This past Saturday, demonstrators took to the streets of Switzerland’s third-largest city to protest against one of the world’s most notorious chemical and GMO giants: Bayer, which also became the parent company of Monsanto in 2018.
While the German agrochemical giant hasn’t faced nearly the same type of backlash as Monsanto itself, which was the subject of several March Against Monsanto events that drew hundreds of thousands of marchers across the world, it’s clear that a new movement is slowly forming.
A recent $2 billion decision in favor of a cancer-stricken California couple has Bayer reeling, and now, public opinion may be shifting more than ever before.
Thousands March Against Bee-Killing Companies Bayer, Syngenta
Over 2,000 people marched against Bayer and its Swiss counterpart Syngenta in Basel, Switzerland for the fifth year in a row, sending a message that the “transition to sustainable agricultural is more urgent than ever,” and article from GMWatch.org said.
Syngenta, which has been implicated in a “bee-killing cover-up” by Greenpeace in recent years, is headquartered in Basel.
The demonstration weaved its way through the town to the Swiss chemical giant’s headquarters, where children dressed as bees, musicians and street artists all convened.
Formerly known as the March against Monsanto and Syngenta, the event changed its name to the March Against Bayer and Syngenta, the GMWatch article said.
The article noted that the amount of flying insects worldwide has decreased by more 75% over the past 27 years according to a shocking German study, and industrial agriculture and its flagship chemicals are a big reason why, critics say.
Syngenta profits handsomely off of these insect-killing chemicals, despite getting little to no public attention unlike Bayer and Monsanto, the subjects of most worldwide protests.
“In 2017, no corporation has made more money with highly dangerous pesticides than the Basel-based multinational Syngenta – approximately 3.9 billion dollars,” said Jonas Schälle, spokesperson for the social justice association Public Eye to GMWatch.
A press release issued by the March Against Bayer and Syngenta said the following: “The modern industrial agricultural system devours massive amounts of fossil energy, overuses and poisons groundwater reserves, erodes soil and destroys biodiversity. Its pesticides kill 200,000 people a year, according to UN-funded expert reports. This poisoning and exploitation mainly takes place in the global south – the profits flow to the north, to Basel. Here, at Syngenta’s headquarters, responsibility must be taken.”
Over 50 organizations demand transition to sustainable agriculture
According to The March Against Bayer and Syngenta, over 50 organizations from Switzerland and southern Germany supported the march, including trade unions, Green advocates, agricultural and developmental organizations and others.
While the event is a far cry from the massive worldwide March Against Monsanto protests, it is a positive first step at a time where biodiversity and the environment in general are under threat from all angles.
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