Tag Archives: GMOs

Mark Lynas and the Enlightenment of GMO’s

Listening to Mark Lynas’s speech on GMO’s I was enlightened on the many misconceptions on them. In fact, Mark Lynas believed his whole life how bad and unnatural GMO’s are to the planet, he acquired data and fact checking and afterwards completely changed. Lynas opened his mind to the reality of how much we need engineered science to improve our crop yield and to also help the population strive. I find it very interesting how many people find it so unnatural and look to substitutions like organic instead, which is far worse than farming with GMO’s. While consuming crops that are organic, it can create a risk factoring death, where it doesn’t protect people from any diseases. Not to mention the lower crop yield it takes on, which takes away from GMO farming. Having a lot of people farm GMO, helps regulate nitrogen and leads to fixing the worlds problem with nitrogen pollution. Before watching this video, I also thought GMO’s were unnatural and feared them. After watching this video, I see how wrong I am to view GMO’s as unnatural when we humans need them to thrive for future generations and especially if we plan on having roughly nine to ten billion people on this Earth by 2050, then a good start would be to push biotechnology like GMO’s. Overall many people believe in a lot of misconceptions about the unnatural laws of Genetically Modified Organisms, and we should take ways to educate people on the idea.

Mark Lynas Speech

The speech delivered by Mark Lynas to the Oxford Farming Conference was definitely enlightening. To hear someone who was once staunchly opposed to GMO’s make a one hundred eighty degree turn makes his case all the more convincing. I tend to agree with Mark Lynas regarding the use of GMO’s to feed the growing population. It was interesting to learn that less infant death and not in fact more children being born is the cause of rising population. I found it disheartening to learn that members of certain organizations including Green Peace could be so vehemently against GMO’s that they would be willing to destroy and sabotage studies.  I think his point is important that many folks against GMO’s do not have to worry about where their next meal is coming from or about nutrient deficiencies in their diets. I do however think it is important for some of the bureaucratic restrictions to be lifted to ensure that not just the major corporations are able to develop and innovate.  If GMO’s can help to solve some of these issues, which it appears they can, then I am all for GMO’s and Mr. Lynas has made a believer out of me.

The Conversion from Anti to Pro GMO

When listening to Mark Lynas lecture about his conversion from being against GMO’s to being for GMO’s, he mentioned that while he was against GMO’s he never actually knew about the subject.  After researching and discovering that GMO’s are beneficial regarding society and the environment.  He decided to become pro GMO’s.  GMO can be defined as a genetically modified organism where labs extract genes from a species DNA and injects those genes into an unrelated object being a plant or an animal.  GM foods are genetically altered foods, with the population rising and climate change there are possibilities of crops that are depended on becoming scarce.  GM foods are cheaper, increase yields, extends the durability and edibility of the food, and decreases the likelihood of a crop being harmed by a disease.

Mark Lynas changed his viewpoint mainly because GMO’s help the environment.  GMO’s allow farmers to preserve land while doing more with less crops, preserve habitats and ecosystems, water conservation, and air quality for GMO’s help reduce greenhouse gases.  The main thing I’d take away from this video due to being pro GMO’s is that you should always regardless of what you’ve heard take the time to do your own research on a subject.  Mark Lynas is a very creditable and knowledgeable man in regards to climate change and the environment, if he’s able to see that GMO’s are beneficial then his word should help others become pro GMO as well.

Mark Lynas Video

With the words, Genetically Modifies Organisms, comes heavy debate nationally. Mark Lynas started the lecture off great by saying that he used to believe GMOs were bad but admitted to not doing any research on the tropic. I believe most people against them today have not done the necessary research to see the benefits of GMOs. I have always tried to ignore what the political campaigns are doing to promote anti-GMOs because most of their arguments are scientifically proven, but I do need to do more research to absolutely understand GMOs to be able to educate others on what great ways they could help our growing population. Mark said to always ask for evidence and to go beyond the self-campaigning in anti-GMOs and that’s advice the general public should follow.

Mark Lynas brought up a great point about peaceful existence. Some many horrible things have happened where companies have destroyed or banning GM plants that had the potential to help the poor or children with deficiencies. For example, golden rice was stopped that was proven to help children with vitamin deficiencies. In Kenya, if anyone were to make a GM crop with high nutrition or high yield to help the poor, they would go to jail for 10 years that is a ridiculous regulation that has no scientific evidence to back up that GM is a health risk. I believe, just how Mark Lynas said, that farmers should have the right to choose what technologies they would like to use. The farmers that may be against GMOs do not have the right to stand in the way of people striving for doing things differently for the better. Everyone is entitled to their own views.

Another issue he brought up was that instead of helping the world by banning GMOs, people are actually doing more harm than good. With using GMOs for over a decade, there has been no harm from consuming them. I thought his statistic was comical that, you are more likely to be hit by a meteor than be harmed from a GMO. GMOs reduce chemical use like pesticides because they are made to be resistant by themselves. They would also help with raising yield because by 2050 we have to feed 9.5 billion in the same amount of land and GMOs are really the best way to do that. The people that are for organic are actually hurting us more than helping. Organic would require more land and is less productive. Organic is in the way of our progress by not allowing for innovation. If Biotechnology is stopped there might actually be famines that people predicted, not because of GMOs, but because farmers were stopped from progressing technology to help with the demand with increasing population.

My favorite part of the video that will always resonate with me is that the monster is not the GMOs themselves, it is our reaction against it that hurts us more.

Mark Lynas and GMO’s

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

GMO’s will always be a constant controversial topic because of the idea that farmers and corporations are essentially changing the physiology of a plant. When an audience reads about GMO’s, they often form an opinion based on the headline of an article, of the opinions of others, and most of the times these headlines and opinions are extremely misleading. To fully form an opinion, whether that be for or against GMO’s, the reader must become informed through different scientifically based arguments. Mark Lynas explains that before he changed his opinion on GMO’s, he found himself constantly defending himself using scientific arguments for other types of controversial subjects. He realized that if he was backing up his arguments with scientific data, why wasn’t he doing that with GMO’s. He developed his opinion because of the preconceived idea that all corporations are lying, scheming, money hungry entities that only look out for themselves. After realizing that he may not be correct in the way he formed his opinion, he decided to research and look at the scientific data. His initial belief was that GMO’s required more pesticide and insecticide, however, he realized that because many GMO’s such as pest-resistance cotton and maize actually require little to no pesticide. He realized that most of his arguments had no basis and he once he realized the facts, he changed his opinion drastically. Once he changed his opinion, he was then able to argue with facts instead of baseless statements. His current position is what I believe to be correct. GMO’s are essential in developing countries. GMO’s allow small farmers to create bigger yields with a small input and help feed rural villages. Without GMO’s, many under-developed countries would struggle to feed their community members.

Switching Sides

As an environmentalist, Mark Lynas assumed he should be against genetically modified organisms, GMOs, because of course, the environment is natural and nothing about the term “genetically modified” really screams “natural.” However, with more research he realized that these genetically modified products are more in favor of the environment than he realized, and therefore he began to accept and fight for their use. I really appreciated listening to Mr. Lynas’ speech because it brought the science out in front of the understandingly intimidating name. I think a lot of people get hung up on the terminology of GMOs, and that prevents them from educating themselves further on the topic.

The analogy that Mr. Lynas’ drew between supporting the idea of climate change and supporting the idea of genetic modifications is really important. One cannot believe in science in some aspects, yet denounce it in others. Many people are starting to agree that science supports climate change, and that we, as a society, should recognize it as real. However, science also supports the benefits of genetic modifications, yet not as many people are willing to agree. The increased yields, the ability to apply less pesticides, and the ability to withstand environmental effects such as droughts are proven benefits of GMOs that research has supported.  Because he believed in climate change and supported it so passionately, Mr. Lynas’ knew he needed to give the same effort to his opinion about GMOs. Upon doing so, he realized he was misinformed and changed his opinion, which I believe was justified.

Mr. Lynas may have been a bit blunt in his discussion, but I do think that his points were well supported and are needed as an educational tool. Surely, if one were looking for information to form an opinion about GMOs, this video would be a beneficial source, but one should also look at other resources before completely forming his or her opinion. Personally, I have always been pro-GMO and as a supporter it is important to educate those around me. However, I think there is most likely more research to be done involving GMOs, which can hopefully provide reason to gain more public support. Mr. Lynas is right in that people are nostalgically looking towards old farming practices while the world around them is developing and changing, so why shouldn’t agriculture be allowed to progress into the future as well?

Opinion on Mark Lynas’ speech

It is apparent that Mark Lynas had a huge change of opinion. He, at one point, didn’t believe in GMOs and was 100% anti-GMOs. Over time, after doing some research, he determined that he was wrong, and only knew the myths. Through his research, he found many benefits of GMOs, but also several disadvantages to organic farming.

He makes a solid case for pro-GMOs. Several examples include increased crop yield, increased nutrient levels, increased drought resistance, etc. These are exemplary reasons for being pro-GMO, as they help many people in different ways. For example, he touches on the golden rice that would be beneficial to those who are poor and in need of beta-carotene—an essential precursor to vitamin A, which is important in vision. He also goes on to note that this would help feed more people since there yields are higher, less land is needed, and there is an increase in production.

Is his thinking justified? Sure. Do I agree with them? To a point. I think GMOs are essential to feeding the world, especially since there will be over 9 billion people in 2050. But I don’t think they are as positive as portrayed. For example, in my ENGL230 class—environmental literature—one of the books that touches on GMOs notes that those plants that do produce more, need more energy and nutrients. If a plant needs more nutrients and energy then we have to supply that in some way, otherwise the soil does become depleted. Not only this, but we have still cut down a large portion of land for such cropping, causing habitat deforestation and fragmentation.

I also think that organic also has its place. The consumer knows exactly what they are getting; there is no guessing about what is in the food or the processing it has gone through in the same way as a GMO food. Although this may be more costly in some manners, the farmer/ producer also gets to have a stronger relationship with the plants; that person/ people is interacting with the plant on a more “personal” basis.

Overall, both GMOs and organic have their place and are important for different consumers. All farming will be needed to help feeding the world’s hungry. Getting there will take time and a mental readjustment for many. It is undoubtable that GMOs will be the future.

Mark Lynas and The GMO Controversey

Genetically modified organisms are a very controversial topic and many people have very polarizing fews based off of feelings and factual evidence. Mark Lynas is one person who has been on both sides of the argument. Mark Lynas started off his lecture at the 2013 OXford Farming Conference with a humble apology and an admittance that he believes he was wrong about GMOs. He used to think that they would bring chaos to the natural world due to man’s interferance with the genetics of plants. He goes on to say he is bascially a man of science and he tells of how that his fears about GMOs were unfounded in the current views of the research into GMOs. Mark makes the case that genetically modified crops are going to be essential to help keep up with the population growth and being able to preserve land.

I personally agree with his views that GMOs are going to be necessary for maintain mankind’s  population growth into numbers around 9.5 billion in the next few decades. Mark tells of how GMOs can actually benefit the world and are not harmful like some environmentalists would like the average person to believe and that some of their arguments are just fear-mongering. I believe that he makes a good case about his change of heart and that GMOs aren’t something that he necessarily wants, but something that the world needs. He was caught up in emotions and what he wanted in the environment that he lost his sense scientific inquiry and checking the facts, something that all to many people still do today. I believe it takes a brave person to admit that they are wrong. GMOs are still being debated to this day, but I think someone like Mr. Lynas being on the Pro-GMO side of the debate is a very powerful player.