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Here in Greece over 60% of people are concerned about the use of genetically modified food. Is there similar caution in other countries ?
Why are so many people against GM food ?
Do people not understand that genetically altering food is the answer to feeding the millions starving around the world ? Simply put, if it is possible to alter the genes of a plant so that it grows in places where it previously did not (e.g. harsh, dry conditions), then how can we ignore this technology?
The rate of population increase is such that by 2050 there will by 3 billion more people on the planet. And unless this increase is halted (not likely), there will not be enough food to feed us all. Unless, that is, we embrace Genetically Modified food. Using Genetically Modified food can improve effiency and yield by, for example, giving plants better resistance to damage, improving growth rates and turnaround.
But I just find it frustrating that we seem to be putting blocks up against these new technologies. Especially when they are so vital to our survival.
Last edited by Nagato; February 19th, 2007 at 13:40.
MEAT IS MURDER
Good topic nagato. Im for all for it. I have no problem with the genetic modification of food. It's for the best really. Since the government's of the Third world countries have done nothing (in all honesty) for its citezens, I do believe that we should contribute somehow.
Hmm.. Well I'd suggest the following.
Not everyone is a scientific rationalist. Many people have problems with the idea of humans tampering with nature to an 'unwholesome' extent. You're not going to change this overnight.. But we need to remember that when vaccination was first used, people were horrified and thought it deeply unnatural. I'm sure, in time, and if more evidence can be brought to bear, people will change their attitudes about GM as well.
On the humanitarian argument, people often don't feel that's valid, because GM technology is limited a small number of very wealthy scientific corporations, who, people feel, will only distribute the technology for their own wealth and benefit, not on any humanitarian concerns. This ties in with above, because people might feel that corporate interests may not have the safety of the product at the forefront of their minds.
People are frightened of what they don't understand, and when it comes to GM technology, I think you'll find the vast majority of people are fantastically ignorant.
Personally, I'm pro GM, and I don't have many good things to say about environmentalism in this country. Environmentalism is supposed to be about enabling people to coexist with the environment, not some kind of laughable quasi-religious nature worship. I have no time for groups which call for more testing of GM, then burn the fields when its actually planted for trials. Especially since, and here's the most hilarious point, this stuff has been used and sold in America and Japan for many years now, with almost no negative response from the population.
Canada has allowed and been using GM modified wheat and canola for a while, and I have to say other than the scaremongers, there has been little or no problems reported.
If we can use technology to feed the world better and more efficiently, why not?
A much bigger problem with feeding the world is the European's and Americans holding on to Farm Subsidies like they do. This inhibits localized farming in poorer countries, and nations feeding themselves. Canada and Australia have been on the brunt of these policies for years. I guess another topic! ........jumps off soap box.......
"A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril."
Sir Winston Churchil
The thing about using GMO to feed the "third world" is that many of the crops that are modified will not be reproduce-able. They will live only for one harvest. Next time the farmer will need to buy new. This will keep the poor countries in an eternal dependence and that's not good.
It's not the lack of food that is the major threat, "we" (the first world ) consume to much. That's the problem. "We" could quite easily make quite a difference for their conditions if we made fair trade.
On the GMO safety there is quite a lot to be said, I'm not claiming to know it all but there are dangers with it. Genes that make plants immune against "chemical-weed-removers" (word please:rolleyes: ) have been found in weed. And just by making crops immune to these substances one endorse the use of chemicals that are in fact bad for the nature.
I'm not against GMO, there are areas where this technique is great but I'm not so certain it will stop starvation.
People in the poor countries starve because it suits us in the first world. They die from AIDS of the same reason.
I think alot of people are against it because they have visions of mutant cabbages and "man creating things that were not meant to be."
Here in Australia there is a bit of a public education campaign going to combat this largely irrational fear. Every time GM food is mentioned in the media scientists talk about how it doesn't do anything but make the crop more resistant to diseases and insects, and how it's no different from breeding a dog for a specific purpose. Anyone who thinks it's unnatural to make a better cabbage should also think everything but dingos and wolves are unnatural mutants. It's the same thing as animal breeding just on a smaller scale that requires the use of a lab.
I'm all for it and I'm pretty sure people will get over it sooner or later.
Indeed, as a Biologist I can tell you so much of the 'Frankenstein Food' nonsense is actually scaremongering. People like to have something to campaign against, and unfortunately GM food is an easy scapegoat.
Let me give you an example of a study that was done in England.
As we all know Pesticides are one of the major agricultural industries. Every major crop (non-organic) requires treatment with many kilograms of pesticides per hectare. That in itself is a debate I'm not going to go into. This is one of the major problems holding back the third world, they simply don't have the money to invest in chemicals and produce a competitive yield.
So one of the major bio-technology companies studied the situation. One of the most notable pesticides originates in another plant (I forget which one exactly), and replicated synthetically and sprayed on crops. The point this is a known "safe" chemical that is already sprayed by the ton on the stuff we eat.
They performed an experiment in which they introduced the gene responsible for producing this chemical into Rape. They then performed a study growing this Rape plant in a field, to determine if there was any harmful or detrimental effects. Not forseeing the resulting back-lash, seeing as instead of dumping hundreds of kilograms of pesticides on the soil (and so killing soil organisms, non-target organisms, endangered butterflies, field voles etc). The experiment meant the plants would only kill pest species. The result would also be improved yields, enabling farmers who cannot afford pesticides would have greatly improved yields.
The result? People running through the field in biohazard suits, destroying the plants and ruining a study that was done for sake of safety. You get idiots walking round with placards saying "Monsanto is the Devil".
So much of this is just a load of hype.
That may be true now, but I'm not sure about the future.Originally Posted by Andusciassus
It's highly possible at current growth rates that, by about 2030, the GDP per capita in China will have risen as high as that in the US. This means the average Chinese person should, theoretically, be earning as much money as his American counterpart. Now, what if this were to translate to each citizen trying to live a lifestyle equivallent to his or her western counterpart?
The result would be that China alone would end up consuming as much resources as the entire western world is today.
We've already shown we can't restrict growth, and we can't hold back the economic forces which make people want to consume more. So one answer, surely, is to simply produce more, reducing the impact of that consumption.
Or we could just implode.Originally Posted by The_Giant_Mantis
How?Originally Posted by robotnik
I'm not sure where I stand on GM, I'm probably against it for economic reasons, quite apart from religious ones. That one yield only thing is quite true, and is made worse by the machinations of the WTO and their caps on internal trade, as well as the subsidies on European and US-made food.
Basically, the WTO will not aid any country that is entirely self-sufficient. They have to have at least 5% imports on every good, regardless of their economic circumstances. Add to this that because of the subsidies the Western food is horrendously cheap in comparison to the home-grown stuff that the farmers can't compete and so remain incredibly poor, not allowing an increase in internal aggregate demand and expenditure that is so vital to economic growth. They get leeched of all their money, and if GM helps this, I don't like it. Add to this the fact that genome patenting will probably happen if it isn't already, and you've got a horribly selfish economic situation.