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As Lily Tomlin has noted, "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up."
For example, imagine if a prestigious group announced that this year's "World Environmental Prize" will be awarded to BP for its unique contribution to the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico. Too absurd, you say?
Right, but try this one: An Iowa group announces that the "World Food Prize" will go to Monsanto for pushing its patented, pricey, genetically-tampered Frankenseeds on impoverished lands as an "answer" to global hunger. This would be so morally perverse that the "cyn" in cynical would be spelled S.I.N. Yet, it's actually happening.
Rather than encouraging sustainable farming and self-sufficiency in impoverished communities as a way to alleviate poverty and malnutrition, the World Food Prize has been "won" by a profiteering, biotech, seed-and-chemical monopolist that's the freakish opposite of sustainability. Monsanto is globally infamous for bullying family farmers, bribing and corrupting governments, stiffing independent scientific inquiries into its hokum, running false ads and fraudulent PR campaigns, and going all out to keep consumers from knowing that the crops produced by its seeds contain alien, bioengineered DNA and have not been tested for longterm health and environmental problems.
Why would this avaricious outfit get any sort of award, much less one that can give it a false legitimacy as a corporate "savior" for the world's poor? Perhaps because Monsanto is a major funder of the World Food Prize. Indeed, the foundation that hands out the award is headquartered in downtown Des Moines in a historic building that recently got a spiffy remodeling, thanks to a $5 million donation from -- you guessed it -- Monsanto.
Listen to this commentary:
Photo: Flickr user Kevin Van den Panh uzen, creative commons licensed.