Open Letter to Harvey Mudd College and Keck Science Department Regarding Monsanto

Dear Harvey Mudd College and the Keck Science Department,

I am writing to plead that you reconsider your department's invitation to Monsanto representative Dr. Lawrence, scheduled for Wednesday and Friday of this week. A discussion about innovations in sustainable agriculture must include a more balanced blend of perspectives, especially ones that are academic and aren't associated with private interests from monopolistic corporations. Because of the controversial nature of this topic, I urge you to postpone Dr. Lawrence's visit and invite her to return as a panelist alongside knowledgeable academics and a more diverse set of voices, or revoke her invitation completely.  

As the most-hated corporation on earth, Monsanto and its subsidiaries should NOT be freely allowed to promote themselves at our academic institutions. Monsanto has a toxic track record of political and social corruption, environmental degradation and fraudulent science. Monsanto’s products and policies are unsafe, unjust, unsustainable, violent and undemocratic. New, sustainable technologies for agriculture will never be born from the dishonest practices of the Monsanto Corporation, and here is why.

Monsanto and its subsidiaries are responsible for:

- The release of dangerous and hazardous chemicals and materials into American food, homes and ecosystems

- The degradation of livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers around the world

- Human sickness, disease and death from pesticides, food additives, chemicals and drugs

- Contaminating the environment, profiting from it, then lying about it

- Engaging in legal scandals against journalists, scientists, and small farmers who oppose or question the safety of their products

- Loss of habitat, crop and farmland biodiversity

- Loss of indigenous lands, well-being and cultural way of life

- Removal of topsoil and pollution of watersheds

- Deterioration of small family farms in US and abroad

- Corrupting our democracy by spending millions of dollars lobbying our government for subsidies and unjust policies that allow it to pollute

- Corrupting the economy by retaining a monopoly over food production systems and life itself (patented genes)

- Developing and profiting from abominable weapons of war

- Refusing to clean up the environment or compensate the lives of the workers and communities it has ruined

Monsanto’s façade of sustainable farming technology is yet another marketing scheme to promote its unwavering agenda of corporate greed. They are simply capitalizing on food scarcity and environmental problems, the very problems that they themselves worked to create over the past century. As some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country, I would expect HMC and the Keck Science Department at the 5Cs to be able to see the sharp teeth behind the wolf’s smile, and realize that no ethical solutions have or will come from Monsanto. It would be a great shame to myself and to many of my peers if Dr. Lawrence was allowed to speak on campus.

From a concerned student,

Adin Bonapart PZ '16