Day by Day

Monday, January 07, 2013

Environmentalist Ignorance - GMO


A while back I told appreciative Gualala Rotarians of the benefits to mankind (and safety) of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), and criticized the ignorance and unscientific biases that resulted in the passage of Measure H, the Mendocino County GMO ban. As characterized in Wikipedia, “Mendocino is famous for being a bastion of rural counter-culture where many liberal activists and members of California’s hippie generation led a ‘back to the land movement’ during the 1970s.”
Happily, I found unlikely reinforcement from Greenpeace environmental activist Mark Lynas in his “Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference,” January 3, 2013. Lynas had significantly contributed to an unscientific and emotional environment that led governments around the world – especially Western Europe, Asia, and Africa – to ban GMOs. 
Thus spake Lynas:
“I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologize for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.
“As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter- productive path. I now regret it completely.
“So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.”
His lecture is fascinating, but it's 5,000 words long, so everyone who dares risk having their ignorance confronted and expelled should read it online (http://www.marklynas.org/ ).

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