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Slate: Leading Environmental Activist's Blunt Confession: I Was Completely Wrong To Oppose GMOs (January 3, 2013)
Lynas has changed his mind--and he's not being quiet about it. On Thursday at the Oxford Farming Conference, Lynas delivered a blunt address: He got GMOs wrong. According to the version of his remarks posted online (as yet, there's no video or transcript of the actual delivery), he opened with a bang:
I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise 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 demonising 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 honest assessment of his heretofore poor understanding of the issue continues for almost 5,000 words--and it's a must-read for anyone who has ever hesitated over conventional produce. To vilify GMOs is to be as anti-science as climate-change deniers, he says. To feed a growing world population (with an exploding middle class demanding more and better-quality food), we must take advantage of all the technology available to us, including GMOs. To insist on "natural" agriculture and livestock is to doom people to starvation, and there's no logical reason to prefer the old ways, either. Moreover, the reason why big companies dominate the industry is that anti-GMO activists and policymakers have made it too difficult for small startups to enter the field.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 04:18:17 PM EST
I was seeing a lot of "this proves GMOs are ok" stuff over on fb when this broke.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:10:50 PM EST
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I confess irritation.  If the doofus didn't understand the science then he should have kept his *^&#%#@! mouth shut.  Oh well, whatever.

GM crops are facing declining yields as the pests evolve ways to eat 'em.  Coupled with higher seed costs for GM cultivars I'm expecting the whole thing to become moot in about 10 years.  We may, or may not, have bees in ten years ... but who cares about them?


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:28:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moreover, the reason why big companies dominate the industry is that anti-GMO activists and policymakers have made it too difficult for small startups to enter the field.

Silly me! Here I was thinking that the reason big companies dominate the industry was intellectual property rights. Perhaps Mark Lynas will push for making such rights public domain. That might quash thoughts that he might be a newly minted GMO shill - unless evidence of a financial relationship emerged.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 11:05:51 PM EST
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If he's making out that science has proved that GMOs are the only way to feed a growing population with "quality" food, then he'd better show that science.

(Repeat: most science on GMOs is corporate property under the seal of trade secret).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 02:16:28 AM EST
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  1. There's plenty of evidence of GM contamination of normal crops - this wouldn't matter except that Monsanto will then sue you...

  2. There's no meaningful studies of the environmental impact of GM crops, particularly on the food chain. To suggest that this absence of studies makes GM crops safe to be used out in the fields is not scientific.

  3. There's already evidence of Roundup resistant weeds in GM fields in the USA. Maybe it would be "scientific" to think about resistance as a problem?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 11:57:01 AM EST
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