The GMO Debate

Abstract

In this paper I am going to discuss why GMO is good, and why we as humankind favor GMO. Then I will take a turn and present my arguments against GMO. Finally, I will present my views and try to establish why we should not go for GMO and should stick to organic.

Legitimate arguments in favor of the position

Global population is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100 (UN, 2015). While resources like land, water, and air are limited on Earth, the amount of population it will be able to sustain is also limited. But, all the people need to be fed, and with the same limited land and water resources. The fact of the matter is, with growing population and urbanization, the size of farmland will be reduced. We will need to grow double amount of crop by the year 2050 (Foley, n.d.). Now, growing land or any other resources is not possible. So, we can either stop trying to grow more food and let the challenge take care of itself. But that will not really solve any problem. Hence I believe Agriculture – Biological – Technology is our future. Corporations need to invest in research and development now. But here is one option that corporations develop one gene that would transform the food we know now. The food will be more nutritious. And making our crops nutritious is the only viable way to feed everyone on this planet.

For-profit corporations can put their resources toward developing such a modified organism that will enable humanity to avoid malnutrition. Now, the corporation needs the motivation to put their resources in this direction, and this motivation could be a patent on such an organism that will protect their commercial rights. If we do not guarantee the patent and hence the commercial right then no corporation will come forward or invest anything in research and development. And given the fact that population growth is imminent if we do not go for this option, we will not be able to feed the world.

And in case anyone wonders if GMOs are safe, in a 2015 survey by Pew research 9 out of 10 scientists had confirmed that GMO is “generally safe” to eat (Siege, n.d.).

Just to summarize, the planet is getting more populated and we have limited land, water or limited farmland. So, we need to produce more food than ever before otherwise, people, especially people in less fortunate countries will suffer the worst. One solution to the problem is GMO, to produce the crop with more nutrition to feed everyone on the planet. 9 out of 10 scientists consider GMO to be generally safe to consume. If we do not adopt GMO, that might mean food insecurity for billions of people and men, women and kids dying from hunger and malnutrition. So, we can risk that or we can let a corporation put in resources towards Research, let them develop nutritious gene and patent it to reserve commercial rights. If we do not let the corporation secure a return on investment it will not invest anything in research. And as a matter of the fact is if people die from hunger or malnutrition, the corporate will not lose much, since there will be rich and middle-class people to buy the product it manufactures, but lives will be lost as we will stand helpless. And due to less amount of food available, there will be havoc inflation in food price, and that might cause social unrest and global unrest. Without the food security, we can put the whole population under a different type of threat. There is only one answer to all these problems, producing GMO and let the corporation have the patent. Which will expire in years and we will avoid global fallout in the future due to a scarcity of food. And history has shown us how food security changes the word. When humankind started producing and storing grains, they could focus on other creative things and that has helped humanity progress and as a result, we are where we are. So, it is important that we continue growing enough food for all of us in the future.

Legitimate counterarguments against the position

Letting a company have the patent on something as important as nutritious food means putting global food security at hand of a corporation, let them control the price we pay, let the corporation control the food we eat and the amount we eat. But that is not all according to Terry Carter “Genetically modified technologies have subtle but far-reaching and potentially harmful consequences to human and animal health. Alterations to genes penetrate the entire organism. Those genes then carry information foreign to the human or animal who ingests the organism. Even if there are no immediate health consequences, long-term side effects for human and animals could include allergies and altered digestion.” From my personal experience, I can say I am allergic to wheat and corn now, which I developed in recent years, and most probably these GMOs. These grains cause inflammation in my intestine.

There are studies performed those show that GMOs have less crop yield that non-GM (University of Nebraska, 2001). This means we will produce less food from the amount of land we use if we grow GMO instead of non- GMO. In other words, if we grow non-GMO in the land we have available, we could grow more crops to feed everyone.

If we let any corporation have the patent on GMO that is nutritious, that means, it will be like what Monsanto did with soybean. By the year 2008, 90% of soybean in the USA is Monsanto’s GM and half of the global soy in Monsanto’s (Activist Post, 2011). And, these corporations won’t let farmers save seeds for next season. So as a result family farmers lose the job (Rodale, 2017). If corporations start controlling seeds, globally the small farmers will face the problem, and they might actually lose their occupation.

Taking a position

Now that we found out that there will be a huge population to feed and we would need to produce way more food, we have 2 options, let one corporation invent a GMO and get nutritious food, and the corporation will get a patent to secure its commercial rights or the second option is to not to go for GMO and go for organic farming. I would say, as a humanity we should be aware of risk and what is coming and prepare for it. We should select traditional organic farming that made us live and prosper for thousands of years. GMO has unknown risks on health, although people might argue that there is probably no harm, but no one can guarantee that there is no long term negative impact on health. In research in lab animals it is found that GMO food actually damaged there kidneys, lever, adrenal glands, spleen and heart (Rodale, 2017). We would risk our health and give up independence partially if a corporation gets a patent on the food we eat. Let alone the fact that the corporation can increase the price without worrying about people going hungry for making little bit more profit. And, one last point, world is going towards organic, although organic food is not cheap and mostly people with lower income cannot afford it. But, that is mostly because. GMO is mass produced and cheap. If we mass produce organic food, the price will come down and everyone will be able to afford it.

References

Siegel, K , Verity, S (n.d.). What you need to know about GMOs. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/truth-about-gmos#1

United Nations (July,2015). World population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/2015-report.html

Foley, J ( n.d.) . The future of Food. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/feeding-9-billion/

Carter, T (May,2015). Good reasons not to eat genetically modified foods. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/good-reasons-not-to-eat-genetically-modified-foods/2015/05/17/21c86198-fb26-11e4-a47c-e56f4db884ed_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.834cc43af7f7

Activist Post (June,2011). 5 Reasons NOT to eat genetically modified food. Retrieved from https://www.activistpost.com/2011/06/5-reasons-not-to-eat-gmo-foods.html

University of Nebraska (Feb,2001). Glyphosate-Resistant Soybean Cultivar Yields Compared with Sister Lines. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=agronomyfacpub&sei-redir=1#search=%22Glyphosate-resistant%20soyabean%20cultivar%20yields%20compared%20sister%20lines.%20Elmore%2C%20R.W.%20et%20al.%2C%20Agronomy%20Journal%2C%20Vol.%2093%2C%20No.%202%2C%202001%2C%20pp.%20408%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%93412%22

Rodale, M ( December,2017). 12 Reasons to Avoid GMOs. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/12-reasons-to-avoid-gmos_b_1243723.html

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