The arguments on genetically modified organisms are heating up with 286 rallies planned in 36 countries supporting the Global March Against Monsanto planned for today (May 25). In Hawaii, where the major biotech companies have performed more than 5,000 open-field tests on an estimated 16,187 to 24,281 hectares of land without disclosure, bitter memories of the sugar corporations that influenced the U.S. coup of 1893 are resurfacing. Before the coup Hawaiians were self-sufficient in food production and now they import 92 per cent.
The GMO arguments are impossible for the average citizen to follow. I got stuck at consideration of “recombination versus pseudo-recombination” in one article and decided that the very cloudiness of the discourse leads me to reject the aggressive attempts to push this very new technology regardless of widespread disagreements among scientists and the public.
The fervour of the GMO pushers reminds me of the demands by nuclear fission power proponents that we trust them and stop resisting the imposition of plants with no assurance of safe disposal of radioactive waste.
No, I am not disposed to trust scientists who are in such an almighty rush to replace conventional agriculture with strange new breeds including genetic materials that may well be every bit as nasty in their own way as ionising radiation firing through human tissue.
I am strongly in favour of evidence-based reasoning but even evidence-based persuasion is easily corrupted by careful choice of which evidence to present. Some of the gmo proponents reject the argument that those who stand to profit, either academically or financially have conflicts of interest on the issue. I am not in favour of the notion that a benign technofix can be found to solve every technical misstep.
I like simple, natural products, food, clothing and housing. I like simple, natural regulations to protect us from interests that conflict with the general good.
There come times when we have to take positions based on information we have and our own judgment.
Time will tell which is trustworthy.
At this time, I don’t see where the science is leading and I am not convinced by people who say they have answers based on superior knowledge. Too much of that knowledge was bought and paid for by those who stand to profit and their friends in governments.
Marjorie Stewart is Nanaimo Foodshare Society’s board chairwoman. She can be reached at: marjorie firstname.lastname@example.org.