April 28, 2012
After experiencing the traumatizing death of her daughter to kidney failure just three days after her daughter was born, Sofia Gatica from Argentina became determined to find out what killed her daughter. Her conclusion? Monsanto’s genetically modified soy fields that surrounded her neighborhood, laced with damaging insecticides negatively affecting nearby neighborhood children and adults alike. Gatica began to detail how her small town was plagued with astronomically high birth defect rates, respiratory disease, and even infant mortality.
From this point, the courageous mother decided to take on Monsanto. Amazingly, she is not alone in her struggle against the biotechnology colossus when it comes to causing birth problems, as a large group of farmers — also from Argentina — have launched a lawsuit against Monsanto for causing ‘devastating birth defects‘ in children. Gatica was initially alone, however, when she first began her uphill battle. Forming a group of concerned mothers in her local area of Ituzaingó after hosting an event at her home to discuss her experiences, the mother would be one of the very few who has actually beat Monsanto.
After sharing her story with local mothers who were also concerned for the safety of their children and families as a whole, Gatica co-founded the Mothers of Ituzaingó — an action group of 16 mothers collaborating to end Monsanto’s rampant chemical usage. The team took to the streets, going door to door to create what was the first epidemiological study of the area, only to discover that the effects of Monsanto’s concoctions were dramatically affecting many families in the town of Ituzaingó. With cancer rates 41 times the national average, something had to be done.
As a result of the serious campaign to eradicate Monsanto, the mothers were rewarded. Argentina’s Supreme Court not only banned chemical spraying near populated areas, but demanded that the government as well as soy manufacturers now prove that these chemicals are safe. Sofia Gatica is now being honored for her great environmental work with the Goldman Environmental prize, a major environmental award given to activists. The story shows just how serious activism can take down most any threat — even Monsanto.