Giving Compass’ Take:
• On this episode of the Climate One podcast, the debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is aired, with a representative from Monsanto defending the agrotechnology, while opponents present the other side of the argument.
• Like any innovation, the more research done, the better off we’ll be, but those involved in aid work throughout the world may want to take an even closer look at the role GMO crops can play in feeding the hungry — and the risks involved.
• Learn about using artificial intelligence to help grow crops.
Are GMOs the answer to our planet’s food shortage? Or are they jeopardizing our health, crops and climate by creating a destructive cycle of Roundup resistance? Like many issues these days, it depends on who you believe. Supporters of genetically modified organisms say that altering the DNA of corn and other crops is just another tool in the farmers’ toolbox — an innovation that will help feed a world whose food production has been disrupted by climate change
John Purcell, who heads up Monsanto’s vegetable division, brushes characterizations of his company as the “most hated” in the world. Twenty years in, he remains excited about their vision of changing agriculture for the better.
“That’s what got me and a lot of the biologists that came to Monsanto excited,” he tells the Climate One audience. “Because we wanted to find new ways to help farmers, and we wanted to do it in a sustainable fashion, and we want to make sure all the tools of modern biology are being used.”
As an example, he cites major improvements made in corn production. “You can produce more corn with less land, less water, less energy and with a more positive carbon footprint than you could 30 years ago.”
But GMO opponents maintain that modified plants are dangerous to our health because of their resistance to pesticides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, which has been linked to cancer and is frequently used to battle bugs that could destroy crops.
Listen to the full podcast about rounding up the facts about GMOs by Climate One.
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