Is Bill Gates a hero humanitarian, or simply another in a long line of extravagantly rich business tycoons with only his own best interests at heart?
That depends on who you ask, but the Microsoft co-founder is a polarizing figure to say the very least.
One of his most controversial public stances is his seemingly never-ending support for Monsanto and other genetically engineered food companies, in whom Gates has been heavily invested despite recent reports of their continued “broken promises,” as noted in a blockbuster fall 2016 analysis in The New York Times.
Despite these and other contradictory reports, both Monsanto and Gates continue to insist that GMO “technology” is needed to “feed the world,” especially places like Africa where Gates is heavily involved.
And now, Gates is putting his money where his mouth is yet again, donating millions to a new campaign that will likely be used promote GMOs (and accompanying synthetic chemicals) on a massive scale that hasn’t been seen in years.
Gates Donates Millions to “10M by 2020” Campaign
According to this report from Cornell University’s website, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced an additional $6.4 million grant to the university’s “Alliance for Science” program, which was created in 2014 in hopes of “depolarizing” the GMO debate.
The university’s program appears to espouse only pro-GMO rhetoric according to one former student Robert Schooler, who created a series of lectures and a website to counter the alliance’s narrative that GMOs and chemicals are the answer to hunger and food insecurity in Africa and around the world.
A 2013 UN report clearly refutes the Gates-funded program, stating that small-scale natural farming is the answer (not GMOs), as did another major UN report in 2017 debunking the “myth” that chemical agriculture is the answer to world hunger.
Despite that, the Gates-funded project has continued unabated, and now it’s ready to launch its next phase in promoting the type of “agricultural technology” many food consumers are rejecting in droves.
Campaign Aims to Promote GMO Technology Around the World
As for the “$10M by 2020” campaign itself, its goal sounds like something out of Monsanto’s dream playbook, as noted by the Gates Funded “Alliance for Science.”
“Funds raised during the camapign will support the Alliance’s global efforts to ensure broad access to agricultural innovation, especially among small-holder farmers in developing nations,” the aforementioned Cornell website post states.
Calling the situation “increasingly urgent,” the Alliance trains grassroots organizers and employees 400 “science advocates” in 35 nations who are tasked to “communicate about science” and “champion evidence-based agricultural policies” to local decision makers and farmers.
The Alliance is active in “more than half of the world’s countries” and every U.S. state.
While the press release doesn’t explicitly mention GMOs and their associated suite of chemicals including the highly controversial glyphosate (part of Monsanto’s Roundup), it is widely known that this is the focus of the program, as noted by Schooler and others who have seen it in action.
Former Cornell Student Recounts His Experience in Gates’ Pro-GMO Class
Schooler, who wrote a scathing letter about Cornell University’s blind dedication to the pro-Monsanto GMO paradigm funded by the Gates Foundation in 2016, had a mouthful to say about life in one of the “Alliance for Science” classes he attended during his time there.
His words paint a picture of pro-GMO bias and industry-funded propaganda, rather than a balanced, healthy debate worthy of one the country’s top academic institutions.
“I was expecting members of an intellectual community coming together, with proponents and critics of GMO food each giving the best verified evidence they had to support their cause,”he said.
“The GMO Debate course, which ran in the fall of 2015, was a blatant display of unscientific propaganda in an academic setting. There were a total of 4 active professors in the course, and several guest speakers.
“They took turns each session defending industrial agriculture and biotechnology with exactly zero critical examination of GMOs. In spite of the course’s name, there was a complete lack of actual ‘debate.’”
To make the pro-Monsanto bias experienced by Schooler even more clear, it was later revealed in leaked emails that all four of the professors in the class, several guest speakers, the head of Cornell’s “Alliance for Science,” and the Dean of the College of Arts and Life Sciences were all copied in on emails with Monsanto.
“This was part of a much larger circle of academics promoting GMO crops on behalf of the biotech industry,” Schooler writes in his letter, which can be read in full here.
Among the talking points passed along in this “GMO Debate course” according to Schooler were the following: GMOs are needed to feed the world, there is no instance of agricultural harm from GMOs, glyphosate is safer than coffee and table salt, and that “if you believe in science, you must believe in GMO technology.”
Will Bill Gates’ “Alliance for Science” Succeed?
Considering the clear bias being shown in the program, ranging from its history of using professors with Monsanto ties, to one-sided debates, it’s only a matter of time before more students and faculty like Schooler wake up and realize the program’s true intentions.
Whether or not farmers and other key decision makers overseas will choose the Gates and Monsanto plan, or rely on more ecologically sound natural methods remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: Gates and his foundation are in this for the long haul, and they have plenty of millions to burn in their quest to paint the third world landscape with Monsanto’s lab-created GMO crops and chemicals.
Thumbnail photo via AP-PTI