When did the organic movement become anti-gmo?

The roots of the organic movement lay in the hope of using fewer pesticides and reducing ecological impacts. When this movement decided to hide the pesticides that they use, and when it became an enemy of far more targeted techniques than the radiation (mutation breeding) methods, it emerged from its chrysalis as a full-fledged corporate power.

The idea behind the organic movement is good: using fewer industrial chemicals, reducing logistics, and trying to protect diversity. Unfortunately, it has been pretty badly perverted. The organic movement has been convinced that having plants produce their own Bt (and thus not spraying it into the air or onto the soil) is somehow worse than literally spraying it onto the plants (which is allowed in organic farming).

The movement has gone from one based on a valid idea to something completely different, shunning targeted changes but pretending as if using ionizing radiation on seeds is somehow safe… without testing. Rejecting progress, rejecting and banning things like golden rice (that are literally offered for free to poor farmers in regions where vitamin A is difficult to become in one’s diet) based solely on the argument that it isn’t “natural,” all while using radiation to create unclear changes that will not be tested for their safety.

The system is on its head, and it is beyond irrational to forbid crops containing extra ß-carotene based on a misconception, and it is sad to dismiss the limited effects of Bt incorporation into crops in favor of growing fields of chrysanthemums in Kenya (Pyrethrum/Pyrethrins) to be ground up, shipped, and then sprayed onto plants to unselectively kill insects that try to eat it. Where is the reduction of ecological impact in this model? It isn’t there. Hundred of millions are being sold a false appeal to nature, having the wool pulled over their eyes, literally to power a machine that is dedicated entirely to profit.

There is nothing about genetic engineering that makes it inherently risky, and in many ways it is less risky than current mutation breeding practices.

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In the same way that some renewable energies are in no way renewable, some of the practices and rules governing organic farming are in no way environmentally friendly or safer than alternatives. Genetic engineering is not your enemy and in many situations it can be used for good, to help both the environment and farmers.

If you are extremely are worried about your food and its ecological or health impact, and do not want to educate yourself about what pesticides are used on what crop under what conditions, then please consider growing your own.

About Author

Michael Thomas

I come from Boston, Massachusetts, but currently live in Germany, where I study biology. I am politically active and am working on creating my own political movement based on the idea of the government and politicians being almost totally transparent, and localized/decentralized decision making.

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