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SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE (SEA)

 

box 56 agulhas 7287 south africa

 

 

 

tel +27 (0)28 435 6565 * fax +27 (0)86 674 9522 * mobile (sms/text only) +27 (0)86 674 9522

email cowperlewis@isat.co.za; www.southermost.co.za

 

 

Blood on our Farms: Is Monsanto Responsible for 1 Suicide Every 30 Minutes?

Posted By Dr. Mercola | September 03 2010 | 5,327 views

India Monsanto farmer in a field

India is in the midst of a flood of suicides among farmers. … The vast majority of people in India still farm for a living, but are caught between deep debt and the erratic nature of seasonal change.

Indian farmers are pressured into mortgaging their farms to purchase genetically modified seeds, pesticides, and fertilizer from American companies like Monsanto.

According to AlterNet:

“Since GM seeds are patented by Monsanto, their repeated use each year requires constant licensing fees that keep farmers impoverished. One bad yield due to drought or other reasons, plunges farmers so deep into debt that they resort to suicide. One study estimates that 150,000 farmers have killed themselves in the past ten years.”

(Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/03/monsanto-caused-an-estimated-150000-farmer-suicides.aspx)

 

It’s clear that stories like these should make us scared … very, very scared … since our own Government, agricultural bodies, and even our farmers themselves love and welcome Monsanto. In Canada, many existing organic and natural production farms have been invaded by Monsanto Genetically Modified Organisms. And recently, for the first time, GM Canola (oilseed rape – Brassica napas) has been discovered in a previously pristine biodiverse botanical area in the Canadian wilds.

 

With GM Canola being held in high esteem in this country by producers and consumers alike, one can’t help wondering how long it will be before GM Canola jumps into our own fragile and world-renowned Fynbos? It has already lined part of the road between Struisbaai and Bredasdorp, whilst fields of yellow can be seen encroaching on the Agulhas Plain. Furthermore it’s been documented by health providers that GM Canola is responsible for a myriad of chest, sinus and respiratory conditions.

 

Inexplicably, even some of our own local conservation groups don’t seem remotely interested in hearing the dark and dangerous other side of the multinational GM corporations – like Monsanto – story. How confusing is this, when we all thought that the tripple bottom line for conservation was the protection of biodiversity?!?

 

Surprising too, is the silence from our religious groups on this issue. Surely changing the genetic make-up of God’s own species is a sin and a travesty of nature? So why don’t the Churches act, one wonders?

 

Most African countries reject GM foods outright – so what makes our South African government so gullible to multinational corporations? Ignorance … negligence … corruption – who knows!

 

However, it has now become critical for people to understand that we’re dealing with Genetic Roulette here. Clearly, no one can guess the long-term negative effects that these products will have on the future biodiversity of our planet and on human and animal health.

 

*****

 

References:

Smith, Jeffrey. 2003. Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating.

Smith, Jeffrey. 2004. Seeds of Deception: Exposing Corporate and Government Lies About the Safety of Genetically Engineered Food.

Smith, Jeffrey. 2005. Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.

http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Home/index.cfm

 

Spilling the Beans is the free, monthly electronic newsletter of the Institute for Responsible Technology, featuring a series of articles and updates on GM foods. This newsletter appears in a number of print and online publications, reaching consumers and social network organizations in over 30 countries across the globe.  To subscribe, go to www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Newsletter/index.cfm

 

The World According to Monsanto. DVD. 2008.

Monsanto's controversial past combines some of the most toxic products ever sold with misleading reports, pressure tactics, collusion, and attempted corruptionThey now race to genetically engineer (and patent) the world's food supply, which profoundly threatens our health, environment, and economy. Combining secret documents with first-hand accounts by victims, scientists, and politicians, this widely praised film exposes why Monsanto has become the world's poster child for malignant corporate influence in government and technology. 109 minutes.

 

12 September 2010

Meg Cowper-Lewis

Director and Founder

Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA)

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance was founded in 1999 and now has a database of 150 unconditional supporters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE (SEA)

 

box 56 agulhas 7287 south africa

 

 

 

tel +27 (0)28 435 6565 * fax +27 (0)86 674 9522 * mobile (sms/text only) +27 (0)73 026 8800

email cowperlewis@isat.co.za; www.southermost.co.za

 

 

4 June 2010

 

Attention: Bongi Shinga
ACER (Africa) Environmental Management Consultants

P O Box 503, Mtunzini, 3867
bongi.shinga@acerafrica.co.za;
nuclear1@acerafrica.co.za
Tel: 035 340 2715
Fax: 035 340 2232
Cell: 079 577 1231

 

Dear Ms Shinga

 

PROPOSED NUCLEAR1

BANTAMSKLIP NUCLEAR POWER STATION AND

ASSOCIATED INFRASTRUCTURE

 

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA) strongly opposes any construction of a nuclear power station and its associated infrastructure in the vicinity of Bantamsklip. We oppose this for the following reasons:

We believe that the protected area system of Dyer Island Nature Reserve and the Great White Shark marine sanctuary, together with the Bantamsklip site and adjacent land of Groot Hagelkraal, Soetfontein and Pearly Beach Nature Reserves are biodiversity localities and centres of endemism of global importance. They presently serve as irreplaceable natural resource areas, underpinning our local Overstrand economy.

The threat of this nuclear complex is casting a shadow over the region, preventing any further development in the conservation, tourism and leisure industries. We further believe that the Bantamsklip Environmental Impact Assessment is indeed fatally flawed and can in no way be mitigated.

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance is particularly concerned about the visual impact of human-generated structures in an area of such unique pristine natural beauty. A string of electricity pylons crossing an already built-up or environmentally-damaged area might be mitigated and condoned, but creating such high-impact human-generated structures across the Agulhas Plain – an existing area of historically unspoilt natural biodiversity – is illogical and clearly inadvisable, and in time to come will be considered a crime against the generations to follow.

Furthermore, of equally grave concern is the negative impact on tourism due to electrical pylons crossing this area of unique and high biodiversity. Human-generated structures such as pylons will certainly detract from the pleasure tourists derive from a visit to such an important botanical hotspot.

And maybe of even greater concern is the detrimental effect of electromagnetic pollution on all living organisms. Radiation from power lines impact on our immune systems making us more susceptible to diseases such as cancer, etc. In a biodiversity hotspot such as Bantamsklip, it would clearly be irresponsible to create this danger to the living organisms in this area. Many examples of research supporting this danger can be found on the internet, e.g.

The electromagnetic spectrum consists of electrical energy travelling in the form of waves of different wavelengths and is divided into two parts: the ionizing portion which is radioactive, and the non-ionizing portion which consists of the visible spectrum and the longer wavelengths. At the lowest end are the extremely low frequency waves which include power lines. Energy emitted throughout this spectrum is regulated by every civilized government in the world except for the very low frequencies and the extremely low frequencies. The World Health Organization has published a report which classified extremely low frequency fields as an environmental health problem in line with mercury and cadmium poisoning, which makes it a toxic problem, but there are presently no regulations on low level radiation produced by power lines and electrical currents (www.consumerhealth.org/articles/display.cfm?ID).

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance therefore appeals for the Bantamsklip site to be delisted on grounds of its global environmental importance and that a UNESCO World Heritage Site status be sought on the merits of its unique biodiversity and the degree of endemism found there. 

 

 

Director and Founder: SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE

Representing 150 signatories who have pledged unconditional support for the Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE (SEA)

 

box 56 agulhas 7287 south africa

 

 

 

tel +27 (0)28 435 6565 * fax +27 (0)86 674 9522 * mobile (sms/text only) +27 (0)73 026 8800

email cowperlewis@isat.co.za; www.southermost.co.za

 

 

07 June 2010

 

Tel: 021 481 2501

Fax: 021 424 5588

 

Email to Simon.VanWyk@af.aurecongroup.com

PO Box 104

Cape Town

8000

 

Dear Mr Van Wyk

 

OBJECTION AND COMMENTS ON KEY QUESTIONS AND PERCEPTIONS ABOUT THE PROPOSED LANGEZANDT QUAYS DEVELOPMENT IN STRUISBAAI, SOUTHERN OVERBERG

 

 

 

Question 1: Will the harbour be developed?

The traditional, historic and cultural atmosphere of the harbour, presently enjoyed by local and foreign tourists will be lost forever by a four-story upmarket development, which in anyone’s imagination has no relevance to the traditional fishing harbour as it exists today.

 

Question 2: Will the fishermen involvement with the harbour change?

Although the harbour belongs to the state, the state cannot control the influx of luxury yachts, jet skis, upmarket tuna fishing vessels, and private pleasure boats. Where on earth would the old chuckies fit into this millionaire environment?

 

Question 4: Will Pelicans and the Harbour Catch still exist?

“Potential assets”, “normal business agreements” and “commercial principles and practices” all smack of pricing these small financial enterprises out of the market in favour of the proposed “boutique establishments”.

 

Question 6: Will boats still be allowed to dock in the harbour?

See Question 2

 

Question 8: What are the height limitations on Erf 848 in terms of the current industrial zoning?

A four-story building right on the highwater-mark cannot be compared in structure to a 2-3 storey building set back from the coastline (e.g. Agulhas Country Lodge and The Tides). A four-story building right on the highwater-mark is undoubtedly a blot on the landscape for all residents of Struisbaai – the great majority of whom oppose this proposed development.

 

Question 9: How high will the proposed development be?

See Question 8

 

Question 10: What parking will the proposed Langezandt Quays utilise?

To expect a basement parking garage to be flood-proof when built right on the highwater-mark is laughable!

 

Question 13: What about the rising sea level due to climate change?

This development cannot be compared to the Victoria and Albert Waterfront development in Cape Town. Planning for the V & A development started well over 25 years ago, long before climate change and the resulting rise in sea levels became a daily topic of conversation and a global concern. Building a structure of this size on a property, the floor level of which is already awash with seawater is a ridiculous concept. And who will be responsible for repairing the damages? Again the ratepayers, as was the case when the sea started to reclaim the land on which the Nostra Restaurant was illegally approved and built.

 

Question 15: Where will the proposed Langezandt Quays obtain municipal services?

“Langezandt Quays will pay a pro rata amount of the development costs”. This of course means that the hard-pressed ratepayers of the Cape Agulhas Municipality will again have to fork out funds to meet the balance for an upmarket development that very few residents condone.

 

Question 20: Will the proposed Langezandt Quays contribute towards growth and development?

Yes, of course – but only to the already wealthy. Langezandt Quays will set a precedent for other greedy developers to pounce on our small towns looking to make a fast buck to the detriment of the environment and the health and welfare of local residents.

Yes, of course, but only to the lawyers, consultants and estate agents, all circling like vultures in the sky to cash in on the deal, and to forage on the remains of a traditional, cultural and historical piece of South Africa’s history.

History has proved that local previously disadvantaged people do not benefit from upmarket developments. Their life-style is changed forever, their environment destroyed and their livelihood in jeopardy.

Developers love to play off the damage done to local people and their environment by so-called “improvements to their infrastructure” – usually with little or no real benefit to the local residents. Build a school or a sports field for the underprivileged, and off the developers go to destroy the rest.

 

Question 21: What advantages does the proposed development hold for fishermen?

The Suidpunt Environmental Alliance has had a number of interviews with fishermen who have plied their trade in the Struisbaai Harbour for many decades. NONE OF THE fishermen that we interviewed were in favour of the proposed Langezandt Quays development. Furthermore, they were convinced that that the Cape Agulhas Municipality, Marine and Coastal Management, and the developers were all in cahoots together in a subtle yet cunning plan to oust the fishermen from the Struisbaai Harbour altogether.

 

Question 22: How will the proposed Langezandt Quays influence the environment?

Upmarket developments historically create more waste, use more power, more water, and generally pollute the social, natural, and cultural environment.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

MEG COWPER-LEWIS

 

Director and Founder: SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE

Representing 162 signatories who have pledged unconditional support for the Alliance

 

 

 

 

Site of proposed Struisbaai Harbour development (Langezandt Quays) under water at high spring tide

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article submitted to the editor of the Cape Times, regional Western Cape newspaper

 

L’AGULHAS TIDAL POOLS

 

THE SUIDPUNT ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE RESPONDS

 

 

When the Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA) first launched itself in 1999 the tidal pools at L’Agulhas were a mess. The previous Municipality (Bredasdorp), used to “clean” the pool twice monthly with chlorine, copper sulphate (blou vitrioel) and lime at considerable expense to the ratepayers. This chemical concoction was supposedly used to keep the pools “clean”. The result, however, was far different. The chemicals caused the natural algae to rot and float on the surface of the pool, turning the water into a toxic chemical soupl. The rotting vegetation also made the pool bottom so slippery that it was virtually impossible to stand in or walk across the pool.

 

Few if any of the Municipal officials in those days ever used the pools at L’Agulhas so they were largely unaware of what their “cleaning” was doing to the health and safety of the water.

 

Certain residents on the sea front, however, who used the larger pool on a daily basis during the summers, were astounded and appalled by the treatment of what is potentially a natural and self-cleansing tidal pool.

 

SEA then launched a campaign to create a clean pool environment where people’s health would not be put at risk and where injuries through slipping on the rotting algae would be minimised.

 

SEA conducted extensive research and received advice from many sources concerning the correct treatment of the various tidal pools around our country’s coastline. After much deliberation we submitted the following suggestions to the Municipality for the treatment of the larger tidal pool:

  • That the toxic treatment be ceased forthwith
  • That a substantial amount of clean sea sand be imported into the pool
  • That the sea wall be lowered slightly to encourage a better cleansing procedure during high tide
  • That the stopcock be opened at every spring tide (two-weekly) in order to flush out the pool

 

We even offered to operate the stopcock for the Municipality, and at the same time remove rocks, glass, plastic, cans, or any other human-generated waste that may have ended up in the pool.

 

The Municipality however, not comfortable with our suggestions, appointed a professional tidal pool consultant at considerable cost to the ratepayers. The consultant duly came from Cape Town, spent a day in L’Agulhas observing the pool, and then submitted the following directives to the Municipality for the treatment of the larger tidal pool:

  • That the toxic treatment be ceased forthwith
  • That a substantial amount of clean sea sand be imported into the pool
  • That the sea wall be lowered slightly to encourage a better cleansing procedure during high tide
  • That the stopcock be opened at every spring tide (two weekly) in order to flush out the pool

 

Now that the Municipality had been given expert advice from the professional consultant two of the four suggestions were carried out; i.e. the import of clean sea sand and the cessation of the chemical treatment.

 

The results were phenomenal and hugely successful! Not only did the imported sand create a wonderful soft, non-slip floor, but the cessation of the toxic chemicals turned the water from toxic chemical soup into a healthy, natural sea-water pool. Small children could now play in the shallow end without slipping and falling and the rest of the pool-users needed no longer fear a swim in a pool of rotting algae. In fact, SEA, through this procedure, provided a valuable service to the community at large.

 

Still now, five years later, and even though some of the sand gets removed every year by the earth-moving machines that the Municipality bring into the pool to “clean” it, the water is still fresh and healthy making it a pleasure to swim in. Furthermore, even at the height of the busiest summer season ever this year, the pool still remained swimmable throughout.

 

After having experienced the success of the sandy bottom and fresh clean water of the larger pool, we have on numerous occasions requested the Municipality to repair the cracks in the smaller pool and give it the same treatment as the larger pool. To date they have not done this and have found it easier and more convenient to simply put the blame on the Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA) – indicating to the complainants that it is we who do not want the pool “cleaned”. This is nonsense. We do want and always have wanted the small pool to have the same treatment as that which has proved so successful for the larger pool.

 

I remember, as a young child and adult, swimming for many decades in the smaller pool when no hint of toxic chemicals were ever dreamed of. The stopcock was opened on a regular basis to flush out the pool and the cracks were mended as they appeared. The water was always fresh and healthy

 

We therefore, once again, request the Municipality of Cape Agulhas to follow the instructions of the professional consultant as fully as possible for the smaller pool as they have so successfully done for the larger pool.

 

 

 

Meg Cowper-Lewis

Director and Founder

Suidpunt Environmental Alliance (SEA)

Southermost

Box 56

Cape Agulhas

7287

6 February 2008

 

 

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