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Study on effects of eliminating GMOs

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  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    jgnatca wrote: »
    Also, how is it any less hysterical to say that we're all going to starve to death if we don't have GMOs? How did we survive for thousands of years without them?

    We very nearly did starve to death. Several times. The current population can only be sustained because of the innovations brought about by the Green Revolution. Food security is a critical step in a country reaching first world status.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines

    You (not to mention yesterday's discussion) have reminded me of a piece by Henry Farrell a while ago regarding the Economist's writings (back in the day) on the Great Famine in Ireland. The internet being what it is, I was able to find it again:

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ten-miles-square/2012/12/the_economist_and_the_irish_fa041772.php

    "It’s genuinely good to see The Economist publishing a piece directly acknowledging how radical free market dogmatism led the British government to respond so badly to the starvation of a million of its own subjects on its back doorstep. It would have been better if the magazine had said something about its own contemporary role in public debate over the Famine, where it stood side-by-side with Punch, pushing back against the idea of helping the Irish in Black 47.... Ruth Dudley Edwards devotes a chapter to the Famine in her official history of the Economist – she puts the best face that she can on the Economist’s editorializing, but admits sotto-voce that the Economist became ever more dire as the Famine wore on. I don’t know whether the writer of the new review didn’t know about this history, or didn’t think it appropriate or useful to mention it, but it surely seems relevant to me.

    I got into a discussion about this yesterday on Twitter with Robert Cottrell, a former writer for the Economist who now runs the excellent The Browser website. He did some searching in the Economist’s historical archives, and found a few relevant extracts which he very decently made available via yfrog. I think they come from the editorial of Jan 30, 1847. The key quote:

    '… the people, rapidly increasing, have been reduced, by acts for which they are chiefly to blame, to a sole reliance on the precarious crop of potatoes. It would be unjust to Ireland – it would be a neglect of a great duty which is imposed on us at this time – if we did not point to this calamity, assuming as it does this aggravated form, as in a great measure the natural result of that crime which has precluded the people from other available resources. That the innocent suffer with the guilty, is a melancholy truth, but it is one of the great conditions on which all society exists. Every breach of the laws of morality and social order brings its own punishment and inconvenience. Where there is not perfect security, there cannot be prosperity. This is the first law of civilization.'"

    And of course all this is consistent (and motivated by the same ideology) as the famous comment from Trevelyn re the Famine being a mechanism to remove the surplus population, which is remarkably similar to the comment about the poor from a rather well-known fictional character just a few years before: "If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

    Since I enjoy the Economist these days and am a history buff and fascinated by this kind of thing, this article motivated me to acquire the Ruth Dudley Edwards history referenced.
    edited March 2016
  • ForecasterJasonForecasterJason Posts: 2,582Member Member Posts: 2,582Member Member
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I also think it is kind of interesting that there is often discussion of those in third world country who are starving to death while there seems to be a blanket denial to the many in this country who are hungry on a regular basis. I spent my 9 to 5 looking directly into many of those faces.
    I agree. There are multi-million dollar homes a few miles away from where I live, while 25 miles away there are people who live in poverty (in the same county!)
    IMO this has nothing to do with GMOs being needed to feed those who are starving.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I also think it is kind of interesting that there is often discussion of those in third world country who are starving to death while there seems to be a blanket denial to the many in this country who are hungry on a regular basis. I spent my 9 to 5 looking directly into many of those faces.

    That's interesting, since the norm would seem to be that people are more attuned to those around them (the circle of compassion that jgnatca was talking about in the meat eating thread brought that to mind, as people don't necessarily consider the effect on people far away, who they cannot see, as a concrete harm, even if they would grant it as such in a theoretical discussion, whereas those close by seem more real). You see this with local news coverage of events far away (a tsunami, say) bringing it back to "and here are people from our own metro area that were there." I always make fun of that stuff, but it makes sense.

    I suspect it's because people want to believe that it's not possible here, or not possible without being blame-worthy.
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Posts: 1,636Member Member Posts: 1,636Member Member
    Excess population isn't a reason for hunger at this time, but it's a reason for severe environmental destruction partly caused by traditional modern day farming methods, which is the cause for concern. And we could eventually get to the point of not having enough good topsoil left to grow enough food for everybody. There's only so much of it. So the idea that we should just continue destroying more and more topsoil, so we can breed more and more people, so we can destroy more and more topsoil, so we can breed more and more people, is an absolutely terrible idea. You're worried about genocide and people dying? Then worry about that! You're right to be afraid, but your fears are completely misplaced. That's why I'm proposing two things. One is to decrease the population through birth control, and the other is to implement agroecology instead of GMO Monsanto agriculture which is actually what's going to end up killing us.

    I respectfully present this opinion, and I respect it if you have a different opinion. Please don't call me woo or stupid, or talk down to me in a condescending tone, or suggest that I have no ability for rational thought, and don't accuse me of wanting to kill masses of brown skinned people. Thanks. I'll try my best to abstain from sarcasm and be the bigger person from now on, no matter how much other people are condescending to me and putting me down.

    I've noticed in several of your posts, you seem to be very concerned about topsoil. Please don't conflate GMO crops with topsoil erosion. Topsoil loss is prevented (or worst case scenario heavily mitigated) by no-till farming techniques, which inject seeds and fertilizer directly into planting pockets rather than plowing, discing and harrowing entire fields. With no-till, the residue from the previous year (such as the rootballs, a few inches of stalk, and general crop detritus; along with a newly planted cover crop, ideally) is left over the winter to prevent erosion, contribute to soil fertility, and maintain friability. New seeds are planted directly into the organic detritus from the previous years, which serve as a form of mulch to prevent further erosion and evaporation. Since chemical need to be used to kill off the seeds (generally not many more chemicals than used in conventional farming), round-up ready crops like corn, alfalfa, soybeans, cotton, etc. actually lend themselves very well to this practice. It is one of the crown jewels of GMO farming, and I am surprised it has not come up earlier.

  • dubirddubird Posts: 1,854Member Member Posts: 1,854Member Member
    So, as more food for thought, a commentary by a plant geneticist. She points out that humanity has been modifying food for long before GMOs became a topic. Something to consider.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/pamela_ronald_the_case_for_engineering_our_food/transcript?language=en#t-970
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    shell1005 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I also think it is kind of interesting that there is often discussion of those in third world country who are starving to death while there seems to be a blanket denial to the many in this country who are hungry on a regular basis. I spent my 9 to 5 looking directly into many of those faces.

    That's interesting, since the norm would seem to be that people are more attuned to those around them (the circle of compassion that jgnatca was talking about in the meat eating thread brought that to mind, as people don't necessarily consider the effect on people far away, who they cannot see, as a concrete harm, even if they would grant it as such in a theoretical discussion, whereas those close by seem more real). You see this with local news coverage of events far away (a tsunami, say) bringing it back to "and here are people from our own metro area that were there." I always make fun of that stuff, but it makes sense.

    I suspect it's because people want to believe that it's not possible here, or not possible without being blame-worthy.

    Probably true. The idea of blaming someone for not having food security makes me see red, to be honest. The idea that because someone might have made a poor choice that it is acceptable that they be starving is unacceptable. And, in many ways it is just not true. Those who are working and still in poverty do not deserve to work their 40 hours a week and still struggle to provide food on the table....but it happens every single day.

    As for if GMOs will do anything to solve that problem, I honestly don't know. It could. It could produce food that has a naturally longer shelf life. That could make more food and therefore more supply....to push down the prices. However, I am also not confident that any positive impact will trickle down to the consumer and those riches won't just stay in the corporate level, as they often do.

    I don't think GMOs will solve the problem in the US at all. Food in the US is cheap when compared to other areas of the world, from everything I've read, so I don't think the issue here is food costs. I think it's poverty/lack of opportunity for some people.

    I think another reason people might not see poverty here as an issue is that they think there's more of a safety net than there is or (and this is something I struggle with, although I know poverty and hunger is a problem) they are aware of specific programs that seem to be available. For example, I know about our schools' breakfast and lunch programs (our local schools have an extremely high percentage of people in poverty, in part because lots of people not in that group opt out), about local food banks and pantries and other avenues for people to obtain food, because I have been involved with some of them, as a volunteer and so on. So people who are hungry, do they not have these things available? Ignorant question, I know.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 36,703Member Member Posts: 36,703Member Member
    Also, how is it any less hysterical to say that we're all going to starve to death if we don't have GMOs? How did we survive for thousands of years without them?

    This is the crux of the issue.

    WE are not going to starve. You won't starve. I won't starve. It's unlikely that anyone in this community will starve.


    But people will starve. A lot of people.

    Perhaps I said "we" because I see it as us all being together. It hadn't occurred to me that "they" are separate from me. We're all part of the same human race. That's why I said we. Ultimately, we'll all share the same fate. Everything will either hurt us all or uplift us all.

    You are coming at all of this from a place of naïve ideology rather than looking at the face of reality. Ideology is fun...but it rarely even resembles reality or formulates real solutions...it's fairy tale land.
    edited March 2016
  • ForecasterJasonForecasterJason Posts: 2,582Member Member Posts: 2,582Member Member
    shell1005 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I also think it is kind of interesting that there is often discussion of those in third world country who are starving to death while there seems to be a blanket denial to the many in this country who are hungry on a regular basis. I spent my 9 to 5 looking directly into many of those faces.
    I agree. There are multi-million dollar homes a few miles away from where I live, while 25 miles away there are people who live in poverty (in the same county!)
    IMO this has nothing to do with GMOs being needed to feed those who are starving.

    Maybe, maybe not. If adding GMO foods makes it so the prices of food drops in any significant way then it might not have NOTHING to do with it. Time will tell.
    But GMO foods have been around for years, unless you're saying it could just take a long time. And I don't think it would address all poverty-related food issues.
    There are kids from a local school in my area who do not usually get enough to eat on the weekends. Through my church, these kids are now being fed. And while some of this food is GMO, a lot of it is either low nutrient dense packaged food that has GMO flour as a base or non-GMO based altogether. I wouldn't really consider GMOs to be helping in that regard.

    edited March 2016
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Posts: 1,636Member Member Posts: 1,636Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I also think it is kind of interesting that there is often discussion of those in third world country who are starving to death while there seems to be a blanket denial to the many in this country who are hungry on a regular basis. I spent my 9 to 5 looking directly into many of those faces.

    That's interesting, since the norm would seem to be that people are more attuned to those around them (the circle of compassion that jgnatca was talking about in the meat eating thread brought that to mind, as people don't necessarily consider the effect on people far away, who they cannot see, as a concrete harm, even if they would grant it as such in a theoretical discussion, whereas those close by seem more real). You see this with local news coverage of events far away (a tsunami, say) bringing it back to "and here are people from our own metro area that were there." I always make fun of that stuff, but it makes sense.

    I suspect it's because people want to believe that it's not possible here, or not possible without being blame-worthy.

    Probably true. The idea of blaming someone for not having food security makes me see red, to be honest. The idea that because someone might have made a poor choice that it is acceptable that they be starving is unacceptable. And, in many ways it is just not true. Those who are working and still in poverty do not deserve to work their 40 hours a week and still struggle to provide food on the table....but it happens every single day.

    As for if GMOs will do anything to solve that problem, I honestly don't know. It could. It could produce food that has a naturally longer shelf life. That could make more food and therefore more supply....to push down the prices. However, I am also not confident that any positive impact will trickle down to the consumer and those riches won't just stay in the corporate level, as they often do.

    I don't think GMOs will solve the problem in the US at all. Food in the US is cheap when compared to other areas of the world, from everything I've read, so I don't think the issue here is food costs. I think it's poverty/lack of opportunity for some people.

    I think another reason people might not see poverty here as an issue is that they think there's more of a safety net than there is or (and this is something I struggle with, although I know poverty and hunger is a problem) they are aware of specific programs that seem to be available. For example, I know about our schools' breakfast and lunch programs (our local schools have an extremely high percentage of people in poverty, in part because lots of people not in that group opt out), about local food banks and pantries and other avenues for people to obtain food, because I have been involved with some of them, as a volunteer and so on. So people who are hungry, do they not have these things available? Ignorant question, I know.

    In volunteering at our local food bank (in a large city but substantially smaller than Chicago), one of the volunteer activities is packing weekend bags for children who do not have access to their school meals. The bags have to be packed twice as full, as they found the children would not receive much food as the adults in the household would eat most of it. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about people taking the food out of their childrens' mouths. So that is one example of a demographic still going hungry when there is a lot of donated food.

    Another example is fresh produce--I am involved with a community garden, and we make substantial donations of many lbs of vegetables to a neighborhood food pantry every summer. Last summer we had a crazy bumper crop of eggplants--14 heirloom varieties, and they produced these gorgeous eggplant monsters in every shade of white, green, purple and black, plus stripes. So awesome. On one particular trip to the food pantry I delivered 30 lbs of eggplants....and although they were joyfully received, I sadly wondered how many of those beauties were going into the trash, because so many people in poverty can't even cook the basics, let alone something more challenging (and a cultivated/acquired taste) like eggplant. So even though they have access to food, if it doesn't come in a box or a packet, a lot of the needy have no idea what to do with it.

    Another factor is, to run a household food supply, it takes a lot of management skills, organization, time and discipline, even if you have plenty of money. If someone is mentally ill, has a drug problem, is working 3 jobs, or is in an abusive situation--how much more difficult is it to arrange getting food, keeping it well, and getting a meal on the table? Adults and children will often go hungry just because they don't have their act together enough to access the largess that is available.
  • vivmom2014vivmom2014 Posts: 1,534Member Member Posts: 1,534Member Member
    I've noticed in several of your posts, you seem to be very concerned about topsoil. Please don't conflate GMO crops with topsoil erosion. Topsoil loss is prevented (or worst case scenario heavily mitigated) by no-till farming techniques, which inject seeds and fertilizer directly into planting pockets rather than plowing, discing and harrowing entire fields. With no-till, the residue from the previous year (such as the rootballs, a few inches of stalk, and general crop detritus; along with a newly planted cover crop, ideally) is left over the winter to prevent erosion, contribute to soil fertility, and maintain friability. New seeds are planted directly into the organic detritus from the previous years, which serve as a form of mulch to prevent further erosion and evaporation. Since chemical need to be used to kill off the seeds (generally not many more chemicals than used in conventional farming), round-up ready crops like corn, alfalfa, soybeans, cotton, etc. actually lend themselves very well to this practice. It is one of the crown jewels of GMO farming, and I am surprised it has not come up earlier.

    Well, I found this very informative, so thanks. I would think the Dust Bowl taught us something about topsoil erosion. (Although it could beg the question why the Dust Bowl took place at all. We knew, and we ignored.)

  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    shell1005 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I also think it is kind of interesting that there is often discussion of those in third world country who are starving to death while there seems to be a blanket denial to the many in this country who are hungry on a regular basis. I spent my 9 to 5 looking directly into many of those faces.
    I agree. There are multi-million dollar homes a few miles away from where I live, while 25 miles away there are people who live in poverty (in the same county!)
    IMO this has nothing to do with GMOs being needed to feed those who are starving.

    Maybe, maybe not. If adding GMO foods makes it so the prices of food drops in any significant way then it might not have NOTHING to do with it. Time will tell.
    But GMO foods have been around for years, unless you're saying it could just take a long time. And I don't think it would address all poverty-related food issues.
    There are kids from a local school in my area who do not usually get enough to eat on the weekends. Through my church, these kids are now being fed. And while some of this food is GMO, a lot of it is either low nutrient dense packaged food that has GMO flour as a base or non-GMO based altogether. I wouldn't really consider GMOs to be helping in that regard.

    I thought GMO flour wasn't a thing currently. Packaged goods commonly have GMOs because the common GMOs used commercially are soybeans, corn, sugar beets, and canola.
  • FunkyTobiasFunkyTobias Posts: 1,776Member Member Posts: 1,776Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I also think it is kind of interesting that there is often discussion of those in third world country who are starving to death while there seems to be a blanket denial to the many in this country who are hungry on a regular basis. I spent my 9 to 5 looking directly into many of those faces.
    I agree. There are multi-million dollar homes a few miles away from where I live, while 25 miles away there are people who live in poverty (in the same county!)
    IMO this has nothing to do with GMOs being needed to feed those who are starving.

    Maybe, maybe not. If adding GMO foods makes it so the prices of food drops in any significant way then it might not have NOTHING to do with it. Time will tell.
    But GMO foods have been around for years, unless you're saying it could just take a long time. And I don't think it would address all poverty-related food issues.
    There are kids from a local school in my area who do not usually get enough to eat on the weekends. Through my church, these kids are now being fed. And while some of this food is GMO, a lot of it is either low nutrient dense packaged food that has GMO flour as a base or non-GMO based altogether. I wouldn't really consider GMOs to be helping in that regard.

    I thought GMO flour wasn't a thing currently. Packaged goods commonly have GMOs because the common GMOs used commercially are soybeans, corn, sugar beets, and canola.

    It isn't. There is currently no GMO wheat.
  • senecarrsenecarr Posts: 5,377Member Member Posts: 5,377Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    shell1005 wrote: »
    I also think it is kind of interesting that there is often discussion of those in third world country who are starving to death while there seems to be a blanket denial to the many in this country who are hungry on a regular basis. I spent my 9 to 5 looking directly into many of those faces.
    I agree. There are multi-million dollar homes a few miles away from where I live, while 25 miles away there are people who live in poverty (in the same county!)
    IMO this has nothing to do with GMOs being needed to feed those who are starving.

    Maybe, maybe not. If adding GMO foods makes it so the prices of food drops in any significant way then it might not have NOTHING to do with it. Time will tell.
    But GMO foods have been around for years, unless you're saying it could just take a long time. And I don't think it would address all poverty-related food issues.
    There are kids from a local school in my area who do not usually get enough to eat on the weekends. Through my church, these kids are now being fed. And while some of this food is GMO, a lot of it is either low nutrient dense packaged food that has GMO flour as a base or non-GMO based altogether. I wouldn't really consider GMOs to be helping in that regard.

    I thought GMO flour wasn't a thing currently. Packaged goods commonly have GMOs because the common GMOs used commercially are soybeans, corn, sugar beets, and canola.

    It isn't. There is currently no GMO wheat.

    No commercially available GMO wheat, sadly.
    There are some pretty amazing field trial traits for it, including one that reduces gluten content.
  • snickerscharliesnickerscharlie Posts: 8,181Member Member Posts: 8,181Member Member
    auddii wrote: »
    senecarr wrote: »
    auddii wrote: »
    senecarr wrote: »
    auddii wrote: »
    Okay, guys, you've made a mod cry and dillute her beer. Are y'all happy now?

    Now I'm just sad. The only thing worse than dilute beer is a sad salad.

    But salads are always telling women jokes. Are they like how every clown is secretly sad?

    Sad salads are when you're trying to "be good" and you order a salad, and then it shows up and there's some lettuce and maybe a piece of cucumber, but not much else. And all you want is anything else on the menu.

    But, but
    http://womenlaughingalonewithsalad.tumblr.com/page/21

    Well maybe I'm just addicted to sadness.

    Here, let me stub your toe for you. <3
    edited March 2016
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