Seed Saving: If not us, who?

Matilde Magro
Nov 9 · 8 min read

What does the 2008 crisis, illegal drug cartels, your mental health and seed saving have in common? A lot more than you’d think.

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Back in 2018, Bayer and Monsanto joined forces in a megalomaniac business to control the world’s agrobusiness. WHO has been warning for the ill effects of this for quite sometime, and some countries, like France, actually push against the agenda — even Merkel got angry at her own agriculture minister for allowing such a thing. If those in power are against this sort of union, they might be on to something that is just flying over someone’s head.

And I’m going to dive a bit deeper on this subject.

Bayer is a major pharmaceutical company. Actually, one of the major manufacturers of active substances for the world’s most important medications. Most of those, without their existence, we probably wouldn’t have the patent of or the ability to take certain common medications that are now of common usage.

We’re diving into how deep this goes, so you probably want to strap your seatbelt for a moment.

So, I got a hold of this information not only because it’s public, but because I had to actually go through something bad which required me to take medication for quite some time, to investigate each company, to the actual process of making medication. For different reasons than most readers too, I had a huge issue with trauma and addiction that fortunately is now solved. Mostly because we get a majorly US audience, but my medication in Portugal is actually comparticipated by the state, meaning for most of it I pay about 10% of it’s actual “street value”, … meaning, my investment in this is purely out of social interest, not so much financial survival or health.

Back in 2014/ 2015 I was part of the STOP Monsanto movement, it was small scale in comparison to other movements I was involved with but we made quite the social statement at the time. I remember keeping it a secret in social gatherings because I really did not want to dive into the conversation of who is actually trying to kill us all, or just profit out of our sickness. But I had some enlightening conversations, primarily with doctors of medicine, about not only the scientific process concerning medications, but also the usage of medications and how they are processed from their conception to their actual market.

“Pill pushers”, it’s a name you’ve heard quite a bit when it comes to doctors. And it’s actually (for me it was, anyway) quite the surprise to realize they actually think the same of themselves, at least those with good heart and a conscience. It’s not that we don’t need pills, but a lot of issues would be solved with different habits and diets, exercise and healthy lifestyles. Which doesn’t mean we don’t need doctors, we do (*see current pandemic).

So the process of making an antidepressant or antipsychotic, for example, goes something like this: The pharmaceutical company involved starts “sketching” a new med, its active ingredients and percentages and so on, tries it out on lab rats and according to these tests they get (or not) approval to test it out on humans, in three stages. First stage, just to make sure no one dies from it, second stage somewhat about efficacy, third stage actual efficacy for the problem it solves concerning if it’s worth investing. Not going down the rabbit whole of whether “mental illness actually a chemical imbalance” or not, but just brushing it here… whether medication is useful is completely morronic to ask — it is useful for millions of people, just *let it go*. And if it’s useful it’s not the point, the point is whether it is needed. And a lot of people need it. So after the third stage, the study goes into peer review and is actually reassessed whether it makes or breaks the icing of the fantastic cake that is health. For instances, from 2014 to 2018 there was a medication for psychosis in testing that was supposed to be utterly revolutionary, hardly any side effects, great for people who were going into full recovery and quite awesome to drop out of, but since it had only about 30% of success in their third stage testing, it didn’t come out. I think it wasn’t actually profitable to work… but hey, … Actually the lives of thousands or millions of people who could actually benefit from it became a lot poorer without that option… but this needs its on article someday, lets move on.

So, what do people who do this above (save lives and profiting ridiculously out of it) have in common with seed saving? Most of us know the basics of why and how, but I’m aiming for what is not well known about this story.

Our generations, from the 80’s to the early 00’s, is probably the most drugged up generation we ever had. Whether from illegal substances to legal substances to actual legal and illegal prescription medication, we are living an all time high of people who are completely drugged up. Mental health statistics go as follows: diagnosed, there are at least 10% of the entire world’s population. We don’t know the non-diagnosed. 1 person dies at every 4 seconds of suicide. So the statistics are quite dangerous to perceive, how does one go from 10% to 1 in every 4 seconds? Mostly: legal or illegal drugs or prescription drugs abuse.

The major issue all over the world concerning mental health is illegal drugs, their market, their profit margins, the way the system depends on it, and how to push it to kids early and hard enough for it to cause the real damage it needs. Substance abuse accounts for more than 70% of diagnoses concerning mental health, and worse yet… over 80% of diagnosed first-episode psychosis or schizophrenias are connected to cannabis use. You can say “fake news” all you want, but I bet you haven’t seen the inside of a psych ward.

When we’re young and dumb we very well know the dangers of it all — we heard it a million times, were warned against another million but we wanted to be cool and all. I remember one of my first reality checks. I was in a night out in the center of Lisbon and there was this photography exhibit on the street about the making and selling of cocaine. I was so horrified I could never touch cocaine again in my life, I simply swore off it. If I had had the same shock concerning all the other drugs and if I had the reality check I did later on when it comes to alcohol addiction, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble. Live and learn.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it was actually illegal drug money who saved the 2008 crisis. Here’s a Guardian article on that. And what’s “interesting” about it is the statistics from there on out on mental health. Here’s something about it:

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Graphic from Our World in Data, Mental Health and Susbtance Abuse worldwide in 2007
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Graphic from Our World in Data, Mental Health and Susbtance Abuse worldwide in 2017

So, if you missed my point in the graphics: up until 2007, the Western population had a lot more diagnosis of mental health disorders paired with substance abuse disorders, and from 2008 to 2017 that number drops almost 5% and maintains itself stable. Why?

Well, one can argue there’s a lot more accuracy in diagnosing or less diagnosis, but that is just not true (we’ll see that below). Can we say in unisson “meds”?

Basically, in my volunteering experience with in mental health and particularly schizophrenias, most are recovered after 5 years with no second episode of psychosis, and that is substianciated by evidence when you search in PubMed for recovery statistics and correlate that with misdiagnosis statistics — do some of the leg work, ok? In the US alone, there’s about 40% of misdiagnosis directly related to schizophrenia.

So… why am I even mentioning this? Because, here:

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1990’s view of the world with substance abuse
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2017’s view of the world with substance abuse

Can you see the increase all over?

Actually, in the past 5 years there has actually been a decline in early drinking and drug consumption, but not enough to render this statistic irrelevant so far.

So, can you make the correlation between the situations where people actually get mental health support to render a diagnosis that can be included in a statistic and the overall overconsumption of illegal drugs and alcohol worldwide? Wasn’t the 80’s considered the big winner when it comes to the social degenerates? Actually, no.

What does this have to do with seed saving anyway?

So… Bayer profits:

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almost 1/4 in growth in 10 years.

And also this:

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And just because we’re at it: this.

So… seed saving.

Bayer is actually one of the companies which most profits not only out of our lack of mental health, illegal drug consumption and bad eating habits, but also out of the poverty of dependent countries. When I mean dependent I don’t mean underdeveloped, actually I’ll write something on the social concept of development one of these days. But depedent means that by now, it has been so far wide manipulated both socially and politically, given the past 2000 years of colonialism, that it they have become utterly dependent on companies like Bayer or Monsanto. More and more so, local and international social entrepreneurship and philantropic ventures are trying to give people their dignity back, and mostly around Africa it has been widely accepted as a good thing. The African continent has been witnessing itself a growth in conditions of living that is quite astonishing, but not without pushback from the West, mostly from local communities banding together and improving their quality of life.

The West is becoming sort of like this giant ball of messy politics and drugged people. Not because it sucks in general, but because it keeps putting profit above life, when it comes to influencing other countries, “there’s no colonialism like it”.

Even the legalization of marijuana in a lot of places also concerns this when it comes to who actually profits from it.

So, when it comes to seeds, those profiting from our ingenuity are those also profiting from our fighting against them. Is itsn’t really anti-establishment to do drugs anymore, so the real question is… is Punk dead? I kid, but I not.

The anti-establishment movement has been widely criticized for being made of people who do not like work. I think it’s been widely misunderstood as a generation of people who are simply fed up with the game of hide and seek and being manipulated into self-destruction.

So, what are actual solutions?

Healthy lifestyles, seed saving, social ventures and taking care of our mental healths… above all do this as something to save the world for a change. The next generation depends on our sanity.

Cheers.

Permaculture design, organic gardening advice, wellness…

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Matilde Magro

Written by

PermacultureWomen
Matilde Magro

Written by

Ecologist, activist, entrepreneur, artist, teacher.

PermacultureWomen

Design strategies, case studies, how-to, and commentary from women who love the Earth, Brought to you by Heather Jo Flores and www.PermacultureWomen.com

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