GMOs have a noted terrible reputation, but the fact is, as long as people are kept aware and the food is consistently tested for safety they are actually perfectly healthy and great for the environment. In 2017 there’s really no reason why we should ignore the progress science is capable of making in food development especially considering the fact that the alleged dangers of GM crops have been assessed and then dismissed by the EU, WHO, National Academy of Sciences and Health Canada.
Many of the people against GMOs are those who believe that the world should be using exclusively organic farms. However, while organic farms absolutely use less energy and emit less greenhouse gas they also produce fewer crops. That means that in order to grow the same amount as a regular or GM farm more land is needed. With more land so rises the energy use and the greenhouse gas emissions, putting them on par with non-organic farms, though about 10% higher in nitrous oxide, ammonia and acidification levels. Beyond that the most promising way to reduce farming emissions, find ways to harness solar power in farms and to use less fertilizer is to continue developing the technology in GMOs.
Speaking of pesticides, organic farming does still use them. They might not be as serious as those used in non-organic, non-GMO farms, however, these ‘natural’ pesticides still contain copper sulphate which has been known to result in liver disease. Although organic food is a very nice idea that is great in many ways, it’s also a rich world phenomenon. The idea that organic farming should be the world exclusive is an impossible ideal that would leave billions without food. The price raise in organic foods is a result of the inputs necessary to grow more organic foods – including land to grow and labour-intensive processes like tilling and weed removal. Like marking organic food many people advocate for climate labels on food that would allow for consumers to understand the real impact the food they buy has had on the planet, while websites like CarbonCounted attempted to do so, they, like many others went out of business quickly.
Although in a perfect Utopia we would all have our own perfect organic farms that had no greenhouse gas emissions, feeding the world isn’t that simple. Organic farming is a luxury almost exclusively known to North America and Europe and sadly it’s not possible in most other places. Science is an effective way to feed billions that won’t destroy the planet at the same time – science has been given the time to evolve our transportation, our communication and our housing, why not also our food? GMOs allow for cut downs on pesticide use, fuel consumption and land use. They represent a step forward in evolution and while their path there hasn’t been flawless, scientists and GMO farmers deserve the opportunity to experiment with what they can do so long as they are subject to safety testing. And, Bill Nye is into it!