St. Louis Information




Biodevastation 7: St. Louis, May 16-18th

The May 2003 Biodevastation Gathering will be the cutting edge event defining links between environmental racism and the biotechnology industry. The Gateway Green Alliance is working with the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis to make this happen. Subtitled “A Forum on Environmental Racism, World Agriculture and Biowarfare,” the event is organized around five main panels:

  • Crop Contamination and the Threat to Indigenous Agriculture will provide scientific background on horizontal gene transfer and escape of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the ecosystem. The discovery of widespread GE contamination of indigenous corn varieties in southern Mexico has drawn international attention to the severity of this problem.
  • Corporate Greed and Environmental Racism will trace environmental racism from toxins and pesticides sprayed on farmworkers through the sordid long-term record of Monsanto. It will highlight the danger of potential acute and allergenic effects of consuming GE food for people who are already at risk due to repeated exposure to toxins.
  • Biowarfare will examine US biological weapons research that is diving deep into biotech, fueled by billions of dollars and dozens of proposed new labs. Learn how people across the country are resisting the new labs and bioweapons experiments that pose health, environmental and arms control risks
  • Globalization and Food Imperialism will document efforts by multinational corporations to drive up to one billion small farmers off the land in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It will focus on efforts by the US in 2002 to use Food Aide as a weapon of narrow economic interests and to force genetically contaminated food upon southern Africa.
  • The International Threat to Farms and Farmers will delve into the plight of farmers in the US, Canada and Africa, giving attention to black farmers in the US and legal cases of corporations suing farmers when GE pollen blows into their fields. It will define how GE crops further consolidate corporate control over agriculture and threaten traditional agrarian communities.

    There will be three concurrent workshop tracks for participants to explore one of these themes in depth. The Gathering will seek to attract attendees at the May 18-20 World Agricultural Forum (WAF) to hear a different perspective. On the day the two events overlap, there will be a peaceful and publicly visible activity featuring non-GE food and a major rally at the site of the WAF in downtown St. Louis.

    Confirmed speakers for the 2003 event include some of the most accomplished scientists and organizers in the world: Vandana Shiva (Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, India), Mae-Wan Ho (Institute for Science in Society, London), Mwananyanda Mbikusita Lewanika (National Institute for Scientific & Industrial Research, Zambia), Anuradha Mittal (Institute for Food and Development Policy, California), Lawrence Tsimese (Ghana Organic Agriculture Network), Michael Dorsey (at Dartmouth, a long-time environmental justice activist from Detroit who is completing his dissertation on biopiracy in Ecuador), Edward Hammond (Sunshine Project, which researches bioweapons), Percy Schmeiser (Canadian farmer in a long-term legal battle with Monsanto), Mark Mitchell (Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice), Kristin Dawkins (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis), and Brian Tokar (Institute for Social Ecology Biotechnology Project, Vermont).