Tuesday, April 16, 2013

GMOs are Unnatural

GMOs - now there is a touchy subject. I kind of wonder why it is such a touchy subject. Maybe it is because people feel so strongly that they should have a choice about what they put into their bodies. However, if they feel so strongly about choices shouldn't I have the choice to eat as much GMO food I want? I also feel strongly that if we can feed more people, more efficiently on that land that we have (we can't make more land to grow more) I feel that the usage of biotechnology is smart. I know there is way more too it, but today thanks to an awesome blogger named Meg (The Beef Jar), I found this article called GMOs are Unnatural? And Other Thoughts on Biotech by Fourat Janabi.

The blog is quite long but I would encourage you all to read it. The following three paragraphs by Fourat Janabi really hit home with me.

Since 1961, we’ve increased yield by 300% using only 12% more land. How? We used technology to make drastically increase yield and avert the predicted disaster of Ehrlich and many others. Said differently, if we kept farming organically, mass famine would have ensued. Without such yield increases thanks to plant science, we would have had to use two Latin America’s of arable land to compensate, or, more likely, the predicted mass starvation would have occurred. If in the 1960s when the world population was less than 3 billion people, the propagation of organic farming as the sole agricultural method would have resulted in disaster, how it will help us now when we are 7 billion people and on the way to 9-10 billion people? The majority of that increase in yield has come from plain ol’ conventional agriculture, but now our yields are coming up against a glass wall for that type of plant science, and GE foods are the next process to take us forward to surmount the coming set of problems. And, while we still have a starving billion today, it is not because we can’t create the food, but we can’t get it to them. The solution to world hunger is for those most afflicted by it to be able to grow their own food, instead of relying on food aid and handouts as band aids applied to a broken bone. Organic farming will not suffice for Sub-Saharan Africa; they need heat-tolerant and drought-resistant strains. (They already don’t have any biotechnology or conventional agriculture, ergo, organic farming, which is what remains, has failed them.)

We need to stop pretending that only Big Ag and Monsanto lobbies, undercuts, and undermines democracy; the organic movement spends $2.5 billion a year on advocacy. We need to stop thinking that Monsanto is after world domination: the global GM seed market in 2012 was $14 billion (world GDP is $70 trillion–world domination with 0.0002% of the purchasing power of the planet), while organic food sales are $60 billion worldwide. (The total value of those GM crops when harvested was around $65 billion.) We need to know that all farms strive to use the least amount of pesticides required, as it is their biggest expense, and that synthetic chemicals are nota priori worse than organic chemicals, in fact, quite the opposite. In other words, we need to get real, and deal with the facts as they are, not as we want them to be.

Whatever is the case, we need to realize that feeding 7 billion, let alone 9 to 10 billion people in the near future, isn’t going to be easy. If it fits on a Facebook photo as a caption, you can rest assured it will solve nothing. This post is 4,600 words long and is barely scratching the surface. Some silly shared photo on Facebook demonizing Monsanto or chemical use not only shows you things out of context, they detract from the conversations we should be having. 

 This probably isn't going to solve anything. 

Like I said I really hope you will read the entire article and perhaps share with it others. I firmly believe that whether you want GMOs in your family's home or not they are important part of our food system. 


  1. Fantastic post Crystal, what a great article. It's very difficult to verbalize positive facts and opinions on GMO's because its such a broad and diverse topic and because it has so much emotion attached to it for so many people. I like this very much, it gets to it on easy to understand terms. Thanks for the read, I know I'll find it useful in future conversations!

    1. Jamie you are welcome. I really hope lots of people go and read the full post. Lots of interesting things in there about GMOs that I would want to know before I made a decision.


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