Monday, January 07, 2013

Celebrities’ GM crusade stops science feeding the poor

The environmentalist Mark Lynas said GM crops could help provide more food at a lower price by reducing the need for pesticides and fertilisers. He said the poorest people of the world could benefit from crops with added nutritional benefits or designed to resist droughts and floods, but such crops were not being developed because people in positions of power said GM was dangerous. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the chef, the gardener Monty Don and the Prince of Wales have all spoken against GM. “My message to the anti-GM lobby, from the ranks of the British aristocrats and celebrity chefs to the US foodies to the peasant groups of India is this: you are entitled to your views, but you must know by now that they are not supported by science,” said Mr Lynas. “We are coming to a crunch point, and for the sake of both people and the planet, now is the time for you to get out of the way and let the rest of us get on with feeding the world sustainably.” Mr Lynas, author of The God Species, apologised for previously opposing GM crops. Speaking to the Oxford Farming Conference, Mr Lynas said the argument for GM crops was now “rock solid”. He said trillions of GM meals had been eaten without any deleterious health effects and that in 2011, an area of land six times the size of Britain was planted with GM crops without harming the environment. The public must be taught the benefits of GM so an “avalanche” of regulations suffocating the technology and “not based on any rational scientific assessment” were lifted, said Mr Lynas...more

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