Taking a Consistent Approach

The European Union’s Agriculture Commission has decided to extend the authorization of the broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup in EU agriculture for another ten years. Below is an interview with Ueli Hurter, Co-Leader of the Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum.

What does the extension of Roundup mean for European agriculture?

Many farmers will say to themselves, “If it is approved, it won’t be that bad.” They will continue to reach for the bottle, even though it carries the usual warnings for chemical products and, in many cases, probably, a skull and crossbones. Glyphosate is bad for soil life, water, and all living things, including human beings.

In the United States, Argentina, and Brazil, Roundup is sprayed extensively on growing crops such as corn and soybeans, which have been made immune to the herbicide Total through the genetic modification of their genome. It is hard to shake the suspicion that something like this could be introduced in Europe through the back door.

How is it that a broad-spectrum herbicide is being used in the name of regenerative agriculture?

The term “regenerative agriculture” is an umbrella term that is neither agronomically nor legally defined. So, anyone can use it as they please, which is what the company Bayer is doing. They became the owner of the herbicide Total through the 66 billion [US dollars] acquisition of Monsanto. Regenerative agriculture is called “conservation agriculture,” and it is argued that, with the use of the herbicide Total, farmland is “clean” and no longer needs to be plowed, which leads to a positive ecological balance overall. To put it critically, a “little” poison for business and a lot of nature to boost the image. It doesn’t seem like a consistent approach to me. We need to rethink, move away from hosing down and destroying, and move towards promoting diverse networks of relationships between all living beings.

How can consumers respond to the new authorization?

Buy organic! Organic is agriculture without chemicals. The best organic label is Demeter, which stands for biodynamic agriculture and responsible processing. For a hundred years, biodynamic agriculture has taught us how to produce the best food without artificial fertilizers and chemicals. And engage with civil society and, as a voter, against chemicals in agriculture.

More at Shock news for all environmentally concerned people

Translation Joshua Kelberman
Photo Sofia Lismont

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