Time for a Big Freeze?

Posted on 17 Jan 2012 in Protect Nature | 1 comment

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The use of genetic engineering into our food is a hot topic! For hiSbe, the issue is not the science itself, it’s about how it’s being used…

It’s crucial to explore innovative ways to feed people healthily and protect the planet at the same time. However, to date, the genetic modification of plants and animals for food has not been approached in this way, because GM technology is in the hands of big chemical companies developing it purely for profit.

They are making and patenting new types of products, like GM corn, GM potatoes and GM wheat and pushing them out into the food supply chain all over the world with little understanding of the impact on people’s health, the land and the environment.

Colin Tudge, founder of the Campaign for Real Farming, puts it best in this article.

He says, “The point of GM is not to increase food security but to make a few rich companies richer and give them even more control. Governments like this because visible money is called GDP, which can be called “economic growth”….”

Yet all over Europe the general public and many businesses, environmental groups and charity organisations are firmly against GM! The question is, what can we do about it? Well, we like the approach of GM Freeze.

GM Freeze is an alliance of organisations like The Soil Association, Ethical Consumer and War on Want, that we support because they champion doing the right thing over just doing the profitable thing.

GM Freeze is demanding a Big Freeze on GMO going any further into our food system until there is an unbiased review of the benefits and risks. They pressurise Government and supermarkets with campaigns like this one, which focuses on a GM wheat trial planned in Hertfordshire for Spring 2012.

The new genetically modified wheat will emit a chemical intended to keep aphids (greenflies, black-flies and whiteflies) off the crop. There is no market for this product. There is no demand for this product. It has not been tested for human consumption and has no benefit for consumers. It does a job that can already be done with natural methods using aphid predators, like ladybirds. And yet, there’s a high risk that the GM wheat will cross-pollinate with nearby wheat crops and grasses, contaminate them and spread unchecked.

It’s easy to add your voice to this campaign. We can all help build a food system that feeds people healthily and sustainably in ways that care for the land, instead of harming it. That’s why Protect Nature is one of hiSbe‘s 8 Everyday Choices.

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One comment

  1. Oliver Dowding / May 28th, 2012 17:01

    This is a very good blog. It’s so sad that we’re spending so long talking about GM, is it such a red herring.

    I’ve just submitted this input onto Sir John Beddington’s blog. He’s the government’s chief science adviser. Forgive me for posting the same comments here, but they seem to be the pertinent ones in the debate, that much like the proverbial elephant in the room, nobody is prepared to discuss with any degree of seriousness. Yet, if we did so, the problems wouldn’t be so great that we’re trying to solve, and the risks and the severity of solutions wouldn’t be so dangerous and untried.

    Sir John said in his blog “Most importantly, we need agriculture to work harder to reduce hunger by improving the sustainability of the food system around the world” to which I replied…..

    I disagree. Agriculture does not need to work harder nor produced more from its depleting natural resources. This is how we’re going to solve the world food problem.

    1. We are going to tell people that they are gluttonous and consuming significantly more than their body requires for maintenance and health. That in itself will save a massive amount of demand upon the earth’s resources as less food will need to be produced. There will likely be a balance on the supply side which can be used to equate the shortage in other parts of the world where required.

    2. By doing this, we will simultaneously have an effect which is positive upon the health of all those who are currently obese. The vast financial resources that we will save can be deployed to much more productive and long-term projects.

    3. If only the relevant government departments would get to work on the absurd level of perfectly edible food which is currently wasted, the need which Sir John and others perceive for us all to produce more would be appreciated as not required. It’s a tiny example, but my daughter has been living very healthily from the waste (non-meat) in skips in Newcastle whilst at university.

    These are just the starting blocks, but they are huge starting blocks. With the right willpower they can be achieved far faster than any scientific project will deliver significant change. Furthermore, they don’t have the risk of nasty side-effects, and will provide long-lasting benefits for everybody.

    What would be wrong with announcing this to be the new policy mix?

    Reply

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