Potentially Postitive Uses of GMOs
In the past (see my previous post here) I have been decidedly an adamant critic of Genetic Engineering and GMOs (genetically modified organisms). In this post I am going to do something completely different and share with you some potential positive uses that I see for this new technology.
First of all, I would like say that I am all for scientific and technological discovery and advancements. I do think, however, that technology and advancements should be monitored and scrutinized carefully and even banned, if necessary, especially when they have the potential to be comprehensively destructive, like nuclear weapons. While I am not completely against research into genetic engineering I do believe that it should be carefully monitored (and possibly banned) because it does have the potential to create irreversible damage on the planet and even cause our own extinction. In this sense, having corporations pursue genetic engineering is very much like having them take care of all of our nuclear weapons – not a very comforting idea and yet this is what is going on now.
However, for all the negative aspects of Genetic Engineering there are potentially positive ones and the only reason for this uncertainty is because we really do not know what the impact of new GM species will be on the global ecosystem. The only thing we do know is that it will be irreversible. At this time, GM corn and soy crops have been in the food chain for a number of years without any significant impact, but it may takes many more years before any significant change could occur and many more years on top of that before we actually find out of indeed if the GM crop was suspect.
If we are to look at the whole issue objectively and from a much larger macrobiotic perspective then it could be said that GE manipulation is an evolutionary leap in humanity’s ongoing efforts to domesticate and control it’s own food that began when we switched from being foragers to farmers. When that switch happened it allowed for us to build massive civilizations that now span the entire globe and even into the reaches of outer space. If we continue to tamper with our food supply then we will not only surely create a host of new diseases but we may also find ourselves evolving into a newer species. In other words, in time, it could very well be the end of the human species and race as we know it either by extinction or by evolutionary development. However, that won’t happen for awhile and in the meantime many more GE organisms will be unleashed, for better or worse on the planet and, at this point, there is simply not enough evidence to say which way things will go.
The real issue concerning GE is not whether or not it is dangerous to humanity and other living things but whether or not such a technology should be in the hands of corporations who have no concern for the public beyond making a profit for their shareholders. The only reason why corporations have any interest in GE is because of the ruling that allowed for the patenting of GE life forms. If that were removed then there would be no incentive for corporations to use GE for anything. Repealing these rulings is where the Anti GMO movement should focus their efforts. This is the direction that protesters in Europe are focusing their efforts (see: http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/ ) and people in North America should do the same.
On the other hand, Monsanto has made some pretty stupid mistakes in rolling out it’s line of GM seeds. Their first efforts have been to produce “Round-Up Ready” GM seeds and crops designed to promote the use of their toxic product. Had they been smart they should have started by introducing seeds that lower the need for additional pollutants on the soil. Furthermore, they could have sought to introduce seeds for crops that are not food such as cotton. By taking this approach they could have avoided or at least lessened the backlash from the organic industry.Instead they chose basic food crops with GM seeds designed to increase agricultural chemical use. This naturally caused an outrage from the start and has cost Monsanto, no doubt, millions.
GM products could be developed for any number of non food uses that could have been possibly more acceptable to the organic industry. For example: long-fiber organic cotton plants grown in various colors such as blue (for blue jeans) and others. This could eliminate the need for the highly toxic process of dying white cotton while making everything permanently color-fast.
When it comes to food, there could be a future use for GM crops. As I mentioned before, the evolutionary development of humans controlling their food has allowed us to live on every continent in the world. GM research could focus on developing more edible plants that could survive in hostile conditions on earth. And if we plan to colonize the Moon or another planet then GM research could come in handy to discover what types of food and crops could grow there. The possibilities are endless and the manipulation of our food on a genetic level could be as big an evolutionary leap as it was when we went from foragers to farmers.
But such a potential also comes with an equal amount of danger. If unchecked we could wipe ourselves out of existence and it is for this reason that I stand with and among the Organic Industry and all others who wish to stop Monsanto and all other Biotech firms from tampering with our food. To succeed, all we really need to do is to lobby for repealing the ruling that allowed for the patenting of life forms.