Grow More GM, says former anti-GMO activist
January 4, 2013 4:41 AM Subscribe
posted by rattleandhum (82 comments total)
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Mark Lynas, author of several
books on climate change
and once a leading figurehead of the anti-GMO movement, has made an about turn on his opinions regarding GM crops
. In an address to the Oxford Farming Conference
, he stated:
"For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist."
While some environmentalists may wonder whether Lynas has been paid off by the likes of Monsanto, his lecture does bring up some very salient points in the ongoing public battle against GM crop technology and it's anti-scientific rhetoric. His address is worth reading in full, as are some of the comments (which range from complete denial to some valid criticism of accepting GM crops wholesale).
"I found myself arguing constantly with people who I considered to be incorrigibly anti-science, because they wouldn’t listen to the climatologists and denied the scientific reality of climate change. So I lectured them about the value of peer-review, about the importance of scientific consensus and how the only facts that mattered were the ones published in the most distinguished scholarly journals. My second climate book, Six Degrees, was so sciency that it even won the Royal Society science books prize, and climate scientists I had become friendly with would joke that I knew more about the subject than them. And yet, incredibly, at this time in 2008 I was still penning screeds in the Guardian attacking the science of GM – even though I had done no academic research on the topic, and had a pretty limited personal understanding. I don’t think I’d ever read a peer-reviewed paper on biotechnology or plant science even at this late stage.
Obviously this contradiction was untenable. What really threw me were some of the comments underneath my final anti-GM Guardian article. In particular one critic said to me: so you’re opposed to GM on the basis that it is marketed by big corporations. Are you also opposed to the wheel because because it is marketed by the big auto companies?"
His climate change view have been discussed on MeFi before