- NOTE: I originally posted parts of this article on my Facebook page.
The environmentalists are notorious for using junk science to destroy not only real, genuine science but justice as well. In the Philippines, radical environmentalist groups have found an effective legal ally in the Writ of Kalikasan, a legal remedy under the rules of procedure for environmental cases.
On May 17 the Court of Appeals decided to permanently put a stop to the field testing of genetically modified (GM) eggplant despite conceding that there is no full scientific certainty yet as to the effects of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) crops on the environment and people’s health.
Since the ruling used the word “permanent”, this suggests government bodies or scientific organizations can no longer conduct field trials to determine the safety of GM eggplant.
Greenpeace Asia (Philippines) brought the petition before the Supreme Court for writ of continuing mandamus and writ of kalikasan with prayer for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) on April 26 last year.
In its petition, Greenpeace alleged Bt eggplant is harmful to humans and the environment.
I did my own research and found that “Bt is a soil bacterium that produces insecticidal toxins, and genes from Bt can be inserted into crop plants to make them capable of producing an insecticidal toxin and therefore resistant to certain pests”.
Apart from the term GMO, I believe that the single word that freaked some people out (particularly the Greenpeace zombies and the appellate court justices who agreed with them) is “bacteria” or “bacterium”. This shows that these people are totally unaware that one of the earliest genetically engineered inventions are bacteria with human genes that generate insulin that keeps thousands, or even millions, of diabetic people alive.
So, despite not being so sure of the safety of Bt eggplant, the judicial activist CA permanently banned field trials of the genetically modified crops because of some environmentalist junkies’ belief that they are a threat to the environment and to people’s right to a balance ecology.
In its 26-page decision dated May 17 but released only Friday, the court directed the respondents (the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR, Bureau of Plant Industry and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority of the DA, UP Los Banos Foundation, among others) to “protect, preserve, rehabilitate and restore the environment in accordance with the foregoing judgment of the court.”
“It is clear that there is no full scientific certainty yet as to the effects of the Bt talong field trials on the environment and the health of the people,” said the appellate court’s Special 13th Division, speaking through Associate Justice Isaias P. Dicdican.
“Consequently, the field trials of Bt talong could not be declared by this Court as safe for human health and our ecology, with full scientific certainty, being an alteration of an otherwise natural state of affairs in our ecology.”
Appellate Associate Justices Myra V. Garcia-Fernandez and Nina G. Antonio-Valenzuela concurred in the decision.
What is clear is that the court placed a permanent ban on field trials of GM crops because their safety cannot be fully guaranteed.
The question is, how can you determine the safety of a particular substance, GM crop or invention when you legally discourage or ban further scientific research and trials?
This is hilarious! I think the court’s decision is both a mockery of science and justice.
In my own humble opinion, former chief Justice Renato Puno, whose judicial activist court issued the environmentalist, anti-reason, anti-science and anti-justice writ of kalikasan, single-handedly destroyed the concept of justice in the Philippines.
Here’s what Greenpeace alleged in its petition:
Bt talong is a classic environmental case where scientific evidence as to the health and environmental safety and socio-economic impact is insufficient, inconclusive or uncertain. At the same time, preliminary scientific evaluation indicates that there are reasonable grounds for concern about their potentially dangerous effects on the environment and human health.
The problem with that statement is that its claim is not supported by scientific sources and facts. While the environmentalist organization conceded it lacks scientific knowledge as to the safety and socio-economic impact of Bt eggplant, it nevertheless sought to stop further field testing and scientific research.
The organization further states:
[D]espite serious uncertainties and concerns about Bt talong, Respondents continued with their field trial in violation of the precautionary principle of environmental laws, the people’s rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health, the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System law, the Local Government Code, Administrative Order No. 08 of the Department of Agriculture and Executive Order No. 514.
Such a statement and court’s ruling now clearly indicates that the mere conduct of field testing or scientific research could be deemed in violation of environmental laws and of the people’s rights to a so-called balanced ecology. By the way, the government has no metaphysical or magical power at all to legislate a “balanced ecology”.
Like I said, the court of appeal’s ruling is not only a blatant, knee-jerk affront to justice; it is also a highly potential threat to science and continued scientific collecting, innovation and discovery.
While I strongly agree with the environmentalist petitioners’ contention that there is a need to guarantee the safety of the GM crops in question, I strongly disagree with the fundamental aim of their petition, which is to totally ban or put a stop to field testing of GM plants and similar discoveries. I believe it’s pretty clear that their goal is not really to protect the environment and people’s health and well-being, but to destroy science and innovation.
The only way to determine the safety of GM crops is to encourage more testing and research! This is in fact the best solution. But Greenpeace and other environmentalist groups are not interested in scientific facts– they’re more interested in destroying science and discoveries that benefit human life.
Like IT giants in the Silicon Valley that take privacy extremely seriously, many GMO companies also take health and environmental safety extremely seriously as the success of their venture or discovery highly depends on consumers’ choice and how they put a high price on food safety. The good thing about our semi-free market system is that the consumers still have the freedom and power to choose.
Since environmentalists reject genetically modified foods and crops, all they need to do is privately boycott GMO companies and their products. And if it were sufficiently proven that certain GMO products caused health problems for some consumers who filed cases or class-action lawsuits with the proper courts, then the legal remedy is to impose huge damages on the guilty GMO companies and/or file criminal charges against their top executives.
However, the real scandal here is not the Greenpeace’s opposition to GM crops and similar inventions, as they’ve long been known to oppose almost all kinds of scientific discoveries and innovation that could affect the environment, but the court’s ruling itself.
But contrary to the environmentalists’ claim that the GM plant is dangerous to both the environment and human health, various research and studies found that Bt eggplant is not merely safe and non-toxic; it is also economically beneficial to both farmers and consumers.
Missouri State University published the following scientific facts about Bt eggplant:
Bt Eggplant Safety
The safety tests for the Bt Eggplant have been conducted in greenhouses and in large-scale field trials. It has been found to be nontoxic to fish, chicken, rabbits, goats, rats, cattle and it is nonallergenic (Cornell.edu).
Bt eggplant will reduce insecticide use by 30 percent and will double yield (Cornell.edu).
One trial using the Bt eggplant reduced insecticide use by 80% which would reduce overall insecticide use by 42% (Krishna et. al).
In fact, a study conducted by Cornell University researchers states that consumers may benefit from the development of Bt eggplant through lower costs, while farmers may also gain economic benefits through increased yields.
This article published on Cornell Chronicle states:
All the safety tests for the Bt eggplant have been conducted in India, starting in greenhouses and now moving to large-scale field trials. The eggplant has been found to be nontoxic to fish, chickens, rabbits, goats, rats and cattle as well as nonallergenic. Ongoing tests will examine such questions as whether the plant will continue to resist FSB in the field and for how long; whether the Bt eggplant cross pollinates with other eggplants in the field and how far the Bt plants should be from other eggplant fields; whether nontarget insect populations are affected in the long term; and how yields compare with those of other eggplant varieties.
It is estimated that the Bt eggplant will reduce insecticide use by 30 percent while doubling the yield of marketable fruit (although eggplant is eaten as a vegetable).
University of California-San Diego also published the following facts about Bt:
What are Bt proteins?
Bt stands for the naturally occurring bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Bt lives in the soil and is found all over the world. Some types of Bt produce a protein crystal that is toxic to insects. These protein crystals have been used in organic farming for over 50 years to control insects. The genes producing these proteins are now engineered so that plants can make the protein in their cells.Are Bt proteins safe in my food?
Bt has been found to be safe to all mammals, birds, and fish. Bt is very selective and is only toxic to specific insects.
Are Bt proteins safe for the environment?
Bt is safer to the environment than synthetic pesticides. Unlike synthetic pesticides, Btis selective and will only kill specific insects. This may help beneficial insects because Btdoes not target them.
Bt transgenic crops has been shown to reduce the amount of insecticides in runoffs.
Thus, this recent case simply proves that environmentalism is indeed a mental disease and that judicial activism is not only a real threat real justice, but to scientific and economic progress as well.