On September 13, 2019 Cameron English posted the article, GMO, CRISPR-edited crops can cut pesticide use—if environmental activists do not block them. He explained that in 2017, the University of Florida plant geneticists Zhonglin Mou and Kevin Folta, announced a new method to fight common diseases in fruit plants. Their discovery could drastically reduce the use of fungicides if widely implemented by growers. Unfortunately, their methods may never be put to use as a result of the unwarranted controversy surrounding crop biotechnology.
Scientists continue to make agriculture safer and more sustainable with the tools of modern genetics, but activists have waged such an effective scare campaign against crop biotechnology that it often remains unused by industry.
Opponents don’t want to know about these advances in food and human health since environmentalism has become the religion of the liberal activist. In their worship of the planet they self-righteously believe they’re morally superior to the rest of us in their “all natural” views. It would be nice if they had to take responsibility for the consequences in human suffering they’re “all natural” views produce in preventing these major crop engineering advances.
Twenty years ago genetic engineering created a special grain called Golden Rice that contains the precursor to Vitamin A, called beta-Carotin. Our bodies convert beta-Carotin to Vitamin A, which is critical for our eyesight and overall health. Conventional rice, the primary carbohydrate in the diet of the people of Southeast Asia, does not contain Beta-Carotin which therefore leads to a deficiency in vitamin A. By now Golden Rice should have been a staple in the diet of these people. Vitamin A Deficiency has its greatest impact on small children and pregnant women. In 2012 the World Health Organization reported that 250 million preschool children are affected by Vitamin A Deficiency each year. Nearly a third of them die prematurely within five years. Providing those children with Golden Rice, containing beta-carotin, could prevent a third of all deaths of children under five years of age in Southeast Asia.
Marc Brazeau in his March 5, 2019 article Golden Rice is coming. Finally! Will it be the game-changer hinted at for almost 20 years? said, “the government of Bangladesh is about to approve Golden Rice for commercial release.
This is wonderful news for Bangladesh and perhaps eventually for all of Southeast Asia for humanitarian and economic development reasons. It is also great news for the continuing debate surrounding the use of biotechnology in agriculture. Golden Rice occupied a space in the debate as the Great Golden Hope of Biotech Crops, a wholly virtuous crop devoid of the commercial concerns of intellectual property or profit motive. In this case, the genetic variation creating the vitamin A in rice is being donated, by the non-profit organization that developed it, to farmers and local breeding programs.
Golden rice was never linked to ‘industrial agriculture’, its key trait is not tied to pesticide use, so what was the cause of opposition to it. In the minds of opponents it represented a successful genetic modification whose properties could save lives, which contradicted their desire to reduce the world’s population. It might remind you of Paul Ehrlich, prominent anti-humanist, who said “allowing cheap energy is like placing a machine gun in the hands of an idiot child”
Activists are constantly touting the idea that what they do “is for the children”. When people base their actions on an appeal to emotion, you need to start looking closely at what they’re really promoting. What these activists have done isn’t “for” the children, what they’ve done has been “to” the children. From DDT to GMO’s the green movement is now, and has always been plain evil. As to Golden Rice alone, if we accept the World Health Organization’s estimate of 2.7 million premature deaths a year it comes to 54 million children whose lives would have been saved in the past 20 years.
If GMO techniques become common place agriculture will be able to produce food in an abundance that we never imagined. It will be done with less land use, less pesticides, less labor, less cost and in some cases less water will be needed, all of which makes agriculture amazingly “sustainable”. Isn’t “sustainability” our ultimate goal? Yet, these “all natural”, “anti-pesticide”, “sustainability” advocate” oppose this. Why?
Environmental activists are not really against pesticides, land use, water use or GMO’s, and they don’t really care about “sustainability”. What they are against is humanity. The radicals among these activists think humanity is a plague on the planet that needs to be eradicated. The “moderates” only want to eliminate a few billion people.
We are outraged by the actions of the socialist monsters of the 20th century who murdered over 100 million people in Russia, China and Germany. Yet environmentalism has probably been responsible for the deaths of many more, with the ban on DDT, Golden rice and other genetically improved foods. Where is the outrage over that?
We need to understand the green movement is irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. That’s history, and that history is incontestable.