COMMENTARY

Green around the gills over the Green Revolution
The December Letter from NY column sparks a reader to remind us all about the impacts of Big Chem in the developing world.

Posted January 7, 2005

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NF

Dear New Farm,

I read with interest Mary-Howell Martens’ excellent piece on the relationship between the soil/food and human health (Confessions of a foodie). She touched on the negative impact of the so-called Green Revolution on health in the developing world. In this context, I think we would be well served to remember the tragedy that visited India 20 years ago last month. As reported on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "The Nature of Things,” the release of toxic gas from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India has to date been responsible for at least 15,000 deaths and illness of 500,000. The company and the Indian government have done the bare minimum to address this horrible injustice. Dow Chemical, now owners of the former Union Carbide, apparently had sales of $40 billion last year. (I shudder to think about how much toxic material that represents.) Couldn't they just ‘do the right thing’ by the people of Bhopal? It is hardly surprising that so much of the developing world resents us, when we effectively turn a blind eye to this sort of corporate terrorism.

Regards,
Ian Campbell