Isn’t it shocking and bewildering that such talented powerful, rich and beautiful people have had to battle cancer The Fifth Horseman has indeed arrived. Cancer today is the greatest leveler. It does not skip over a poor or bypass a rich. In 2018 alone, 18 million new cancer cases were reported globally and 10 million people died of cancer. Worldwide one in five men and one in six women develop cancer during their lifetime. In China, cancer is the leading cause of death and in US the second most important one. Cancer poses one the most significant challenges for mankind in the 21st century. We are experiencing a cancer epidemic and there is enough evidence to link Carcinogens to this disturbing trend. This linkage is significantly underestimated and decisive action is long overdue. According to the Mayo Clinic of USA, Cancer is caused by changes or mutations to the DNA within cells. A number of forces can cause gene mutations and amongst them ‘Carcinogens’ is the main culprit. Expressing a sense of urgency to President Obama on this issue, The President’s Cancer Panel in 2010 said : “The Panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives” Our mother earth has showered us with lush green forests, rich soil, pure water, pure air and abundant wealth of minerals. But the greedy man has raped nature in the name of development. Nature is now having the last laugh. Conversion of rich natural forests to large scale GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) Monocrop plantations and blatant pesticide usage is making the carcinogens, cancer causing chemicals finding their way back into every home. These ecological narcotics don’t care whether it’s a poor home or a rich one. The plight of people living in concentrated industrialized areas or GMO farmlands is unimaginable. In Texas in USA and in Punjab in India where millions of acres of land is under GMO BT cotton, there is a much higher incidence of cancer. Punjab with a land area of just 2% consumes 17% of India’s Pesticides and leads in the cancer cases too! Every other home in China’s now famous cancer villages along its polluted rivers has a cancer patient. More than 500 million people in China drink water out of these cancer rivers. The high human cost of concentrated industrialization is finally being paid by China. Most big cities offer a cocktail of chemicals to its inhabitants. The carcinogens have invaded our entire food chain. The Rich can buy big homes & big cars but breathe the same air, drink the same water and eat the same pesticides laden GMO food! Antilia breathes the same air as Dharavi! One difference is that the poor die without any treatment while the rich keep the oncologists in New York, London & Singapore busy! So, Is there a way to halt the Fifth Horseman? It is indeed baffling that despite growing evidence that carcinogens cause cancer, focus remains on improving treatments. And there is little effort on its prevention. Little effort to ambush the source of carcinogens. Our present market led model is not designed to promote investment in disease prevention. It supports corporations to profit from both the products that cause cancer and the products that treat it. We do not seem to have any hope unless this model is turned upside down. The model that places productivity and cost before health needs to be questioned. Our Industrial Agriculture system treats food as an industrial product and farm as a factory. It focuses only on increasing the yield through monocropping. It puts the farmer on a pesticide treadmill. In India, the state of Jammu and Kashmir leads on the ‘Intensity of Usage’ of pesticides. The impact of this poison on consumers of its famous apples is not difficult to imagine. The company that makes GMO seeds makes pesticides too. Pesticides are engineered to kill. Pesticides kill every flora and fauna other than the GMO crop, which is the only one engineered to be resistant to the pesticide. The famous bread basket of the world, The Pampas in South America, today lie devastated. The entire land has been converted to GMO Soya mono- cropping to feed the factory farmed animals in Europe, China and India. The local communities face shortage of staple crops and cancer arising out of pesticide use. It is ironical that the consumers in Europe, China & India who consume the meat and dairy products don’t realise that the animals from which these products are made, fed on the same pesticide laden GMO Soya. Our dependence on this pesticide infested unsustainable model of agriculture is the reason why no one can escape cancer. The only way to escape cancer lies in replacing this toxic industrial monocrop agriculture system with safe Organic mode of mixed farming. It alone will provide healthy food gainful employment besides conserving bio-diversity and natural resources. Use of GMO seeds and pesticides, the lynchpin of Industrial agriculture system has to be stopped. Nearly 7 million tonnes of this poison was poured into mother earth last year. We must put an end to that. In Industry ‘Scale’ should give way to ‘small and sustainable’. Development model of concentration of an industry in one location in the name of economies of scale and degrading the environment has to be replaced with more spread out and sustainable option.The focus needs to revert to ‘Local’ from ‘Global’. Development at local level alone will stop the migration and ease the pressure on big cities and make them liveable again. Does any of us realise, how rampant ‘consumerism’ driven by ‘everyday low price’ and ‘latest model craze’ actually rides on the blood and toil of hapless workers working in pitiable conditions or on the exploitation of farmers who are made to continuously drive down prices. We unknowingly contribute daily to this exploitation. We need to question Why German consumers should get a Mexican pineapple at less than one Euro and why the Mexican farmer should not even recover the cost of producing that pineapple! or Why H&M customers should get 3 Fast Fashion T shirts in 10 dollars when the Bangladeshi poor girls who actually make them have to work at unthinkable wages and face a crushing death in the unsafe sweat shops like Rana Plaza! The unabated consumerism is also posing an environmental challenge. As prisoners of consumption, we continue to throw products in good working condition and buy new stuff we don’t actually need from the money we don’t have! It is the consumerism that creates unmanageable mountains of deadly plastic, metals and chemicals. It is the consumerism that puts pressure to increase the yield per acre of crops and spurs the GMO and pesticide usage. Cotton requirement on account of today’s Fast Fashion cannot be met by organic cotton. Natural dyes too cannot meet this demand and harmful chemical dyes is the only recourse. So the Big Picture in terms of these interlinkages between consumerism, market and development models, GMO Monocrop industrial agriculture, Carcinogens and the menace of cancer have to be understood. Then only we can think of unshackling the trap we have landed ourselves in. While all that seems very complex and difficult to achieve. It may actually be Simple. Simple because It only requires the man to do one thing, just give up the greed. But whatever the man does, the natural world has a limit. A limit to produce to meet man’s demand. With the man having crossed that limit long ago, the mother earth now wants its forests, soil, rivers, clean water and air, fishes, insects, birds back! and that’s why, The Fifth Horseman is here!