In this epoch of neoliberalism, there are no limits to what can be traded and turned into commodities.
Private interests will control drinking water, seed cultivation and energy – things most people regard as a necessity, not a commodity. Many of these operators have become unimaginably rich, either because they have benefited from stable societies with a well-developed infrastructure, such as roads, water, electricity and telecommunications networks paid for with tax income from each individual member of society, or because they exploit natural resources and abuse patent rights in poor countries.
All over the globe, large companies are racing to secure legal rights to natural resources, through a complicated system of patent legislation, which makes it criminal for others to, for example, collect rainwater or use their own seeds.
Nestlé owns 70% of the world’s bottled water brands, including Perrier, San Pellegrino and Vittel. They empty groundwater resources in countries with extreme poverty and vulnerable drinking water reserves, such as Nigeria and Pakistan, bottle the water in plastic bottles and sell it back to a poor population as expensive bottled water.
The Norwegian Bank Investment Management owns shares worth 30 billion in Nestlé, making it one of the largest shareholders. They also own shares in Monsanto, an agricultural biotechnology company which was bought by Germany’s Bayer in 2018. Monsanto is also known for the controversial herbicide Round-up.
In order to secure the highest possible profit, Monsanto has, through genetic manipulation, made sure to create seeds which new plant will be unable to produce new germinable seeds, which means that the farmers, instead of producing their own seeds, have to buy new ones from the seed companies every year. This leads many small farmers into a relationship of dependence on multinational companies, with debt problems and poverty as a consequence.
Patent legislation also make farmers in poor countries dependent on international companies. The UN points out that the patent regime may lead to that poor farmers in the future will not be able to freely grow the products they have always grown, because a company has taken a patent on them. Central to this issue is WTO’s TRIPS agreement, which is designed to protect copyrights. Among other things it gives companies and investors the right to patent biological material.
Foreign biotechnology companies are robbing entire cultures of their basis of life by taking patents on biological diversity and traditional knowledge. The legislation is designed in such a way that it is those who carry out the last step in product development who get the rights and profits. This is despite the fact that it may regard plants that have been cultivated over several centuries, carefully adapted to local climatic and agricultural conditions and considered part of a population group’s common property. This system favors those who know the laws and regulations and have the resources to write applications with the necessary documentation.
1 bean seed
1 Swiss chard seed
1 Indian cress seed
Bean is a plant genus in the pea family with approximately 150 species, most of which are climbing plants in tropical and subtropical regions.
Swiss chard is a vegetable in the beet family. The plant is very rich in vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium, and was already known in ancient times under the name Roman spinach.
Indian cress was imported to Europe from South America in the 17th century. The plants are not able to establish themselves in the Nordic countries because the seeds do not survive the winter cold. Here it is mostly used as a decorative plant, but the flowers and seeds are edible. Originally, the Indian cress has a long tradition in folk medicine as a medicinal plant; against, among other things, colds, urinary tract infections, rashes and muscle pain.
Find three pots, fill them with soil and place a seed in each pot. Give them water and light. After approx. 5–7 days you will see the seed start to germinate. Add water at regular intervals. Now you can enjoy the fact that the plants are growing and developing, getting flowers and new seeds. By taking seeds from your own plants, you can take part in the great seed collaboration, prevent the depletion of species diversity and increase food security.
You can also use seeds to sow discord, just be careful where and how you do it. Feel free to take a patent on sowing discord among merciless lawyers, cynical businessmen or other powerful people so that they have no choice but to be in conflict with each other.
Tips til ulike frø- og gartneraksjoner (Norwegian DYS)