Writing my commentary this week I came across two amazing statements in support of biotechnology.
I was not ble to use them in their entirety in the peace but wanted to share them here.
This is a great way to sum up the issue of GM food. As I stress in my commentary, stress the benefits not the science.
Alison Van Eenennaam:
This past week the U.S. celebrated Thanksgiving, a wonderful holiday, and we had 14 people over to our house. And as the hostess my task was to serve a safe delicious meal. You know the drill, keeping the raw turkey out of contact with food surfaces, making sure you cook it enough to get rid of food borne illness but not so much as to be dry, all while drinking a glass of wine which probably added to the risks.
But actually food poisoning is a real risk, and 3,000 people a year die of food poisoning. As we gave thanks for this abundant cornucopia, the one risk I was not concerned about was whether any of the food was genetically modified. And I was serving this meal to the people I love most in the world, my dearest friends, my husband, my two teenage sons. Their wellbeing is of paramount importance to me. And as a parent it’s my responsibility to use the best possible information to protect their health and to determine what the scientific consensus is on technology. That is why my kids drink pasteurized milk and have had all of their childhood vaccinations. Sometimes the risks that concern people and the risks that kill people are entirely different. For too long the debate over the merits of genetically modified food has focused on unrealized hypothetical risks and has been conflated with the use of pesticides.
It has not addressed how GM could help with the very real risks faced by the hungry and malnourished. There are costs associated to excessive precaution. Doing nothing is doing something. During the 90 minutes we’ve had this debate, approximately 1,500 people died of hunger, more than all of you here in this room. Hunger and malnutrition are real risks, risks that kill over 20,000 people daily. And most of those who die are children. These are not talking points; they’re people. As a mother and a scientist, what concerns me is the fear-mongering campaign against genetically-modified food has forced [unintelligible] scientists from using this breeding method to help produce more nutritious and sustainable food sources for millions of people. Vote yes for GM food.
Thanks for a great debate and for listening to the commentary. I hope it’s helped provide you more insight into the important science and the important tools that GMOs represent. What I’d like to do is actually highlight what a vote against the motion really means, what it would be like to live in a world without GMO crops, what that would look like. First thing, there’d be a significant impact to the land. Without GMOs, farmers would need to dramatically increase their use of herbicides and insecticides. I estimate it to be about 100 million pounds added to the environment each year. Second, since GMOs improved yields and helped farmers deliver more food in their absence means we’re going to have to farm more land.
And you know, it’s going to take about 120 million acres more land to just keep where we are today. That’s about one California or four New York states. And the pressure that will put on will mean — it will drain more wetlands, will cut down more forests. We’ll look at more prairielands, because people will fundamentally eat. Third, voting against the GMO technology really means exacerbating climate change, because it means we go backwards. We have to manufacture more chemicals. We have to take tractors and run up and down the fields and plow, and we release more greenhouse gas emissions. Banning GMO crops is equivalent to taking and putting 26 million new cars on the road from a greenhouse perspective. It also means higher food prices. North Carolina State just published a study showing that the average family going in — not using GMO crops adds about $3,000 a year to their food bill. And that impacts everybody, and we all bear the cost of that. And finally, voting against GMOs means forgoing all those opportunities that Dr. Van Eenennaam had talked about. You know, it’s a relatively new technology. The future is ahead of us.
our families — and
I hope for the sake of all the people on the planet — that you vote to keep all of our options open and vote yes to support GM food. Thank you.