Over the past few years,
there has been growing worldwide concern on the adverse
effects of many synthetic chemicals on the endocrine system
of both animalas and humans. Evidence is accumulating
that certain chemicals, appropriately called “endocrine
disruptors,” interfere with the delicate functions
of internal biological messengers called hormones that
are essential to the growth, development, and survival
of higher life forms, especially humans.
Lowered sperm count and reduced fertility,
genital deformities and other congenital abnormalities,
immune system dysfunction, altered foetal development,
abnormal physical, mental, and psychological development
in infants and children, degenerative disorders, cancer
and other health problems are increasingly being associated
with exposure to a growing list of chemicals, most of
which enter the body through the ingestion of food.
Many poisons, particularly pesticides, are
used in the production, processing and storage of food.
Thus, the safety of food, the basic requirement for the
sustenance of life and for the long-term viability of
future generations, is seriously being threatened. Indeed,
the future is being “stolen.”
But the problem is much more than the poisonous
chemicals. We have to recognize that there are the poison-pushers,
the transnational agro-chemical companies (TNCs) that
aggressively promote and monopolize the basic elements
of the food system such as seeds and agro-chemicals inputs.
Then there are the corrupt governments,
especially those in the most powerful developed countries,
who protect and advance corporate interests using coercive
powers of authority to contravene their own people’s
mandate to protect people’s interests. Together,
these “twin powers” force their way into disadvantaged
communities through various agencies like the IMF, World
Bank, and the WTO. They impose a “globalized”
economy characterized by monopoly control, monocropping
and the supremacy of trade and profit concerns—thereby
destroying indigenous culture and food systems, creating
absolute dependency and powerlessness.
With their combined power and enormous resources,
these “twin powers” dictate the market-oriented
production system; establish the manner of distribution
favoring the rich, construct the knowledge (including
science) and information systems that mould consumer beliefs
and preferences; and enforce a system of governance that
guarantees the attainment of corporate objectives.
It is therefore necessary, to always ensure
that the campaign for a poison-free environment is integrated
with the people’s struggle for land, food security
and other fundamental social, political and economic rights.
Campaign strategies must truly be community-based, and
must ultimately lead to people’s empowerment.
Freedom from poison cannot be achieved
without social emancipation. It is likewise necessary
for all concerned sectors to reach out in solidarity to
grassroots activists, especially in the farming communities
where food is primarily produced. NGO activists must have
profound understanding of concrete realities at the grassroots
level and have complete trust in people’s ability
to liberate themselves. Only a people’s movement
effectively striking at the core of the structural causes
of the health and environmental assault by endocrine disruptors
can bring “our stolen future” back.