Good point!

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by knighter, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. knighter

    knighter Junior Member

    Jun 27, 2009
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    Thirty years ago, genetic engineers hoped new technology would revolutionise world farming and reduce or even eliminate the need for fertilisers and pesticides. It was a noble idea that deserved success.

    But only promises came. In the 1990s the public was told genetic modification would increase yields enough to feed the world. Now in an age of climate change we hear that GM can reduce climate change emissions, improve drought tolerance, stimulate growth and eliminate poverty.

    Perhaps all these benefits to society will one day accrue, but my fear, after tens of billions of dollars of public and private research and development money have been spent by some of the world's most powerful companies, is that it has met a dead end.

    Only a handful of GM food crops such as maize, soy and oilseed rape are grown widely and mostly in only a few countries.

    Instead, the business is in the grip of a few global chemical companies who make their profits mostly from the sale of the chemicals they engineer their seeds to resist. After 30 years of public relations and backing by governments, the crops are still not trusted and food safety concerns will not go away.

    Advocates say the science is settled after three trillion meals have produced little more than a few, possibly linked, allergic reactions. But critics respond that most of the foods are fed to animals, not humans, and no clinical trial of any genetically modified crop has ever been published.

    Instead, the toxicity trials are designed and conducted in semi-secret by the companies themselves and the regulators have concentrated on the crops' environmental effects. Any reports of serious illnesses are routinely batted away as "bad science".

    I fear much of the problem of trust stems from the chemical company Monsanto, which from the start has been the world's largest producer, researcher and distributor of the crops. Its fierce use of patents, its heavy-handed lobbying of governments to deregulate markets, and its buying up of seed companies internationally have scared the public, raised concerns among small farmers the world over and denied the public the potential benefits.

    In five years' time, it is possible someone will manage to engineer GM crops to "fix" carbon and eliminate the need for pesticides. If the crops can then be seen to be without risk and be for the benefit of the public rather than for sheer corporate profit, then even organic farmers should not oppose them.

    But so far the promoters of the technology have relied on political bullying to give us promises rather than better products.

    In fact, advances in conventional farming have at least matched and possibly exceeded anything achieved by GM.

    At a time when we desperately need new ideas to grow more food, genetic modification offers more chemicals, more expensive seeds and patents to protect corporates.

    If the companies had really sought from the start to develop traits useful to people and farmers, rather than to create massive profits for themselves, it might now have become a technology to change the world.

    As it is, I fear GM has proved beneficial for the few but held back the real debate on how to grow food without harming the environment or people.
  2. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

    May 14, 2004
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    well put knighter,

    always liked the one by supporters: no one has ever gotten sick or died from eating GMO stuff. they would never know as far as i know no human trials were conducted so no parameters to work to.

  3. Finchj

    Finchj Junior Member

    Sep 29, 2010
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    Every plant fixes carbon already.

    The "need" for pesticides arises from putting too many hosts in close proximity to one another, typically in monocultures. The "need" arises from our belief that nothing else has the right to prey on "our" plants.

    There is little to no need, IMO, for us to be involved in genetically modifying plants.

    Just about every "problem" genetically modified crops are supposed to address stem directly from production methods and human action, not problems in the plants themselves.

    Imagine if the billions of dollars spent on GM research had instead gone to practical projects and education, examples of which have been showcased in John D Liu's Green Gold. We could be regenerating billions of acres with that money.

    GM plants have nothing on better design and decision making processes.
  4. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

    Feb 27, 2011
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    I stopped here because I know this to be very very untrue. All the GMO seeds for sale for veg growing all over the US, and beyond simply from seed catalogs. The things that GMO crops have done in Bolivia, India, Argentina and a whole gambit of other countries IMO are crimes against the planetary environment. :think:
  5. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Jul 10, 2006
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    E Washington, USA
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
    Interesting statement (from this article

    The article then lists many gmo crops I'd not known (including squashes!)

    Another article ( lists High-risk and monitored-risk gmo crops.

    Seems there are many more gmo crops out there than I'd realized. :(

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