- Cardinal Peter TurksonPresident, Vatican Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Do not participate in the 2013 World Food Prize event
Your presence will demonstrate Vatican support for GMOs
- President, Vatican Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Cardinal Peter Turkson
Dear Cardinal Turkson,
Since you have agreed to be a featured speaker at the World Food Prize event in Des Moines, Iowa, USA from 16-18 Oct 2013, a prize which honors three executives and scientists who work at the heart of the biotechnology industry, namely Monsanto, Syngenta and Plant Biotechnology Outreach, and their aggressive efforts to propagate plant and seed genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we respectfully call to the attention of you and your office that:
• GMOs and their chemical inputs devastate soil health and the ecology that support myriad life forms on our planet.
• GMOs foster large mono-cropping operations that destroy biodiversity, increase the use of pesticides and herbicides, and encourage land grabbing.
• GMO corporations privatize seeds and commercialize agricultural genetic resources through patents, aiming to gain control of global food resources and sabotage local seed/plant varieties and production for purposes of their own power and profit.
• Claims by GMO proponents of increased crop yields, less use of pesticides and herbicides, nutrient advantage and drought resistance are false.
• There is growing evidence of harmful effects on human health and the environment from these unnatural plant aliens foisted on us by agribusiness industries, whose primary aim is market control of the global food system.
• GMOs jeopardize traditional and smallholder farmers' food/seed security and livelihoods, notably in the Global South, including your native Africa.
• Pope Francis has forcefully appealed for “respect and protection of the entire creation which God has entrusted to us, that it not be indiscriminately exploited, but rather made into a garden” (National Catholic Reporter Online, “Francis’ Call for Amazon Protection Echoes the Work of Sr. Dorothy Stang” 01 Aug 2013).
• AgroEcology and Earth Jurisprudence are the way forward to respect and protect the earth rather than exploiting it. They enshrine care of the earth, seeds, soil, water, all life forms, and build on the harmony of the entire web of creation.
• Your participation at the World Food Prize will serve as a propaganda tool for agrochemical and biotechnology corporations, as well as their industries. In turn, it will send an obvious message that the Vatican supports GMOs and their domination of, and profit from, nature and the Global Commons.
Therefore, given the moral weight of your office, and cognizant of the prophetic witness to uphold the Integrity of Creation that the Christian tradition bears, we plead with you and your office to decline the invitation to the World Food Prize this year. We do this in the name of eco-social justice towards the earth community and its biodiversity for present and future generations.
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