This archived article was written by: Nathaniel Woodward
For the first 200,000 years, our specie, Homo Sapien, had eek’d out a meager existence, surviving on a system of ever-evolving farming practices and techniques. Historians recorded clearly the years that crops resulted in feast as well as in famine, but due to our ingenuity, the years of famine were soon to become something only found in our history, maybe. The recent uproar over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, has sent the internet and social media a tizzy with passionate groups emblazoned with slogans like, “March against Monsanto” and documentaries angled to cast shadow on the scientific practice. What’s wrong with these organizations isn’t their concern over the well being of their lives and loved ones, but their utter lack of any credible evidence to support their passionate claims. I intend to set the record straight on three leading arguments given by those in opposition to GMOs.
1. GMOs are too recent an invention to truly know what their effects will be. This is simply not true, we have been altering the genes of plants since the Neolithic age and likely before. By planting and breeding only the plants with specific attributes we, alter the genetics of all those to follow. Recent advancements allowed us to take a desired trait from an entirely different species and inject it into the DNA of our plant. To assure you that this is indeed safe, over 1,700 studies have been published examining the effects of GMOs and not a single one casts doubts on their safety. The one study that can be found showing abnormalities in lab rats who consumed a GMO is a French study that was discredited almost immediately due to shoddy data and unethical practices and was later redacted entirely.
2. GMOs cause farmers to use more pesticides. One of the overlying purposes of GMOs is to limit or cease the use of pesticides. In fact since GMOs first came to grocery stores in the mid 1990s, less pesticides are being used than ever before. The one that has increased is glyphosphate, a mild pesticide which is 25x less toxic than caffeine.
3. GMOs are unnecessary since we grow enough food to feed ourselves already. This infuriates me more than any other argument presented. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that two children every minute die of hunger. Please re-read that last sentence. If that doesn’t sicken you I’d hang up my keyboard.
What I ask as we continue the journey into our cult of the imagination, above all, understand what constitutes actual, hard fought science. Your links by David Avocado Wolfe and the Food Babe are preying upon your willingness to overlook facts in exchange for what you want to hear. Modern charlatans with Internet access seek daily to sail you down the river and spawn zealots for their non-issues all the while themselves become wealthy. Children die in droves with empty stomachs while the technology to save them sits in factories and journal articles, anxiously waiting for the day when these zealots will care enough to view actual research. This topic, I care much about, being a father I can’t stomach the thought of my children starving and in a world where the population continues growing irresponsibly, those WHO figures will continue to rise unless we begin to view science as a tangible savior. We’re are a species who not 60 years after learning to fly put a person on the Moon, don’t believe for a second we aren’t capable of incredible and wondrous things.