Controversy concerning Section 735 of the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, also known as the Monsanto Protection Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama, has been somewhat overlooked during the Supreme Court of the United States’ review of the Defense of Marriage Act. However, environmentalists are no less hesitant to espouse their anti-science, interventionist stance concerning genetically modified organisms, also known as GMOs.
It may be counterintuitive, but the left-leaning environmentalist movement is engaged in a war that is as equally anti-science and anti-man as the far right. Instead of politicizing pressing issues, both sides of the aisle evoke a moralization of these issues coupled with a holier-than-thou disposition.
Comparable hypocrisy aside, science, GMOs and fossil fuels are saving humanity and the environment.
Anti-GMO advocates occupy the position that GM foods are unsafe and, therefore, disapprove of the Monsanto Protection Act provision that GM foods are immune from litigation despite possible health risks that GMOs may pose in the future. Some anti-GMO advocates actually call for a complete ban of GM foods.
This is the most anti-humanitarian position one can take because there are no studies that have proven long-term negative health effects in humans related to GMO consumption and GM food such as “golden rice,” the brainchild of legendary plant breeder Peter Jennings, are substantially more nutritious than its non-GM contemporaries.
According to an episode of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” “Millions of people in Asia and Africa don’t get enough of this vital nutrient, so this rice has become the symbol of an idea: that genetically engineered crops can be a tool to improve the lives of the poor.”
Single servings of GM rice can supply a child with 60 percent of his or her daily vitamin A intake, an attribute organic and non-GM rice lack.
GM foods also make it possible to grow more food on less acreage, and the same can be said for fossil fuels — another enemy of the environmentalist movement.
According to a 2008 study in “Nature Geoscience,” crops grown using fertilizers that use synthetic nitrogen produced from fossil fuels fed 48 percent of the world’s population.
In addition to fossil fuels aiding the production of food, they have also impeded on man’s environmental footprint by battling deforestation and cropland conversion, thus preserving biodiversity.
Absent fossil fuels and GMOs, cropland would need to increase up to 150 percent to feed mankind when habitat conversion is already the greatest threat to biodiversity.
The environmentalist movement is greener-than-thou just as the far right is holier-than-thou. Although the right is preoccupied with the notion that the unborn hold more prestige than an adult woman or someone with HIV, the left is concerned with the sanctity of foods.
Anti-GMO activists should recognize their hypocrisy and/or find peaceful common ground with their anti-science, anti-human progress, far-right counterparts.
Thomas Ryan is a political science major at Sante Fe College.