power of “Feedlots,” a new series of images crafted by British artist Mishka Henner from publicly available satellite photographs. Henner does work with the photos, adjusting the colors — the waste lagoons above, for example, are not bright green — but the physical details are unaltered.
Henner, who noticed the feedlots while scanning for pictures of oil fields in Texas, didn’t at first realize what he was looking at. Factory farms exist in the United Kingdom, but not at landscape scales.
Even for Americans, though, these sights are unusual. Industrial farming, especially of animals, tends to be hidden from public view — and under so-called ag-gag laws, that secrecy could become law.
Recent News Bites…
“…Now money is a social invention which can be created by electronic keystrokes these days in any amount. Eons of geologic transformation and concentration are not required. But finite natural resources by definition have a limit. We cannot say with precision what that limit is, but we know it is there.
The rejoinder to Bartlett and others like him is that technology will overcome any limits, and that we’ll use substitutes for resources that run low. It’s hard to imagine what might be a good substitute for uncontaminated, potable water; but, in the cornucopian’s mind anything is possible. It’s also hard to imagine a modern technical society without metals. But, we’ll think of something, right? However, please don’t say that that something is made out of materials derived from oil, natural gas or coal which are also finite.
The problems posed by exponential growth mean we’ll have to think of “something” at increasingly short intervals given the ever rising rates of consumption and the broad range of finite materials we depend on–especially fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal) and much of the periodic table of elements including the usual suspects such as iron, copper, aluminum, zinc, silver, platinum, and uranium and the more exotic ones such as lithium, titanium, the so-called rare earth elements, and helium.
It’s not just one substitute we’ll have to find. And, we may be faced with having to find many all at once. The idea that technological innovation will always and everywhere stay ahead of an ever increasing rate of depletion may be true or not true. But we cannot know this ahead of time.
In fact, if it were true, why hasn’t technological innovation brought oil prices down to where they were in the 1990s before the run-up of the last decade? There’s no commodity more central to the functioning of our economy; and, there’s been huge spending by the oil industry and deployment of revolutionary new techniques. Yet, the price remains stubbornly high. The glut that was promised year after year has failed to materialize. The problem is not that technological innovation has ceased; it’s that it may not be enough.
And so, we are assuming huge risks by taking it on faith that all hurdles to the continuance of our technical civilization as it stands can be overcome in time and forever by technological advances. We are taking it on faith, essentially, that we will never screw up so badly that our highly-efficient, just-in-time economy will cease to grow and finally decline until it reaches a level that can be sustained by a much simpler and less technically advanced set of practices, probably for a much smaller population.
It stands to reason that even the RATE of technological advancement must have a limit. Humans are not infinite in their powers of reason. Even with computers, we cannot innovate at infinite speeds…”
19K Homes Damaged or Destroyed in Colorado Flooding, 5 Dead
PHOTOS: Dangerous Colorado Flood Waters Claims Lives
How Facebook may secretly foil your activist plans
In recent years, Facebook has become an unexpectedly crucial tool for activism. The social media platform allows activists to efficiently connect and communicate with one another in order to arrange meetings, protests and boycotts. Unfortunately, activists who once found that Facebook helped make organizing easier are now encountering obstacles – and the resistance is coming from Facebook itself.
With little explanation, Facebook has been disabling pages related to activism. In some cases, administrators who set up the pages are no longer able to add updates. In others, the pages are being deleted entirely. Understandably, activists are frustrated when a network of 10,000 like-minded individuals is suddenly erased, leaving no way to reconnect with the group.
Realistically, that’s the downside of relying on a hundred billion dollar company. Facebook is a pro-business enterprise with countless partnerships that undoubtedly pressure the site to limit the types of socializing progressives may engage in, particularly activities that might harm advertisers’ profits.
For example, this year’s March Against Monsanto events have been popular with people across the globe, but not Facebook. An upcoming invitation for a rally in St. Louis, Missouri where Monsanto is headquartered was wiped clean from the social networking site. The administrator of the event received a very unspecific notice that the event “violated Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” yet it is not clear how the event would have violated any terms. What is clear, however, is that Monsanto advertises on Facebook and may have had some influence on the matter….
Kevin Moore said:
Satire is dependent on knowledge. A general populous that has little or no knowledge does not recognize satire.
Nor do they recognise existential threats.
At one time I thought it might be possible to bring about a transition to sane economic and social arrangements via education. But now I know better. Our fate will be determined by the ignorance and apathy of the masses, and the systems of control imposed on them by corporations and the elites.
Collapse of present arrangements via resource depletion and environmental collapse is inevitable. It is only the timing of the collapse we cannot determine.