Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Eat to Live: Industrial Agriculture vs. Sustainable Agriculture.
Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are a result of genetic engineering (GE) and they are not perceived as, “evil,” but as the most recent, lowest, level attained by unsustainable, industrial agriculture (IA).
IA promotes monoculture (enormous fields of one, identical crop) that forgoes the natural competition between the pests of different plants; requires the application of chemical pesticides. Avoids the natural remediation (legumes bring nitrogen from the air back to the soil, whereas other plants must get that nutrient from the soil) available from interleaved plant species; requires the application of chemical fertilizers. The promoting of monoculture, found nowhere in nature, requires the application of chemical herbicides. It might be important to highlight the definition of the the suffix -cide: killer!
IA also promotes confined/crowded animal feeding operations (CAFO) that puts a great many animals in a very limited, unnaturally so, amount of space; such that they are constantly exposed to their own waste product. Large quantities of antibiotics, approximately 80% of the antibiotics used in the USA, are included in the daily life of the confined livestock. Antibiotics were also discovered to promote more rapid physical maturity (growth) in livestock, so the antibiotics are prone to being abused even for unconfined animals.
CAFO also feed corn to ruminants, creatures that evolved to survive by consuming and digesting enormous quantities of various grasses, to add fat (flavor and texture) to the protein content while simultaneously causing increased flatulence.
The constant exposure of flora and fauna to increasingly higher levels of: antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides has led to super: pathogens, pests and weeds. So, the corporations that profit mightily from IA step in with GE created GMOs. GMO corn that produces it's own pesticide (Bt corn) is fed to cattle, people and used to create a great many processed foods... What could possibly go wrong there?
GMO plants were created to tolerate higher levels of applied herbicides and pesticides without harm to the plants thusly modified; probably one of the factors in the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD) in bee hives; disappearing the primary pollinators of food crops. Increased application of '-cides' is also harmful to farm workers and to soil microbes; microbes already under assault from the need to plow/till soil annually (exposing soil and its beneficial microbes to drying sun and winds).
GMO apples hide the fact that apples oxidize (turn a brownish color) once sliced, create pseudo-salmon (frankenfish) that gets much bigger, faster; more product, falsely labeled as salmon, to market (more money).
Once again asking, “What could possibly go wrong?”
The answer is that there hasn't been time for sufficient, peer reviewed, scientific inquiry to answer that oft repeated query.
That is not calling GMOs, “evil.” It is an attempt to call for a halt to the race to profit from the next generation of IA... A time to pause and consider the, properly peer reviewed, methods of sustainable agriculture.