Genetically Modified Foods: Global Savior or Anti-agriculture biological terrorists? Part I. GM foods: Global Savior? Discuss the economic and social benefits of genetically modified food. In a time of global warming, economic turmoil, rising food prices and wide spread famine, the topic of genetically modified food is vital and relevant. Consider the pros of Genetically modified food: • Lower production costs and higher yield over a smaller amount of time. • Saves the use of toxic chemicals. GM crops can be made resistant to pests, so pesticides do not need to be sprayed on them. • Prevents wasted crops. If pests cannot eat the crops, nothing goes to waste. • It could potentially solve world hunger. • We can begin to grow foods in different conditions. For instance, strawberries can be genetically engineered to grow in frosts. Other foods that grow in cold climates could be engineered to grow in hot climates (such as Africa where much of the continent does not have enough food). • Some foods can be genetically modifies to contain higher amounts of important vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A deficiencies cause blindness. In Africa, 500,000 go blind each year. If rice can be modified to contain more vitamin A, the amount of people going blind will decrease. • As more research is done the technology is bound to improve. Scientists are already considering genetic modification to make fish, nuts and plants grow faster. Part II. GM foods Bio-Terrorists? Discuss the Moral, health, economic and social implications. If left uncontrolled, genetically modified foods represent an extremely serious threat to our future. Consider the physical and psychological effects of tampering with the natural process of plant and animal growth and development. • Discuss the long-term effects of consuming “cloned” food and their long-term effects on all life on earth. • What are the limits of human manipulation to the natural world?- Scientists can choose which genes to manipulate, but they don’t yet know where in the DNA to precisely insert these genes and they have no way of controlling gene expression. Genes don’t work in isolation, changing a few could change the whole picture, with unpredictable and different effects under different circumstances. • Many GM companies don’t label their foods as being GM foods. There is concern about a GM bias affecting business. But not labeling is wrong and unfair to the consumers who should have the right to know what they are buying and indeed to decide whether they want to buy GM food or not. Even if health safety factors are not an issue, some people might have moral or religious objections. They should not have to eat GM food if they don’t want to. • GM food will end food diversity if everyone starts growing the same standardized crops. • Herbicide-resistant and pesticide-resistant crops could give rise to super-weeds and super-pests that would need newer, stronger chemicals to destroy them. • GM crops could cross-pollinate with nearby non-GM plants and create ecological problems. If this were to happen with GM foods containing vaccines, antibiotics, contraceptives and so on, it would very well turn into a human health nightmare. • The claim of ending world hunger with GM food is a false claim. World hunger is not caused by shortage of food production, but by sheer mismanagement, and lack of access to food brought about by various social, financial and political causes. • The GM technology companies patent their crops and also engineer crops so that harvested grain germs are incapable of developing. This is not empowering to impoverished Third World farmers, who cannot save seeds for replanting and have to buy expensive seeds from the companies every time. The new technology also interferes with their traditional agricultural ways which may be more suited to their conditions. Part III. A global shift in Agro-thinking: from farmlands to the city. Form a conclusive argument against GM foods in the global food supply and global food aid. • Argue that instead of going for GM food, there should be a focus on Organic Subsistence Farming, with a strong focus on Urban Agriculture. • Argue for a push towards Organic Subsistence farming which encourages families and communities to produce their own organic food. Furthermore, focus your argument on Urban Agriculture, which is a forward-thinking method, of cultivating, processing and distributing food in, or around a village, town or city. Urban agriculture contributes to local food security and food safety in two ways: first, it increases the amount of food available to people living in cities, and, second, it allows fresh vegetables and fruits and meat products to be made available to urban consumers. A common and efficient form of urban agriculture is the bio-intensive method. Because urban agriculture promotes energy-saving local food production, urban and peri-urban agriculture are generally seen as sustainable practices.
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