My TED talk on sustainable ag, food security and GMOs is now available for viewing. Please watch it and let me know what you think!
By Pamela Ronald and Karl Haro von Mogel Just as many on the political right discount the broad scientific consensus that human activities contribute to global warning, many progressive advocacy groups disregard, reject, or ignore the decades of scientific studies demonstrating the safety and wide-reaching benefits of GE crops. Is political identity more important than science and the environment? Review your knowledge of food, farming and plant genetics by reviewing this list. It represents specific points of broad scientific consensus: that is, the conclusions of the scientific community based on analysis of thousands of experimental results over the past 10-20 years. For each point, we have provided links to appropriate references. Please let us know which ones we missed.
Does The Union of Concerned Scientists concur with the broad scientific consensus that GE crops currently on the market are safe to eat? And 9 other points. In the last few days, Margaret Mellon and Doug Gurian-Sherman have clarified the position of the Union of Concerned Scientists on various blogs and forums. Their responses are often quite lengthy so I will summarize my understanding here of the UCS position based on their responses: UCS concurs with the broad scientific consensus (see main articles for citations) that: 1. Each GE crop must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 2. In the case of GE cotton, the technology has enhanced yields in many parts of the world. 3. The planting of GE cotton has reduced the use of sprayed insecticides. 4. GE papaya has enhanced yields. 5. GE crops currently on the market are safe to eat. 6. The GE crops themselves
“Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful.” – E. F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful, 1973 Discussions about plant genetic engineering often reflect two starkly opposing narratives. On the one side are the angry mobs who invade research farms to destroy fragile green rice seedlings deemed “GMOs”. On the other, are the scientists who call for calm and respect for publicly funded research. Too often, it seems, there is little mutual understanding. But times may be changing.
An Excerpt by Jon Entine It’s a challenge to name a more influential food writer than The New York Times‘ Mark Bittman—nor one less informed and more damaging to the public opinion on the issue of genetically modified crops and foods. Simply said, he is a scourge on science. Those are strong words, and not written lightly. However, when a journalist writes for the world’s most influential newspaper, he/she has standards to uphold, not the least of which is to know the basic facts about the topic on which one writes. Bittman freely and often engages the debate over GMOs in food, from lobbying for government-mandated labeling to, most recently, attacking the biotechnology industry in a piece on the so-called Monsanto Protection Act (the debate about which the GLP deconstructed)… Like a climate-denying arch-conservative, Bittman hasn’t altered his views for years even as science has long since passed him by.