One year ago, I was contacted by a journalist in Washington by the name of Marco who wanted to learn more about the messy biology and politics of genetically engineered crops so he could write about them in his local paper. Part of his challenge was as the State of Washington was gearing up for a mandatory GMO labeling battle and the political divide was already beginning to affect how people viewed the science. His resulting article on Arctic Apples was published and probably opened a few minds. Next, he wanted to write something about the Green Genes movement, including part of his interview with me, however the paper was not very receptive and would only barely publish it with a ton of edits and… a disclaimer. Now, instead you can read his excellent piece at the GMO Skepti-Forum site! (I’m biased) Here is an excerpt: When GMOs were first
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.
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 rethink their positions. but this sort of openness to letting the science speak into bias is likely to be rare. Lynas is right that anti-GMO campaigners have been extremely successful at blocking, delaying, or destroying potential crop improvements via biotechnology. Lynas had a lot of ground to cover in his speech, so