Editor’s note: reposted with permission from The Farmer’s Life. Last September we seeded our first round of cover crops on roughly 200 acres. These crops that we will never harvest are probably the most exciting thing on the farm right now for me. What is a Cover Crop A cover crop does just what it says. It covers the soil during the period between the time you harvest one crop and plant the next. For my farm this means winter. Our cover was seeded by airplane in mid September just ahead of harvest. We chose aerial application in order to
Respected writer Jared Diamond recently published an overall excellent opinion piece in the New York Times discussing how we often obsess about the wrong things, while failing to watch for real dangers. Jared Diamond’s Guide to Reducing Life’s Risks – NYTimes.com. Many of us in the Plant biology community were quite surprised at one phrase buried in an otherwise excellent article: ‘It turns out that we exaggerate the risks of events that are beyond our control, that cause many deaths at once or that kill in spectacular ways — crazy gunmen, terrorists, plane crashes, nuclear radiation, genetically modified crops.
Does the adoption of GM crops lead to more or less pesticide use? This is a frequent topic of debate, but generally one that misses the point. Both sides make the same erroneous assumption that all pesticide use is, by definition, a bad thing. In fact, it depends on the particular pesticide in question, the reason it is being used, and the details of its application. Most modern pesticides are extremely low in hazard to us or to the environment. Both “sides” of the GM debate would do well to stop over-simplfying this issue.
On Sunday, I gave a talk for the Ethical Humanist Society in Skokie, IL, on the outskirts of Chicago. Back in November, the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago asked me if I would be willing to talk about the benefits and risks of genetically engineered crops. The title of my presentation was Shades of Green, and I daresay it went well, especially considering that I have never given a talk of this kind before, and now I’m inspired to do more. I’m going to discuss a little of hat I talked about, what I thought worked, and what I
, Developing country issues
, Genetic Engineering
, Human health
, Plant Breeding
Last week, environmentalist Mark Lynas presented an articulate and painfully honest apology for his significant role in starting the anti-GMO movement in the 1990s. He said that it was the most successful campaign in which he has ever been involved, but after finally looking into the science, he now deeply regrets what he and others accomplished. While it is gratifying to have a figure like Lynas make such a turn-about, it does nothing to mitigate the damage of which this anti-science movement has perpetrated on humanity and the environment. Ideally, such a dramatic reversal will induce others in the movement to