Thursday, July 23, 2009

GMe Some Rice, Please

In the most recent issue of Rice Today, the publication of the International Rice Research Institute (this month's centerfold: sexy, sexy pilaf), another convincing argument is made in favor of genetically modified crops. According to the institute, 70% of the world's food-growing areas are drying out due to climate change. This is especially troubling when it comes to rice crops, since rice is so heavily dependent on water and is a dietary staple of three billion people (many of them poor) worldwide. GM rice requires less water and produces higher yields than so-called "natural" rice. So what's the problem? Like always, morons. Specifically, morons who believe without any shred of evidence that GM crops are harmful in and of themselves and have leveraged this ignorant belief to legislate against the importing or exporting of GM crops. There are decent arguments that some of the companies that produce GM crops don't have a decent record when it comes to protecting the environment or caring at all about the lives of human beings. But that doesn't excuse the many other GM critics who blather on about bio-engineered foods destroying local farmers' livelihoods or ransacking people's health. To review: a basic understanding of genetics can tell you that eating a tortilla made from GM corn isn't going to make you grow bat wings. And where is your concern for the livelihood of poor farmers when they're being driven even further into poverty and death because they're not allowed to grow crops that can survive the weather? In a very real sense, GM critics can eat it. More details here.