Let me get down to brass tacks. The bottom line is this: I think GMO is bad for our health, good for our environment (here me out) and sometimes ugly to look at. But we need to realize the pros and cons of this very powerful new technology and then ask ourselves “how should we approach this in the coming decades?”
So let’s get started.
GMO - The bad
I started here because most people have a lot of negative reactions towards GMO, and for good reason. So what exactly is a GMO? A Genetically Modified Organism. This can be anything from plants to animals, but as consumers we mostly eat GMO Plants, mainly grains, some fruits and some vegetables. However, we feed our animals a lot of this GMO product especially, and as the old adage goes, “we are what we eat.” So if these GMOs are bad we eat animals that eat these modified organisms then its no surprise we are getting their deleterious effects by proxy. Not rocket science. Yet the public seems to view it as such.
I won’t get into detail of why GMO’s are bad for our health. Just take a gander on Google and read to your hearts content. The gist is simple though: when GMOs are created, we cannot modify an organism unless directly; we have to use a VIRUS to ferry our modified genes into the DNA, which are then replicated. Unfortunately this creates a host of bad-for-you-effects, because we have altered the plant irreversibly.
GMO - The good
Let me say first: In order for GMOS to be good, THERE MUST NOT BE PATENT LAWS. Let me repeat that: THERE MUST NOT BE PATENT LAWS. Why?
- Number 1: It's immoral.
- Number 2: It fosters stagnancy
- Number 3: it removes transparency because it will not police itself like a free market would
- Number 4: It's incredibly immoral.
- Number 5: It creates political upheaval
GMOs are EXTREMELY powerful in their potential application. They are often touted (by the companies that produce them) to solve world hunger. Unfortunately I don’t think we can solve world hunger with them (at least in this day and age). The opposite is almost always true, as all GMOs are equipped with “terminator” genes that will force them to naturally die off, removing the ability to save seeds for future crops. This creates a monopoly for the company who owns patents on the seeds, which in turn feeds corporatism –and corporations have never shown themselves to be models of benevolence. Subsistence farming has stopped as a result in many third-world countries, and the self-sufficiency it used to bring has ceased to exist, replaced by a parasitic relationship between corporation and individual.
However, if you get past all the bad rap companies have given them, GMOs are very cool. Green algae is a great example of this.
Green algea has been shown to generate energy, devour toxic gas and clean the air we breathe. It can even be used as a “superfood.” Algea can be geneticall modified to become our own personal filters, taking away all the pollutants and producing something we can actually use.
The idea that we can alter organisms at such a fundamental level is definitely a bit eerie, but that’s where a bit of care comes in.
Controlled experiments open to the public allow us to open the discussion and creates a thriving hotbed of innovation. The fundamental rules of engagement can be dictated by consensus and managed via federal or state law which I think would be a great way to start approaching this new technology.
What we have to fully understand is that we, as humans, who still have petty wars and political upheavals, can now have the potential to alter the fabric of life. Sounds scary eh?
But not without the ugly
So as with anything positive, we must observe the negative. Their are some ugly truths to GMO that we must accept. When dealing with GMOs we need to realize the omnipotence we are wielding. Morals are important and any religion can realize this. If we are to enter into a GMO-age, we must stand on a solid moral foundation. There are good and bad things (as discussed) that can come out of it, but which of those is chosen is ultimately our choice.
So, just as war created rockets which created spaceships, bad can from good and vice versa. Cause and effect is always at play. It is very hard to predict what will happen with a new technology so powerful. Looking at the trend of human evolution though, I think the smarter we as a population become, the more we will realize benevolence is an important role in our societies. We can create our own "golden age" if we desire, but first we must set some ground rules for this new genetic playground.