Why We’re Working With Monsanto

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TriplePundit Founder and Publisher Nick Aster contributed to this article

You heard that right. The TriplePundit team is very excited to be hosting an upcoming Twitter chat with special guests Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto, Dr. Nick Goeser, director of soil health and sustainability for the NCGA’s Soil Health Partnership, and Pradip Das, principal researcher of experimental science for the Climate Corp., to discuss the future of agriculture.

Many of you are probably wondering why we’d choose to host this chat — especially enthusiastically. Here’s why: We believe everyone deserves a seat at the table when it comes to managing climate change. Actually, we NEED everyone at the table if we’re going to solve global challenges and nourish 9 billion people in a warming world. And we don’t believe in bogeymen.

The arguments against monocrops like corn and soy and against excessive pesticide use are very sound from a systems-thinking point of view. These crops can be problematic both nutritionally and environmentally. Further, the changes our global agricultural systems have seen in the last century have come so quickly that it’s scary to sit on the sidelines and watch. Monsanto also rightly has its critics when it comes to its aggressive approach to intellectual property (IP) protection and taking farmers to court.

But the knee-jerk reaction to Monsanto as the root of all evil is not sound thinking. Monsanto is the environmental community’s favorite bad guy, and referencing the ag giant is all-too-often a way to distract or deter an argument. The recent health crisis over the Zika virus and the speed with which a rumor that Monsanto was somehow involved is the perfect example of how Monsanto-as-strawman hurts the cause of sustainability. Simply put: Blaming Monsanto for the world’s ills is a lazy way to win an argument.  The fact is that advanced technology, including genetic modification, may be helpful in both feeding a growing world and adapting to the effects of climate change. There are arguments to be had for and against this sentiment.

We need critical thinking to solve the worlds biggest problems, and we need everyone at the table. That includes the world’s biggest agriculture giants. And you!

We invite you to join the conversation on Tuesday March 8 at 9 a.m. PST/12 p.m. EST at #Ag4thefuture. Please bring your most respectful and intelligent tweets, and you’ll get a chance to engage with the CEO of Monsanto — quite an opportunity if you think about it!

For more information, read on here.

Already active on Twitter? Tweet to spread the word about the #Ag4thefuture Twitter chat:

Join @MonsantoCo, @SoilPartners, @ClimateCorp, and @TriplePundit on 3/8/16 for a Twitter Chat on #Ag4thefuture! http://bit.ly/Ag4thefuture

Tweet us at @triplepundit, @nickaster and @jenboynton to let us know what you think, or leave responses below!

Image credit Pixabay

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton has been the editor in chief of TriplePundit, for 8 years! With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and a degree in Sociology from Pitzer College. She spent a few years in the non-profit policy sector as well, but we won't talk about that. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with her toddler overload and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.

One response

  1. Well… the fact that you had to justify working with them says a lot! But a few questions I would have for them:
    1. When and why did they start believing in climate change science?
    2. What was the key driver – the science or the business opportunity/justification? (And yes, it matters)
    3. I fully agree that everyone should be at the table. Taking their history into account – denying climate, PCB’s and then covering it up, Agent Orange, over 40 Superfund sites, lost court cases against former employees and communities, fighting labeling on every issue they can (rBGH, GMO etc), glyphosate-resistant wheat somehow making it into the food chain before approval, RoundUp and cancer (taking CA to court and slamming the WHO) and so many other cases – a simple question: why should we trust them now?

    This last one is really, really important. Certain GMOs can play a big role in helping us deal with some of the climate change impacts such as water. But we need to know we can trust them and they do not have a good track record for us to trust them. From transparency (labeling GMOs, CA on RoundUp, fighting Hawaii, Vermont etc laws) to seeking protection (Farmers Assurance Provider) to funding of dubious organizations (e.g. ALEC, Center for Global Food Issues) to bribery (e.g. Indonesia) to links to climate deniers (or at least underminers) like the US Chamber. Trust is key. So how do they plan to earn our trust outside of simply saying “trust us”?

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