The Great GMO Debate

Before reading: I have done a debate on this topic before (in my science class). Although my group won, it was just a debate to see who provided more support for your side.

For those of you that don’t know what GMOs are: They are Genetically Modified Organisms. It’s when the DNA of an organism has been altered (hence the name). GMOs are a huge controversy in the world. Are they more helpful or more harmful? That’s fully up to you to determine.

According to http://livingnongmo.org, a profusion of developed countries consider GMOs to be harmful. Some of those countries include; Japan, Australia, and those in the European Union. But, places such as the U.S. and Canada have approved the use of GMOs. So why are some of the biggest countries (in name) not using GMOs while others are? The answer: profit. Countries like the U.S. use the companies that produce GMOs, for money. Apparently money can be more important than health. GMOs are found to spark intestinal damage, create food allergies (which is a sign of immune system flaws), deaths in animals (thousands of sheep, goats, and buffalo in India died from grazing GM cotton), and led to sterilization issues in animals (one study found that the more GM corn a rat was fed, the less babies that they had, along with smaller babies). Another sterilization issue: by the third generation of hamsters that were fed GM soy, they were unable to have babies. (I got the information on health risks from http://responsibletechnology.org)

But, GMOs are needed to produce enough food for the world (http://www.thelugarcenter.org). GM crops are more efficient and use less of the agricultural inputs to produce just about the same amount of food. Which is great, but we still need to make a greater quantity for the world. Particularly because the world’s population is expected to grow by 2 billion in 30 years. With that much food that needs to be produced, it will cost a ton of money. And it doesn’t help that GMOs cost more than non-GMOs by a whole whopping $80.65 per acre. Although it can be more expensive, the seed alteration does help farmers use less pesticides. The adjustment allows the plant to create it’s own pesticide, in a way. Though, it’s creating the impression that the plant can withstand anything that would-and should-occur naturally. In fact, scientists are actually working on ways to make the GM crops resistant to flooding, droughts, and the cold. It’s a nice touch because so many crops get destroyed because of those natural occurrences. On the other hand, they are making something that is not normal. At least, the seeds will ensure our future in case climate change isn’t solved. What has me wondering is: why are you making a seed that tolerates climate change, when some of you don’t believe in climate change? It’s just that when you go to make a super seed that can hold up against flooding and droughts, you don’t think about what’s causing it? You need to question it. Why are there more floods occurring now than in past years? When you answer that question, move on to the next one. How do we solve this? How can we ensure the survival of crops in this location? That is how you would figure out if you should create that super seed. If there is a way to fix the problem, don’t make a seed that could cause more.

One last thing. GMOs tend to last longer than non-GMOs. It’s favorable because when the food is in transit, it won’t start to spoil by the time it gets to stores. This is certainly important for stores that aren’t located close to farms or factories. But, it can also be alarming to see a food that should have been long thrown out, but you can still eat it (see picture).

Genetically modified crops seem to have great benefits, but also huge negatives. Sometimes it can be good to use GMOs, other times not so much. It all depends. But, as of right now, which one seems worse? Natural or genetically modified? Leave your thoughts in the comments, I want to know what you think.

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