Sunday, May 20, 2018

Extremely Lo-Fi One-Woman March Against Bayer Monsanto - May 19, 2018

We're onto you, evil-doers! 

Yesterday was the worldwide March Against Monsanto, a day each year when millions of people gather around the globe to march through the streets and protest Monsanto's many destructive practises. 

Monsanto is a corporation that produces, among other things, genetically modified seeds and chemical herbicides. It uses standard "add-a-gene" genetic modification, as well as relatively new "remove-a-gene" genetic modification called gene editing or CRISPR, which has been shown to produce genetic mutations.

According to multiple independent animal feeding trials, genetically modified diets can cause severe health damage in animals, including digestive damage, reproductive damage, organ damage, suppressed immune systems, tumours, and premature death, among others. 

Glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, has also been found to be toxic to biological systems at even tiny levels, at levels the governmental regulatory agencies, as well as the GMO corporations themselves, deem perfectly safe for regular animal and human consumption. At this point, with glyphosate usage through the roof worldwide, women's breast milk is testing positive for glyphosate. Our urine is testing positive for glyphosate.

In Canada, there were marches planned for Calgary, Kelowna, Dartmouth, Kitchener, Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City, and St. Georges-de-beauce.

I tried to round up (no pun intended) some people to march in my local area but came up short, so I decided to take to the streets (ahem...the small town streets) myself to get the word out. 

It takes a bit of gumption to do a one-woman march on a subject that is socially divisive, but I've actually done this in the past, so after I made the decision to go for it, it felt fairly familiar.

I made the decision to march at the last minute - on the morning of May 19. I made my signs in the hour before I started marching, so they were a bit of a rush job. I procured some white bristol board from my local print shop, as well as a red and a black chisel-tip Sharpie. The classics.

When the words were complete, I hole-punched two holes at either end along the top of the bristol board for the string. I put a couple layers of packing tape over the holes to reinforce them and punched a hole through that with a pair of scissors. I threaded some string through to make a double-thick hanger to put around my neck, and I taped the ends of the string to the back of the paper.

There are definitely more professional and slick ways to make signs, but I've always liked the do-it-yourself stylings of handmade protest signs...

I made a second sign about genetically modified alfalfa - a pet issue of mine that I've been campaigning and educating about since 2011. I hung this sign backwards so I would have a pertinent message for the peeps both coming and going. 

Yes, this brings up the possibility of your sign getting caught in the wind and half-assed choking you out (which happened a couple times), but it's all worth it in the name of Marching Against Bayer Monsanto! 

My march was definitely a march against both Bayer and Monsanto. Bayer is the maker of Cipro, the horrifically dangerous fluoroquinolone antibiotic that poisoned me in 2009.

These two nasty corporate criminals are in the process of merging in the unholiest of matrimony. The merger is expected to be completed this year, and it follows other monster-mergers of GMO/chemical corporations: Dow with DuPont and Syngenta with Chem China.

Bayer is, of course, equally as evil as Monsanto, and I've covered its crimes and checkered past in previous articles and videos:

From February 3, 2018: "Stop Bayer-Monsanto's Crimes Against Humanity, Animals, and the Environment!" 

From April 28, 2017: YouTube video "Billions Against Bayer Monsanto April 28, 2017 and Continued Recovery From Bayer's Antibiotic Cipro"

From  April 13, 2017: "Pluto Stationing Retrograde in Capricorn: From Millions Against Monsanto to Billions Against Bayer"

Protest Report

The astrology for the day was very on point. The Sun was in the final degrees of Taurus, the sign of the farmer. Planet of revolution and (bio)technology, Uranus, had just entered Taurus on May 15, and Venus, newly in Cancer, formed a productive sextile to Uranus in Taurus that morning. The Moon was in late Cancer, forming a sextile to the late Taurus Sun. Both Taurus and Cancer are signs associated with food and also with protection, so worldwide marches designed to protect our food supply were quite fitting under these skies.

It was around noon by the time I had finished my signs, and I started off walking around the downtown business district. I was met mostly with curious looks and people's queries about what this was all about. I was surprised how many people asked me what Monsanto was and what a GMO was, but I was happy to fill them in on the subjects.

I came across my musician friend who was practising guitar on her lunch break at the library amphitheatre, and she was nice enough to snap the pictures of me (above) with the signs. 

From there, I moseyed along to the Farmers Market, where most people still didn't know what the hell I was up to. I spoke with a friend who was at the market selling her famous borscht, and I also procured an aloe vera plant, which I had been looking for for a few months now. Nowhere in town seemed to have them. I took this as a good sign for the day and for the march. 

After depositing my new aloe plant back home and purchasing some almonds at the health food store as fortification for the journey ahead, I marched along the main (read: traffic-clogged) thoroughfare through town. This road connects downtown with uptown, and there is a big hill as you climb your way uptown. I'm not sure how far I walked uptown, but it was in the ballpark of 1.5 miles. I was walking on the sidewalk against the traffic so people would have a close-up view of my sign as they drove past me. 

After I made it uptown, I switched sides and walked down the opposite sidewalk as I made my way back downtown.

Overall, this was a fruitful leg of the march. In total, I received:

- ten honks
- one thumb's up from a bus driver (he probably couldn't lay on the horn as a public employee and all...)
- one excited wave from a Mama with her two bambinos
- one "Nice sign!" as I walked past a young man
- one "Monsanto sucks!" yelled out the window of a passing truck
- one woman who stopped me to ask why there weren't more of me (more people marching)

I made a stop at the community garden, where I have a couple plots, before wending my way through the park. This was also a fruitful area. I had a very nice conversation with a woman who was biking through the park. She was very interested in what information I had to lay down, and I gave her one of my Stop GM Alfalfa zines. As we were talking, a couple came riding up on their bikes, and I was able to explain to them what Monsanto and GMOs were. In particular, we talked about the gene edited "non-browning apple" abomination that is being produced in the Okanagan area of B.C. 

They were adequately grossed out by what I told them.

From there, I continued my trek and was stopped by two elderly couples, as well as a 7-year-old boy who asked what my signs were about. I tried to explain genetic modification of food to him and asked if he had heard of GMOs before.

He replied, "I think I might learn about that next year in Grade Three."

Too adorable! If only that were true!

You can see a few clips from my jaunt in this video (although I've pretty well summed up the proceedings here in this article):

Extremely Lo-Fi One-Woman March Against Bayer Monsanto May 19, 2018

It was somewhat tricky to march (especially uphill), keep my signs on straight, and get action shots, so these clips are mostly re-caps, but we do what we can do! I'm sure long-term readers are used to my guerilla, lo-fi, DIY ways by now and can overlook any gaps in camerawork. 

Overall, this march was a joyful and fun thing to do. Although a lot of people were wary of me and did the eye-averting thing, I didn't run into any overt nastiness. This was a big relief because GMOs and chemical herbicides are divisive issues that can get quite heated at times.

I enjoy doing things on my own, so it was not a hardship to do this march as a one-woman band, but I'm always open to other people in the area who would like to come together to march in future. 

Basically, I hope people take away from this article and this video that they do not need an external group in order to take meaningful action! Independent actions are powerful, sometimes even more powerful than group actions.

With Uranus transiting Taurus until 2026, we can expect an onslaught of new (mostly unlabeled) GMO foods in the marketplace, particularly involving the relatively new gene editing technology. 

But we can also expect a massive surge for local food, independently-produced food, non-GMO food, and food that is organic or produced up to organic standards. Uranus in Taurus indicates a strengthening of "local food community" worldwide with new connections being forged on both local and global levels. We can expect increasing "radicalism" when it comes to the resistance to corporations like Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, and BASF. (Only in a world this messed up would human resistance to poisonous and deadly GMO foods/herbicides be considered "radical.")

There is joy to be had under this Uranus in Taurus transit in taking firmer control over our food, in making healthier choices, in sourcing higher-quality options, and in exuberantly thumbing our noses at the people and corporations who are dramatically crappify-ing our food supply. 

Choose good food! Fight for good food! Grow good food! Work to stop Bayer Monsanto and all evil-doing and poisonous corporations! It's well worth it.


Maureen said...

You are such an inspiration, Willow! After slogging through one depressing news story after another, before shutting down the computer I remembered to check out your site and voila, I find the "Lo-Fi One-Woman March Against Bayer Monsanto," (the greedy pigs) story! I am now feeling refreshed and hopeful. Thank you so much for doing what you do, and for being who you are.
A fan from Los Angeles, Maureen.

Willow said...

Aw, thanks so much, Maureen! I'm glad it made you happy. :-) It was fun to do!

Greg F said...

Good job, Willow! I made my own sign for March 24 here in -- Olympia! , but for another toxic thing: school shootings. It was empowering to do something so positive with (reportedly) 4,000 marchers by the end of the rally. Our school children may actually shame enough politicians into saner gun control. I wish it were as hard to buy an assault weapon here as in Canada, after reading about all the requirements.

Thanks for taking your stand on GMO's, poisonous pesticides, and how big-Ag is ruining our food supply. Maybe one marcher is more effective, if you're trying to get your message across. Keep fighting!

Greg F

Anonymous said...

You look awesome!

Willow said...

Aw, thank-you! :-)

Willow said...

If I hear the truly ridiculous argument that "since all seeds cross-pollinate in the wild, we're already eating GMO food all the time," one more time, I think I will simply implode.

There is a distinct difference between seeds cross-pollinating naturally in the wild and seeds being intentionally genetically engineered by human beings in a laboratory somewhere to withstand massive doses of chemical that would kill a natural (non-GMO) plant.

Multiple studies have linked both genetically modified diets and glyphosate (the main ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, the most popular herbicide in the world) with things like cancer, reproductive damage, organ damage, and digestive damage.

Bayer-Monsanto, BASF, and Dow-Dupont are chemical corporations that got into the seed/agriculture game so they could sell more of their chemicals. The motivation is pure corporate greed.

Glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, has been proven in multiple courts of law to cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It has also been linked to leukemia and b-cell lymphoma. We've seen hundreds of millions of dollars awarded through the courts to various plaintiffs.

(The awards were later lowered drastically by the judges.)

Dewayne Johnson, 48, was originally awarded $289 million for compensation for his terminal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. This was later reduced to $20.4 million.

Edwin Hardeman, 71, was originally awarded $80 million for his Roundup-caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which was later reduced to $25 million.

Alva and Alberta Pilliod, 78 and 75 respectively, were awarded $2 billion for their non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, later reduced to $86.7 million.

There were more than 125,000 lawsuits against Bayer-Monsanto over Roundup-related cancer and illness. They settled these cases for $10 billion in 2020:

Roundup herbicide, first produced by Monsanto and now Bayer-Monsanto, is the most popular herbicide in the world, and the world is now awash with it after GMO crops have proliferated. These (criminal) chemical corporations genetically alter the seeds to withstand massive doses of herbicide that would kill any natural plant. So they deliver massive doses of chemical into the soil and into the food itself.

Corn, canola, and soybeans are almost entirely genetically modified at this point (aside from organics). Their derivatives are found in most processed foods, including in the form of lecithin, maltodextrin, and corn syrup. Sugar beets, alfalfa, cotton, papayas, apples, potatoes, salmon, and zucchini are some other foods that can be genetically modified. Eating organic or up to organic standards remains the best bet for avoiding GMOs.

Article on the Roundup cancer lawsuits: