A couple of months ago, the Genetic Literacy Project published an article that particularly illustrates the complete disconnect between what science tells us about nature and how political rhetoric portrays it. Entitiled Myth busting on ‘contamination’: GMO farms’ halo effect often protects organic farms, it takes a swipe at the use of the word « contamination » in discussions about the possibility for genetically engineered (GE) and non-GE crops to grow in the same region. Here are the main arguments summarized in 3 points: Plus | More
This is a translation from a column published May 23, 2015 by Corinne Lepage, a French politician, former Minister of the Environment and former Europe-Ecologie MEP, on the occasion of the last global March against Monsanto. In this text, she accuses the European Union and member states of failing to protect their citizen against the danger of corporate greed in general, and of GMO and herbicides in particular. A translation of my analysis of this text will follow soon, but I thought it would be interesting for English-speaking audience to read how some French political ecologists are talking about these issues at present.
Something that has always surprised me is how little people opposing GMOs know about GMOs or even about overall genetics. They will make many wild claims about how marketed genetically modified plants can cause cancer, poison you and destroy the environment, but when you ask them to get into more details, they will either run to Google, trying to find any sources of authority that will comfort their opinion, or call you a Monsanto shill. Or they’ll change the topic turning to issues such as immoral patenting, corrupted greedy corporation and sold out scientists (forgetting about the few but very real scientists on « their side » who are putting ideology before science, like Gilles-Eric Séralini).
But what happens when you’re interviewing people away from their computer and asking them to answer on the spot, before a camera, meaning that they can’t even search for info on the Web from their smartphone? This is what Jmmy Kimmel did at a local farmers’ market and the result is probably actually quite unnerving for any anti-GMO activists. If the persons who accepted to be interviewed can be considered to represent the average US consumer of organic food, then this video could show without any mistake possible that the anti-GMO movements have been able to scare people about GMO although most have no clue at all what GMO are or even what those three letters stand for! So, when they claim that people have a « right to know », we are here left wondering « what » they would like people to have the right to know….Well, that is, if this video is really representative of the population it claims to sample. I must say that some of the answers seem to me to so ignorant that it leaves me wondering….