Global environmental challenges
Bloggers sound off on GMO foods
Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and is a regular contributor to this page. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.
Genetically Modified foods have been a concern for many environment bloggers in South Africa and other parts of Africa. On this post we check in a handful of bloggers who’ve recently written about genetically modified (GMO) foods and seed.
Dr Jurgen Zentek, Professor for Veterinary Medicine at the University of Vienna and lead author of the study, said a GM diet affected the fertility of mice.
One of the studies was a reproductive assessment by continuous breeding (RACB) trial, in which the same parent generation gave birth to several litters of baby mice. The parents were fed either with a diet containing 33per cent of GM maize, a hybrid of Monsanto’s MON 810 and another variety, and a normal feed mix.
The team found changes that were ‘statistically significant’ in the third and fourth litters produced by the mice given a GM diet. There were fewer offspring, while the young mice were smaller.
Prof Zentek said there was a direct link between the changes seen and the GM diet.
Perhaps this is the environmentally friendly benefit of using GM seed that Monsanto has been touting – they’re unwittingly helping to reduce population growth!
We all suffer from confirmation bias to some degree, but being aware of it can help us to avoid it at least partly. I actively try to expose myself to both sides of the story, especially topics which I feel strongly about. I feel very strongly that GM foods are a danger to our future, but I try to expose myself to the other point of view. For this reason I attended a presentation at the UCT Graduate School of Business which was pro GM. It was an interesting presentation and those who attended were enthusiastic in their support (except me).
Dax gives more information about the presentation he attended, and directly challenges Prof Chassy’s assertions.
Prof. Chassy himself made the point strongly that all people who are against GM foods are just uneducated rabble who have no idea what is going on and those who are pro GM foods are very intelligent scientists. Not only is this an appeal to authority, it is also completely and utterly untrue. There are more scientists than I can count who are anti GM foods. Remember, we are not talking about research into genetic modification, we are talking about allowing GM foods to be released into the environment and eaten.
Prof Chassy spent some considerable time explaining to us that we will in the future be unable to grow enough food to feed the world’s population, a fact I can agree with. However, his proposal that GM foods will allow us to grow enough food, I do not agree with. In fact this is what this post is about. I want to show that contrary to Prof. Chassy’s comment that no scientists are anti GM, it is actually scientists who are saying that GM is not a solution to the impending food crisis and that in fact, organic and sustainable farming methods are a better option.
He lists links to reports by other scientists, and concludes by saying:
If one takes the time to do some research, it becomes evident that there are many scientists which do not see GMOs as the solution to our food problems. Activists are just the people who have taken on the task of informing the public.
UrbanSprout posts an in-depth documentary review of the film ‘World According to Monsanto’
I have watched a lot of documentaries on GM foods and Monsanto and although they each have their own style and there is always some new information, they generally cover a lot of the same material. This recently released documentary is not like that. It takes a very different angle, looking at the history of Monsanto and the way it operates, rather than focusing specifically on GM foods.
The blogger asks some pertinent questions and posts a link for others to watch the film online.
So after seeing all this evidence of Monsanto’s lying and test fiddling, one has to ask the question: When they say GM foods are thoroughly tested (which they are not), does that actually mean anything? Even relying on social conscience would be dangerous. Surely they wouldn’t let GMOs be released if they knew there were harmful effects? Well, if they can watch people dying from exposure to PCBs outside their factory, while they continue to manufacture and pollute, then they are capable of doing anything.
The very interesting thing is this, when it comes out that GM foods are responsible for environmental problems, and human health issues, guess who is going to pay to fix it? The taxpayers, that’s who. Monsanto will just carry on making money while we pay to clean up their mess.
How does this make you feel?
Watch online here.
(The picture at the top shows a farmer with a genetically engineered cotton plant in South Africa in 2003: when about 90 percent of the 3,000 small-scale cotton farmers in the area were using the insect-resistant Bt cotton variety. The cotton has been genetically modified to be resistant to the cotton bollworm pest, by engineering it to contain a naturally-occurring pesticide. )