What it’s like Discussing GMOs on the Internet
Every single time…
Anti-GM activist: GMOS ARE BAD!
Anti-GM: Because GMO’s were created in a lab and that’s not natural!
Me: All of our crop varieties have been bred and created in labs for quite some time. Researchers and scientists are creating new crops every day whether by genetic engineering methods or otherwise. There are a plethora of plant breeding techniques that let us create new crops that better feed us.
Anti: but GMOs cause more pesticide use!
Me: Some GMOs are resistant to pesticides and others were created to use less pesticide. The ones that are resistant to pesticides also let the farmers use less because they can spray them specifically when the weeds or bugs are most susceptible and this also helps to reduce pesticide resistance.
This video from Brian Scott demonstrates how much glyphosate is used on his soybean fields and when it is applied:
Anti: but Monsanto —
Me: Let’s not even go there… unless you really want to
Anti: GMO’s have made us only grow one kind of crop for each species and that’s bad for the environment and for food production!
Me: We have far more seed varieties today than we did back then and that’s partially because of GM traits. Our ability to bounce back from the dangers of continuing monocultures is helped by the increase in the amount of seed varieties that we have. Monoculture is definitely bad for the environment and farmers have realized this. It didn’t happen because of GMO’s though. The kind of wheat that has been monocultured is non-GM (there is no GMO wheat). Many farmers are implementing more sustainable practices that reduce the monoculture effect and promote greater biodiversity.
Anti: GMO’s should at least be labeled so people know what they’re eating! Who knows what foods are actually GMO and we don’t know it!
Me: You don’t need a label, there are only 8(+2) GMO crops in the US today.
They are Corn, Soybeans, Alfalfa (used in feed for animals), Cotton, Papaya, Squash, Canola (for cooking oil), and Sugar Beets (used for processed sugars). Apples and potatoes are GM crops approved for market but not widely available yet.
Everything else is not a GMO.
Anti: These foods have been let on the market with no testing!
Me: It takes an average of 13 years to get a single transgenic crop trait on the market. Countless numbers of all sorts of tests are required in order to be approved by the FDA. For example here’s the paper submitted to allow GMO Apples to be approved.
Thanks Jeremy Puma for the inspiration!
See Jeremy’s version of this discussion providing his experience:
In his original article, Jeremy points out that he is frustrated with being called anti-science and constantly having studies used as evidence. The approach here was to explain GMOs without using a single scientific study.