Greenpeace activists protest against the contamination of Mexico's maize supply from genetically engineered maize.
"For years I'd thought that crop circles would be an ideal
medium forpromoting Greenpeace's genetic engineering (GE) campaign.
The cropcircles generate an alien mystique, encouraging people to
GE campaign aims to prevent alien organisms from contaminating
ourplants and food, while raising awareness of the unknown
consequencesthat could arise from such material entering the food
Thiscombination of mystery, creativity and an underlying message
perfectlyreflects the work that Greenpeace is doing worldwide. It
was alsoembodied in the formation we created for them - a 65 meter
(200 feet)circle with a question mark at its centre."
Why a question mark?
"Forthousands of years, maize (corn) has been an essential food
for thepeople of Mexico; it also plays an integral part in their
culture andreligion. Unfortunately, in recent years the maize has
been tainted byGE varieties entering the country and being planted
by unaware farmers.As a result, normally GE-free maize is showing
signs of geneticcontamination.
So the question mark conveys a simple message -contamination is
happening, but nobody knows exactly where it is takingplace, nor
where it could lead for the wider environment.
A day after our crop circle creation we were transported to a
tiny village called Cuanajo in the state of Michoacan. A
celebration was held to honour the regions GE free status. The
festival was an amazing cultural experience, each type of maize has
a purpose. Maize for tortillas, tamales, atoles, pozole, animal
feed and also to create handcrafts which they sell in market
Protecting this precious diversity is paramount for the people,
regional government, scientists and environmental groups who have
all worked together to cement the region as GE free. Other
surrounding regions are also interested in following this example
to create their own GE free zones.
Themore I find out about the issues surrounding GE, especially
withinMexico, the happier I am to have been involved in this
project. Withliterally thousands of different strains of maize in
Mexico, it'svitally important for both its people, and the rest of
the world, tokeep the seeds clean and maintain their variety.
Working withGreenpeace in Mexico
was a rewarding and fun experience - even duringthe rainy season!
Circlemakers hope to continue our relationship withGreenpeace and I
also hope that Mexico can successfully rid itself ofgenetic
contamination and keep its maize GE-free."
JohnLundberg is a British artist and documentary filmmaker. In
the early1990s he founded Circlemakers, a UK-based arts collective
famous forcovertly creating hundreds of the world's most
spectacular crop circles.
Theformations crafted anonymously by John and his collaborators
havecreated headlines around the world. Eventually Circlemakers
began to beapproached by companies asking if they could create crop
circles to beused in TV shows, movies, music videos, adverts and PR
They'vecreated crop circle in the UK, US, New Zealand, Japan,
acrosscontinental Europe and now in Mexico.
More info at www.circlemakers.org
Sign up and receive information about our campaigns and how you can help keep our food free from genetic contamination.
We don't accept donations from companies or governments, we rely on support from individuals like you to keep our campaigns running.