Opinion: Wake Up!

POSTED: 01/23/12 7:21 PM

Saturday we went to Lagoonies for a taste of what was rumored to become Occupy-SXM. It was a memorable evening, for sure, with the showing of an impressive horror-documentary (The World According to Monsanto) and with a crowd showing above average interest in the business at hand. Early on the event threatened to turn into an ordinary brawl, when artist Francis Eck blocked out the video presentation by stepping in front of the projection equipment. It was clear that the painter had indulged in something that was definitely not orange juice, but the event’s organizers managed to calm things down and send Francis on his way. There were two more incidents that followed shortly after Eck left, so it promised to become really interesting.
But then, the rowdier part of the crowd somehow lost steam and it was back to business.
Elaine Christopher and Will Welch of the eco-company Good2Go are two of the key players in this initiative. We soon found out that this budding initiative will not result in an Occupy Front Street or Occupy Clem Labega Square type of thing. It is more of an awareness initiative and therefore the following term one of the speakers used seems ideal as the name for what is to come: Wake Up!
The organizers presented video-speeches by environmentalist and journalist Paul Hawken and the awesome Monsanto-documentary. It contains information many people already know; at the same time, there is probably an equal amount of people that have forgotten all about it, and another generation that is not even aware of it.
Monsanto is an American agricultural giant. The French documentary producer and writer Marie-Monique Robin spent three years investigating Monsanto across the globe. The company produces the poisonous pesticide Roundup, and it is also involved in the production of genetically modified (some would prefer the word manipulated) crops.
Monsanto seems to have designed the ultimate conspiracy. It produces seeds that are resistant to its own pesticide Roundup, and it owns the copyright on its genetically modified products. Farmers around the world using Monsanto-seeds have to sign a contract promising that they will not harvest seeds from their own crops. They have to buy new seeds every season from Monsanto. While the producer promises advantages like higher yield and resistance against diseases and against Roundup, farmers quickly discovered that they are now at the mercy of Monsanto. Several farmers who were unable to keep up have committed suicide, while others have been forced to go out of business.
Robin’s documentary “traces a wide range of controversies involving the use and promotion of genetically-modified seeds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Agent Orange, and the bovine growth hormone,” as Wikipedia correctly describes its content.
“The film delves into cases across the United States (including Anniston, Alabama), Canada, India, Mexico, Paraguay, the United Kingdom and France, pointing out along the way how the corporation’s collusion with governments, pressure tactics, suppression and manipulation of scientific data, and extra-legal practices aided the company’s attempts at dominating global agriculture. The World According to Monsanto draws on first-hand interviews with scientists, representatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), civil society representatives, victims of the company’s activities, lawyers, and politicians.
What does all this have to do with St. Maarten? Well, the Wake Up-initiators want people to realize that there is a better way, and that it is feasible to pick up this practice locally. Already the organization – that still has to formalize its entity – has been given the right of use to several plots of land for growing produce locally. Will Welch said that he has been speaking with Rasta-farmer Bushman, since he has a vast experience with locally grown crops. Bushman was not at the meeting on Saturday though.
Producing more crops locally, done in a sustainable way, is one of the first practical actions the Wake Up-group intends to undertake. But other than that, everything is open. There are thought about time banking (whereby people exchange services without money changing hands), about alternative energy and about spiritual awakening.
The initiative is in the early stages, but it is already getting the attention of the thinking part of the country. Once the movement gains momentum, who knows what results it will bring. For sure, even Members of Parliament must prefer to feed their children and their loved ones natural and healthy produce, and to find solutions for sustainable energy production over taking the island to the abyss. We’ll find out sooner or later whether this is a correct statement, because, as we all know, results don’t lie.
For information send an email to lightworkerssxm@gmail.com.

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