“We need to start focusing on food production. It takes 15 years to bring a genetically engineered product to market. The clock is ticking. We need to get moving.” ~ Dr Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, World Wildlife Fund, 2010.
A 2011 film by Wilfried Huismann, The Silence of the Pandas, targets the World Wildlife Fund, the largest, most trusted, and best-funded environmental “protection” organization in the world. Its reputation does not live up to its actions, however, which green wash industries that are destroying the environment as well as indigenous cultures.
Covering WWF’s genesis on Sept. 11, 1961 (a rather treacherous birth date), the film follows the money showing how donations from government heads and the oil industry enabled its birth. The film then reveals that WWF has since joined forces with GM agribusiness to reapportion the planet for energy production and genetically modified food.
Originally aired in June on German TV under the name, Der Pakt mit dem Panda (The Pact with the Panda), the film prompted a frank denial from WWF, which admits it works with industry because:
“The world’s environmental and conservation challenges are not going be solved without the help and support of big business.”
WWF is “proud of our approach because it gets results.” Yes, we all know that the environment has improved drastically since 1961. That must be why Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard entomologist, Edward O. Wilson, upped his 1972 species extinction rate from 75 to 200 species a day in 2002.
Even the United Nations recognizes the Holocene Extinction that has only worsened over the past 50 years during WWF’s existence. This recently led the secretary-general of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to declare the environment “a total disaster.”
Perhaps WWF’s “proud results” refer to the donations it receives. Its 2010 financial statement reports nearly $500 million in revenues for the past two years. Big business has tremendously profited from resource extraction over the past 50 years, as well. WWF denies, however, that donations from companies like Monsanto affect its policy in any way.
Others dispute this. “WWF has integrated itself in the main lobby groups of the World Trade Organisation to promote the privatization of the world’s remaining forests and to encourage the role of meaningless environmental certification,” wrote Argentine biologist Javiera Rulli in 2010.
Indeed, the 60-year-old journalist, author, filmmaker and three-time winner of the Adolf Grimme Award (German TV’s top prize), Wilfried Huismann is accustomed to research. He’s worked for German television for the past 24 years and has produced over a dozen documentaries. Dear Fidel – a close look at the CIA and the Cold War through the eyes of one of Castro’s lovers – is another of his productions that has been translated into several languages.
The Silence of the Pandas visits different parts of the globe where WWF cooperates with agribiz, including Argentina. The film characterizes WWF and Monsanto as “the secret rulers in Argentina,” destroying traditional agriculture and tribes – the only humans who know how to live outside industrial civilization.
The film exposes how global oil players such as BP and Shell, along with the auto industry, also benefit from GM biodiesel to the detriment of the environment and tribes.
Genetically modified soy requires the use of Monsanto’s Roundup, an herbicide that damages human DNA, causing birth defects, abortions and cancer. Even crop dusters are adversely affected by fumes from their toxic spraying, the film shows.
The United Soy Republic of South America, an advertising slogan, lives up to its name by using GM crops to contaminate those in Brazil and Paraguay which had previously banned them. In 2003, the head of WWF Argentina, Dr Hector Laurence, also served as president of the Agricultural Assn, AIMA; director of GMO company, Morgan Seeds; and as a representative of GM seed company, Pioneer.
The “soy desert of Argentina” is already the size of Germany, says Huismann, and the plan is to double it. WWF greenlights this process by declaring the Gran Chaco region “degraded by human exploitation.” They mean by indigenous people, ignoring that huge sections of Chaco have been deforested for soy plantations, which have altered the climate, leading to drought.
Industrial civilization is trying to solve its energy problems with biofuels, at the expense of food production. Argentines see this as Northern Hemisphere theft from the Southern Hemisphere.
At the 2010 Round Table for Responsible Soy, which WWF founded in 2004, it sided with Monsanto’s theft of public lands by deeming GM soy production, enabled by toxic agrochemicals, “sustainable.” Over 230 groups immediately condemned the finding.
WWF justifies this by explaining that the RTRS operates independent of WWF, yet fails to explain its vote.
WWF also refused to publicize its position on genetically modified crops to Huismann. Through a little digging, he discovered that WWF vice president, Dr Jason Clay, who managed the WWF deal with Monsanto, is listed on the Global Harvest Initiative. Members of this corporate-agribiz lobby group include Monsanto, Cargill, ADM, and the World Wildlife Fund.
At a 2010 speech reproduced in the film, Dr Clay said, “We need to freeze the footprint of agriculture.” Of the eight ways he envisions doing that, “One is genetics. We have got to produce more with less.” He urged the group to focus on all crops, not just temperate ones.
“We need to start focusing on the food production…. It takes 15 years … to bring a genetically engineered product to market. The clock is ticking. We need to get moving,” he said.
Despite this, WWF denies giving its blessing “to genetically modified soy or any other Genetically Modified Organism.” One then has to wonder why its senior VP would urge the opposite.
Meanwhile, working with WWF, the government of Indonesia has apportioned nine million hectares of forest for palm oil production in Papua, the film notes. WWF denies any collusion here, as well, but its own report exposes that lie.
GM palm monocultures, along with other development projects that benefit industrial civilization at the expense of indigenous people and the environment, have inspired a secession movement in Papua. Resource-rich Papua wants independence from Indonesia to protect its subsistent, yet sustainable way of living.
State-sanctioned torture, along with military enforcement of land theft and eco-destruction, has President Obama’s seal of approval. Despite known human rights abuses, in 2010, the US began openly providing the Indonesia government with military support to quash tribal resistance.
Ah, life under Empire. Independent films like Silence of the Pandas help dispel the façade.
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