Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Is Monsanto Using 4-H to Brainwash Your Children About GMOs?

4-H Stamp
4-H Stamp (Photo credit: Hacktweeters)

By Dr. Mercola
Monsanto is boasting its partnership with 4-H programs by giving a shout-out to “National 4-H Week.”1
This is not the first time Monsanto has used its clever propaganda to influence our nation’s youth. The Council for Biotechnology Information widely circulated aBiotechnology Basics Activity Book for kids, a disturbing and brightly colored obvious intent to 'educate' the children.

4-H is the country’s largest youth organization with more than 6 million members in 80 countries around the world, involving children from elementary school age through high school.
The organization is extremely influential to children, impacting their intellectual and emotional development through their numerous programs and clubs. Unfortunately, Monsanto is using its partnership with 4-H as a vehicle to worm its way into your child’s mind in order to influence her developing beliefs and values.
Children are like little sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear, which makes them particularly vulnerable to being sucked in by propaganda.
And the effects could be life-long—at least they’re intended to be. Indeed you’d be hard-pressed to convince an adult, who from childhood was taught the merits of genetically engineered foods, that there’s anything wrong with such alterations of the food supply.  
If your child is involved in 4-H, it would be wise to monitor the messages she’s getting, given this organization’s  corporate sponsors and alliances.
4-H is really the perfect vehicle for Big Ag to manipulate an entire generation, using tactics not that different from the youth indoctrination strategies employed by political extremists in order to gain children’s trust and then “groom” them however they wish.
Think about it—what better way to control the future of our food system than to brainwash 6.8 million impressionable youth into believing that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are safe and beneficial, if not the answer to all the problems of the world?2

4-H Volunteers are Being Trained by Monsanto

The 4-H Youth Development Organization was originally set up by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to train the rural youth of America in hands-on skills like agriculture and raising animals, including the promotion of responsible animal husbandry and the cultivation of food resources in a responsible, ethical way.
The 4-H emblem, a four-leaf clover, is supposed to symbolize four actions (head, hands, heart, and health) as stated in their pledge:
“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, myhands to larger service and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
However, as noble as their original vision is, it remains vulnerable to the influences of its funders. Just as the USDA and other government agencies have a carefully crafted and well established revolving door arrangement with industry, 4-H is increasingly in the grips of the corporations that fund it—specifically, the agricultural, biotech, and junk food industries.
According to its 2012 Annual Report,3 4-H’s funding comes from a long list of donors that include Monsanto, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cargill, DuPont, United Soybean BoardCoca-Cola, and Pfizer. It doesn’t take much imagination to predict what sort of agenda 4-H would need to promote to keep its donors happy.
Pro-GMO propaganda would be easy to weave into 4-H’s program since they already occupy the role of teaching children the art of farming, and in their position of authority, children would never question it. Monsanto is now also training tens of thousands of 4-H volunteers, according to an article in 4-Traders:
“In 2007, Monsanto expanded its 4-H volunteerism support by funding state and regional development. More than 52,600 volunteers have attended Monsanto-supported forums and training events in 50 states, three US territories and four Extension regional forums.”

Monsanto Hijacks Government, Education and Science

Corporations like Monsanto are employing increasingly underhanded strategies to spread their self-serving propaganda across broader segments of society. Here are three prime examples:
  • Hijacking Government Regulators: Conflicts of interest are rampant in government agencies, which have a revolving door with US federal regulatory agencies like the USDA, FDA, and EPA.
  • Hijacking Higher Education: An ever-increasing percentage of funding for research at land grant universities now comes from private corporations, giving big companies a stronger foothold than ever in higher education. Corporations wield power over educational institutions by giving college leaders positions on their corporate boards, and by hiring scientists as paid consultants. As a result, academic freedom has gone out the window, conflicts of interest are rampant, and bias eclipses objectivity.
  • Hijacking the Media: Organizations such as Science Media Centre and American Council on Science and Health feature scientific “experts” that are anything but independent, and have undisclosed and far-reaching affiliations with the biotech industry.
Of course, if you are a large corporation trying to control the food supply, the younger you Consider the “Biotechnology Basics Activity Book” for kids, circulated by CBI (Council for Biotechnology Information).4 Its colorful pages and friendly cartoon characters spew outright lies about the “benefits” of genetic engineering for health, environment, world hunger and the future of farming. Monsanto is one of eight biotech companies behind the release of this 16-page children’s activity book, demonstrating just how low it will stoop. CBI claims to promote science-based information but is really just a shill for the biotech industry, for the purpose of advancing the pro-GMO agenda.  Brainwashing children is a new low, even for Monsanto. They’re not satisfied with just poisoning our children’s bodies—now they’re trying to poison their minds as well. And history is quite clear about how easy it is to poison the minds of the young.

Hijacking the Minds of Our Youth

It is difficult to ignore the parallels when looking at how 4-H, the largest American youth organization, is being hijacked by big biotech corporations to fulfill an agenda—the worldwide takeover by GMOs. But when you consider that Monsanto has no problem with poisoning our childrendestroying farmerspolluting oceans, and ruining the earth’s topsoil, it seems there is no limit to their avarice.
If the Nazi analogy seems far-fetched, consider that the German people would have felt the same way before they realized what was happening to them. These manipulations can be masterful and insidious. The best way to protect your child from corporate brainwashing is with YOUR watchful eye.
If corporations like Monsanto are successful in hijacking the minds of our youth, they will essentially be in control the decisions and behavior of the next generation—and there is nothing to stop them until a great deal of damage is done to you, your children and grandchildren, and our planet. This is why it is so critical for you to be involved in your children’s activities and take an active role in their education. Do not fall into the trap of assuming that, just because they are involved with a “reputable” organization like 4-H, that they are getting unbiased and truthful information.

Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day

The food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State - to prevent you from knowing what’s in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.
I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and to share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beets, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.
If you buy processed food, opt for products bearing the USDA 100% Organic label, as certified organics do not permit GMO’s. You can also print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. Alternatively, download their free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications. For more in-depth information, I highly recommend reading the following two books, authored by Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:
Please, do your homework. Together, we have the power to stop the biotech industry from destroying our food supply, the future of our children, and the earth as a whole. All we need is about five percent of American shoppers to simply stop buying genetically engineered foods, and the food industry would have to reconsider their source of ingredients—regardless of whether the products bear an actual GMO label or not.
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