The GMO controversy

In January, 2013, environmentalist and author Mark Lynas, a self-proclaimed founder and activist for Europe’s anti-GMO (he uses the term GM) movement, spoke before the annual Oxford (UK) Farming Conference and announced a 180 degree change in his opinion about GMOs, and disassociated himself with the anti GMO movement (whom he calls “antis”) that he helped grow into a successful protest movement. His remarks, recorded and presented below,  explain his reasons for his change in attitude.  Read the >>>Transcript Mark Lynas 2013 Oxford Farming Conference.

Mark Lynas
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The use of genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as GMOs, is highly controversial topic. Lynas’s  speech, the transcription of which can be found on his website (if you’d like to read along), sent shock waves across the agricultural sector and has received world-wide attention.

What do you think of his position? Does he make a case for his change of heart and the way he now views GMOs?

2 thoughts on “The GMO controversy”

  1. Mark Lynas is an environmentalist who protects the environment. He thought he was doing “good” by banning GMOs from farming and help campaign anti-GMO across the globe. After doing research on GMOs he saw he was wrong and had been on the wrong side. His perspective changed once he discovered science and hoped to become a better environmentalist. He realized that there were less pesticides and insecticides being used in farming now. Billions of dollars of benefits were accruing to farmers needing fewer inputs. Amazed that Bt cotton was pirated into India and roundup ready soybeans into Brazil because farmers were eager to use them. Overall they’re the solution to help feed the growing population expected in a couple of years.
    It was interesting to know that around two billion children have been born. Later they will become the future parents of 2050 and increase the population to around 9.5 billion worldwide. That these GMOs help farmers produce bigger yields in smaller acres of land. Allowing for fewer forests and fewer animal habitats being destroyed and the extinction of many animals in many countries if they agree to GMO farming. Nature will still be preserved for the future generation.
    Mark Lynas position overall is great, since he was able to take off the blindfold that covered his eyes. He was blinded for so many years, until he saw the benefits of GMOs. He is great supporter now and fights for GMOs. He knows it’s a very tough road ahead of him, but is willing to undo his wrongs. Encouraging anyone to this farming that started off from Norman Borlaug.

  2. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are one of the most controversial topics in agriculture today. Mark Lynas used to be on the opposed to GMOs, but he has since changed his mind. Lynas makes very interesting points on why he is now pro GMOs, including ones that go against the arguments he used to make. This change of heart came about from Lynas finding the science behind GMOs. At the beginning of his speech, Lynas admits that he was ignorant of genetically modified foods. He made assumptions based on what he heard, rather than what careful scientific experiments have found, but it was when he found those experiments that his opinion change
    All of the points that Lynas makes during his speech make sense. Duplicated scientific experiments prove that consuming GMOs or animals eat GM feed is not harmful to humans, yet people continue to believe otherwise. In fact, Lynas even mentioned that people are more likely to die from malnutrition of having an “organic” diet, than eating a diet of genetically modified foods. There is also the logical fallacy that what is “natural” or “organic” is good for you, and anything humans have messed with must be harmful. What people do not realize, is that there is more manmade chemicals in “natural” food then there is in GM food, and the food is more nutritious, in most cases, then the “organic” counterpart. Lynas also thought GM foods would only benefit the big corporations, while hurting the average farmer economically. After he did some research, however, he found just the opposite. Genetically modified crops benefitted the farmer, the corporation, and even the consumers economically.
    Another point he made, and the one that I believe the most in being pro GMO, was about needs, not wants. The population is growing, that is a fact. We need to find a way to feed millions of more people, on the space we have now. It is not about whether or not we want to eat these (proven safe) “unnatural” foods, it is about what the hungry, malnourished, food insecure people need. Just because you might not want to eat something for whatever reason (moral, religious, etc.) does not give you the right to push that on to anybody else, especially when that can save lives. GM foods have the potential to save millions of lives, but the technology is being held back by people who sabotage experiments (like Greenpeace) and politicians who ban GMOs from countries.

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