Time period notes
Additional methods (Timing Unknown)
Notes on Methods
Protesters and allies marched in the streets of Warsaw and gathered outside the Ministry of Agriculture. In terms of symbolism, the protesters incorporated the honeybee symbol into their costumes, banners, and objects they carried. They wore yellow and black striped outfits, traditional beekeeper uniforms, home-made costumes and other creations. They ran hive smoke guns as they walked, held banners, signs, and bee-like objects. Participants in the campaign placed thousands of dead bees on the steps of the Ministry of Agriculture.
International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC)
Involvement of social elites
Nonviolent responses of opponent
Additional notes on joining/exiting order
Success in achieving specific demands/goals
Notes on outcomes
In March of 2012, Polish beekeepers and allies stormed the streets of Warsaw to protest the use of genetically modified (GM) maize and potatoes. The protest served as a call to action to mobilize the Polish Ministry of Agriculture to ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs) definitively. The campaign was a partial success as it helped mobilize Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to impose farming bans on certain GM crops months later.
In 1996, the agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto launched a project to develop an insect-protection corn that could be grown without the use of insecticides. This resulted in a new strand named MON810 which produces a protein from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This protein repels corn pests that can significantly harm the yield and quality of crops. Monsanto asserts that it is safe to humans, animals, insects, and all other non-targeted organisms. This assertion came after alleged extensive testing. On their website, Monsanto explains the benefits of MON810 use, stating that MON810 yields are higher due to less insect damage, quality of produce is higher due to reduction in contamination from mycotoxins, and the use of pesticide is not required.
However, there is scientific evidence that MON810 has had harmful effects throughout its existence in American agriculture. Individuals and laboratories have performed testing to disprove the safety claims and have produced alarming results. Both MON810 and the chemicals used with it are accused of causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This is a phenomenon where entire colonies of bees either die or disappear suddenly. MON810 is suspected to have sublethal effects on honey bees like immune suppression. John MacDonald, a biologist and Pennsylvanian beekeeper known for his research related to the negative effects of GM crops found that bees foraging near Bt crops were not able to gain enough weight to survive wintering. These honey bees generally failed to produce honey in their honey supers and those who did produced less than the amount of honey needed to help the colony survive the winter. The GM product and especially the honeybee collapse have great significance for the Polish government as honeybees are critical to crop pollination and the decline in their numbers poses a threat to the agricultural industry.
In early March 2012, nine countries blocked an effort by the Danish EU presidency to allow expanded cultivation of GM crops in Europe. France imposed a ban on MON810 shortly thereafter.
Harmon, Rashida. "Poland Bans GE Corn to Protect Bee Populations." Veg News Daily. N.p., 23 May 2012. Web. <http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=4527>.
"Poland Bans Cultivation of GM Maize, Potatoes." GMO-Free Regions. N.p., 4 Jan. 2013. Web. <http://www.gmo-free-regions.org/gmo-free-regions/poland/gmo-free-news-from-poland/news/en/26883.html>.
"Poland Bans Cultivation of GM Maize, Potatoes." Phys Org. N.p., 2 Jan. 2013. Web. <http://phys.org/news/2013-01-poland-cultivation-gm-maize-potatoes.html>.
"Polish Beekeepers Sting Monsanto." Capital Beekeepers. Capital Area Beekeeper's Association, 14 May 2012. Web. <http://capitalbeekeepers.org/?p=300>.
Sewell, Anne. "Beekeepers & Anti-GMO Protesters March in Warsaw." Digital Journal. N.p., 27 Mar. 2012. Web. <http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/321905>.