Monday, February 18, 2013

Can we be gmo free?

This blog post is not about the evils of gmo agricultural, there are plenty of posts about that here and elsewhere. Instead is liked to focus on the debate itself. I often perceive a missing element in listening to conversations on this.

Three gmo free supporter generally focuses on health dangers of gmo crops, in the permanent and irreversible damage caused by gmo farming. There is certainly plenty of evidence to support this.

The gmo supporter generally focuses on the need to feed the world, farmers to make a profit, stoping world hunger. This is certainly a  noble cause.

The ani gmo supporter counters back with the evidence of farms who have successfully switched away from gmo and survived, even prospered... Pointing out the studies showing that gmos don't actually increase yield as promised, at super weeds and bugs threatening to devastate crops.

The gmo supporter pulls out his evidence of goodness brought about by gmo science.

And on it goes....

But wait. There us a debate beneath the debate. If we step back a second, this isn't really about gmo or not. Gmo is just the next logical and necessary step in conventional agricultural. This is actually he same old debate, never settled, that i watched my dad waged in the seventies. It is the organic vs chemical debate.

You see, conventional (chemical based) agricultural has failed, and in a desperate attempt to keep that entire industry alive, comes gmos. Originally gmo science was created because the crops could not withstand the growing levels of chemicals (poisons) necessary in chemical farming.  Every decade of conventional farming has brought more resistance in weed and insect, requiring higher application of poisons. The biochem companies recognized this trend and set about to solve it by undressing the desirable plants ability to withstand  poison. While stronger plants might at first seem a good thing, one must ask the question what are the consequences? This gives birth to the anti gmo movement.

But... Removing gmo science and option from the toolbox of the conventional farmer is a problem. Remember why gmo as invented? Because conventional (poison chemical) based farming failed. It is not sustainable. Weeds and bugs gain resistance and poisons no longer work. The ground becomes devoid of nutrients and yields drop. Changing the nature of plants (genetic modification) us the only way to sustain chemical farming because nature resists poison based approaches.

So, reality is.... Removing gmo option does mean failure UNLESS there's is a return to nature based organic farming. Therefore thus debates is really about organic or conventional. Trying to force a return to noon gmo conventional farming is pointless and does in fact mean lower yields and higher costs without returning instead to organic methods. The very existence if gmo is evidence if this fact.

Am i saying that we must have gmo crops to survive? Heaven forbid! I am saying that we must recognize that this debate has only two successful outcomes: increased poison based agricultural through gmo OR a return to traditional organic agricultural. Non gmo conventional agriculture is just not a viable option.

One of the necessary elements of success in a battle is understanding the battlefield as well it better than the opposition. we would be well served to remember this.

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