Tag Archives: Mark Lynas

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.

Conflicted about Mark Lynas

I am 100% for the use of GMOs. In my last 4 semesters here at UD, I have used this topic for research papers, speeches, and even made my own website about them. I love when he says that he was foolish for being anti-GMO just because they were supported by a big corporation. I feel as though this is why most people are against GMO, and they do not know enough about them to support that opinion. I feel as though he definitely makes a successful case for his change of heart for the way he now views GMOs.

The conflict I feel comes from when I forwarded this video to my dad, who feels very strongly against GMOs. Throughout my experience in the Plant Science major, I have learned a lot about the benefits and technology that goes into genetically modifying crops. He on the other hand, is having a harder time believing me. When I sent him this video, he was a little upset with me that I did not do my research about who Mark Lynas was, and he shared with me what he found. When he looked Lynas up, he found articles about his positions on nuclear power and global warming, with nothing about the anti-GM movement, which is very interesting, seeing as though he claimed being a leader of it. He also found a list of 10 people to be an “ambassador” for this campaign to better the image of GM crops in society’s mind, Mark Lynas being on it. This was just a little weird, and I appreciated my dad sharing this with me. All in all, I loved seeing a video of someone saying how they regret being on the other side of an argument I feel very strongly about.

Mark Lynas at the 2013 Oxford Conference towards GMO’s

Mark Lynas has done a total 180 on how he views the importance of GMO’s. One of the first things he says as he starts his speech is ” I want to start with some apologies which I believe are most appropriate to this audience. For the record, here and upfront I would like to apologize for having spent several years ripping up GM crops… starve the anti-GM movement back in the 90’s… demonizing an important technological option which can and should be used to benefit the environment.” Lynas completely regrets the counterproductive path he has chosen and he regrets it entirely. He discovered science and the importance of GM’s for today’s uprising population. When he first heard about GM’s he thought that it was just a “big AMERICAN corporation with a nasty track record putting something new and experimental into our food supply.” With me being a former vegan and only wanting to eat some of the most pristine vegetables I too was afraid of GMO’s and if they would damage my body. Over time throughout several hours of research and my Agriculture class that I am currently taking through the University of Delaware, my professor has enlightened me on how much he GMO’s have impacted the world! I am a strong supporter of GMO usage in today’s crops. Without them, we would not be able to feed today’s population along with our aminals to get other products from. In the rest of the Lynas’s speech, he explains how with the GMO’s can help the world and should be approved all around.

Mark Lynas Lecture

After listening to the Mark Lynas lecture about his change of thought on GMOs I strongly believe everyone involved in the GMO controversy should listen to his explanation and new thoughts on GMOs. I am in full support of the use of GMOs and agree with Mark Lynas change in approach. I respected how Mr. Lynas first took the time to explain why he was against GMOs in the first place and I believe many people have the same thinking processes as he did when he first heard of the use of GMOs. He explained how he thought GMOs were just being used by a big American corporation with not much thought and that it would go horribly wrong in the long run. He then explained how he had actually never done research in the field till later and then discovered that GMOs were a necessity for humankind and the growing population. Mark Lynas makes a very strong case for his change of heart by evaluating how he first approached the situation and then how he learned more about all the benefits of GMOs. Throughout his lecture he explains all of the reasons he now supports the use of GMOs including that GMO crops actually need less chemicals, it was benefiting farmers instead of big companies and finally he explained how it is actually a safer and more precise way of growing crops. I believe many people who are against the use of GMOs have not done research in the field and assume right away its bad like Mark Lynas did at the beginning of his career. I want to spread the knowledge of GMOs being safe and a necessity to farming with the growing population. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Mark Lynas lecture and am happy to see someone who was against GMOs spreading his new-found knowledge and supporting them.

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.

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
Click the image above to play the video


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?

Mark Lynas and GMOs

Mark Lynas makes a good argument for the benefits of GMO’s and I thoroughly agree with him. The backlash directed towards GMOs is lead by the elite few who have the privilege of being able to choose between “Natural” and genetically modified. Unfortunately, the general public still has a lack of knowledge regarding GMOs and their benefits. Most people are scared of GMOs, and have the right to be, because they are uneducated on their benefits and how genetically modified actually works. In the year 2050 there will be over 9 billion people to feed on less ground, new and innovative ways of growing crops to feed the hungry will have to implemented and GMOs will lead the way, so long as the rest of the world accepts them.

Lynas could have explained his reason for switching his opinion a little better though. He was very focused on explaining the benefits of higher yields and what other countries think of GMOs, which is a good argument, however he should have described how genetic modification works more thoroughly. He also should have explained his reasoning for beginning his research rather than his explanation being that someone commented saying that he should.

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.

The GMO Controversy

When Mark Lynas heard of GMOs he immediately chose to oppose them without any reason other than he knew nothing about them. After he began to do his research he soon realized that he was on the wrong side. At the beginning of his speech, Lynas apologies for his ignorance of GMOs, making assumptions based on listening to only what he had heard instead of what scientific experiments had found.

As we know, the population is rising significantly, and in time we will not be able to produce enough food to feed the population. In his speech he explains that these GMOs produce bigger yields in smaller acres of land. They’re the solution to feeding the growing population. Duplicated scientific experiments prove that consuming GMOs or animals eat GM feed is not harmful to humans, yet people continue to believe otherwise. Lynas stated that people that are dying from malnutrition of having an “organic” diet would be in better health if were eating GMOs. GM foods have the potential to save millions of lives, but the technology is being held back. (i.e. countries that have banned GMOs)

Response to “The GMO Controversy”

What do you think of his position?

I agree with his position completely. I believe that people who are lucky enough to be able to choose to not eat GMOs have the right to choose, but they shouldn’t stand in the way of people who need GM crops from getting them. Like he said, the population by 2050 cannot be sustained on organic farming and GM crops are absolutely necessary for feeding the growing population.

Does he make a case for his change of heart and the way he now views GMOs?

I felt like he could’ve explained his change of heart more. The statistics he explained were worthwhile and convincing of the point that GM crops are not bad for us and will actually provide the much needed support for our growing population. But, I don’t think he went into enough depth of why and how he had a change of heart. Just saying that someone commented on his post and it made him go research isn’t enough evidence to make him truly look distinguished and to convince nay-Sayers that he truly has changed his opinion and isn’t just getting paid to support GM producing corporations.

Mark Lynas and the GMO Movement

In 2013, Mark Lynas, a writer and activist gave a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference and was exceedingly open about how his view on GMO crops had drastically changed. He spoke about how his anti-GMO stand boiled down to a lack of education on the subject, stating directly that he, “had done no academic research on the topic, and had a pretty limited personal understanding.” So basically in the 1990’s when he was advocating against GMO’s he was flying by the seat of his pants, but mid 2000’s he started doing some reading, and found out many of the things he had believed were in fact false and backed up by facts and research. Within his speech Lynas makes some great points about how important GMO’s are, that they are basically needed to keep crop yield high enough to support the growing population.

I think that is was very big of Lynas to not only admit that he has had a change of heart, but also to do it so publicly. He apologizes for his actions, but is not necessarily ashamed of them, it shows that peoples minds do change and it’s a socially okay thing. After addressing why his change of heart occurred he continues to beef up the argument for the use of GMO’s in our society. How there are a major number of benefits and few cons to GMO’s that people aren’t often aware of, or completely educated about, emphasizing that there is no real reason GMO’s should be banned.

GMO Controversy

In the video Mark Lynas first believed that genetically modified organisms were horrible, that they were a disgrace to science. Lynas would talk about the effects of GMOs, even though he didn’t know much about GMO’s at all. When Lynas actually dug into information on GMO’s , he discovered that Genetically modified organisms are actually very beneficial. He states that talking bad about GMO’s was ignorant on his part. Lynas quickly admitted that after researching GMO’s he takes back his original statement on GMO’s.

Mark Lynas goes on to say that GMOs are great because they only transfer necessary genes from one crop to another in fewer steps, they provide more accuracy and precision to farming, they keep costs low for producer and consumers, as well as higher yields. He also goes on to say that GMO’s reduce the use of pesticides. Lynas says that using GMO crops is a responsible way to feed the globe as a whole. The world is growing more and more everyday and GMO’s are a great way to keep up with the growing population. GMO’s bring with it maximized crop yields, also helping the growing population. He states that with the Problem of limited resources and limited amount of land GMO’s are a very practical way to feed the globe.

I support the new statement made by Lynas. GMO’s are great. The problem is that media is exposing GMO’s as bad. People don’t want to investigate GMO’s on their own, they would rather listen to the media that displays the GMO’s as bad to get a reaction, rather then real scientific facts. One statement I do love is Lynas says no matter what people have the right to believe in GMO’s or not. But like Lynas I also believe in GMO’s and think they’re a great advancement and perfect way to feed the growing population.

Mark Lynas and the GMO Controversy

I think the speech that Mark Lynas gave at the 2013 Oxford Farming Conference is very informative and interesting. His updated views on Genetically Modified Organisms ,or GMs as he calls them, are extremely relevant to today’s society.  His current position, that GMs are beneficial and not harmful, is something that more people need to come to terms with instead of blindly opposing. Mark Lynas honestly admits that he was wrong in his previous stance on GM’s and that he did not actually know the facts behind his opinion, but just followed other people’s ideas.

Mark Lynas’ complete 180 change of heart was sparked by one comment on his anti-GM Guardian article from a critic who said,

“so you’re opposed to GM on the basis that it is marketed by big corporations. Are you also opposed to the wheel because because it is marketed by the big auto companies?”

That was all it took for Lynas to do some research and realize his views were incorrect all along. In his third book, The God Species, he was able to take a look at the bigger picture on a planetary scale instead of basic environmentalist orthodoxy that so many people believe. Lynas brings up points throughout his speech such as the fact that we are going to have to feed 9.5 billion people on the amount of land we use today while using limited resources. The truth is that organic food and the way food is produced today is not going to be enough to feed all of those people. GMs provide the opportunity to grow food with more nutrients, stability, and resistance to insects and disease without the use of so many pesticides.

With the world’s “trendy” idea that GMO’s are bad and organics are so healthy and beneficial, Lynas’ speech is something that needs to be shared and understood. The population needs to stop being afraid of change and instead must open their minds to the facts and try to understand the truth about GMO’s.