GMO-Crops

Reasons Why Bill Nye Saves the World is Super Cool

*there is an entire episode dedicated to debunking alternative medicine and all the bullshit miracle treatments that we as chronically ill people are so frequently lectured about!
*he discusses ways that technology can help those with disabilities (specifically a new camera app that can help blind folk by providing an audio description of their surroundings)
*he debunks the menacing stigma of GMO crops, which many ignorant people blame as the cause of cancer and other illnesses
*he debunks the claim that vaccination is linked to autism, as well as demonstrates how unvaccinated people can severely impact those who are immunocompromised.

pretty-love-ly  asked:

Isn't supporting bee keepers by buying honey kind of a good thing? Like its a double edged sword bc we shouldn't use animals as food and all but right now with the changing climate and GMO crops and colony collapse disorder it's killing off bees and we desperately need them, so isn't it a good thing that bee keepers are keeping bees alive?

Hi there pretty-love-ly!

We’ve been tricked into believing that honey is simply a byproduct of the essential pollination provided by farmed honeybees. Did you know though that the honeybee’s wild counterparts (such as bumblebees, carpenter and digger bees) are much better pollinators? They are also less likely than farmed honeybees to be affected by mites and Africanized bees. The issue is that these native bees can hibernate for up to 11 months out of the year and do not live in large colonies. Thus, they do not produce massive amounts of honey for a  $157 million dollar a year industry.

Honey and the Different Types of Bees

Honey bees: Honey bees make a large quantity of honey (possible due to the size of colonies – that is, many worker bees collecting nectar). Honey consists of nectar combined with a ‘bee enzyme’ that goes through a process of concentration in the honeycomb before it is capped by the bees.

Bumblebees: Bumblebees, in one sense, make a form of honey, which they collect in nectar pots to be eaten by the colony, including the newly hatched worker females. However, the process of concentrating, capping, and the making of honey combs does not happen in bumblebee colonies, nor is nectar stored over winter, since only the queen survives and hibernates, whilst the rest of the colony do not.

Solitary bees: Solitary bees do not make honeycombs. They construct egg cells which they provision with a ball of nectar and pollen that will be consumed by the new larvae.

Honey bees will pollinate many plant species that are not native to their natural habitat but are often inefficient pollinators of such plants.

The crops that can be only pollinated by honey bees are:

• Guar Bean
• Quince
• Lemon
• Lime
• Karite
• Tamarind

The crops that are pollinated by bees, in general, are:

• Apples
• Mangos
• Rambutan
• Kiwi Fruit
• Plums
• Peaches
• Nectarines
• Guava
• Rose Hips
• Pomegranites
• Pears
• Black and Red Currants
• Alfalfa
• Okra
• Strawberries
• Onions
• Cashews
• Cactus
• Prickly Pear
• Apricots
• Allspice
• Avocados
• Passion Fruit
• Lima Beans
• Kidney Beans
• Adzuki Beans
• Green Beans
• Orchid Plants
• Custard Apples
• Cherries
• Celery
• Coffee
• Walnut
• Cotton
• Lychee
• Flax
• Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
• Macadamia Nuts
• Sunflower Oil
• Goa beans
• Lemons
• Buckwheat
• Figs
• Fennel
• Limes
• Quince
• Carrots
• Persimmons
• Palm Oil
• Loquat
• Durian
• Cucumber
• Hazelnut
• Cantaloupe
• Tangelos
• Coriander
• Caraway
• Chestnut
• Watermelon
• Star Apples
• Coconut
• Tangerines
• Boysenberries
• Starfruit
• Brazil Nuts
• Beets
• Mustard Seed
• Rapeseed
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Cabbage
• Brussels Sprouts
• Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
• Turnips
• Congo Beans
• Sword beans
• Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
• Papaya
• Safflower
• Sesame
• Eggplant
• Raspberries
• Elderberries
• Blackberries
• Clover
• Tamarind
• Cocoa
• Black Eyed Peas
• Vanilla
• Cranberries
• Tomatoes
• Grapes

Check this chart to see which type of bees can pollinate those crops.

While you may spread a heaping tablespoon of honey on your morning toast without thinking, creating each drop is no small feat. To make one pound of honey, a colony must visit over two million flowers, flying over 55,000 miles, at up to 15 miles per hour to do so. During a bee’s lifetime, she will only make approximately one teaspoon of honey, which is essential to the hive for times when nectar is scarce, such as during winter. At times, there may be an excess in the hive, but this amount is difficult to determine and large-scale beekeepers often remove all or most of it and replace it with a sugar or corn syrup substitute. Can you imagine someone removing all the fruit juice from your house and replacing it with fruit-flavored soda? It may still give you energy, but eventually, it will probably make you sick.

BEES DIE FOR YOUR HONEY

Another thing to think about while you sit by your beeswax candle and contemplate the lives of these little fellows is that bees must consume approximately eight pounds of honey to produce each pound of wax! And the more we take from them (bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis) the harder these creatures must work and the more bees are needed, which isn’t good news for a population that is dwindling.

When you see a jar of honey, you may think of the sweet cartoon hives depicted in childhood stories such as Winnie the Pooh. But most hives are now confined to large boxes (a completely foreign shape to bees) that are jostled and shipped around the country to pollinate crops and produce honey. This is stressful and confusing to the bees’ natural navigation systems. Along the way, bees are lost and killed, and may spread diseases from one infected hive to another. The practice of bee farming often limits the bees’ diet to monoculture crops, introduces large amounts of pesticides into their systems and causes the farmed bees to crowd out the native wild pollinators that may have been otherwise present. Beekeepers (even small-scale backyard beekeepers) will also kill the queens if they feel the hive is in danger of swarming (fleeing their file cabinet shaped homes) or drones* that they deem unnecessary to honey production. * The drones’ main function is to fertilize the queen when needed.

We have got to the point where we mass exploit honeybees as pollinators to fix a problem that should be fixed from the roots and not partially.

“At certain times of the year, three or four trucks carrying beehives rumble along Highway 20 every week. Their destination: California, where the bees are required for pollination services. During my time in California researching dairy farms, I learned about an extraordinary consequence of intensive farming taken to extremes: industrialized pollination - a business that is rapidly expanding as the natural bee population collapses. In certain parts of the world, as a result of industrial farming, there are no longer enough bees to pollinate the crops. Farmers are forced to hire or rent them in”
— Farmagedon. The True Cost of Cheap Meat

The Case of the Disappearing Bees

The question of what will happen if bees disappear may not be far from being answered. Over the past couple of years, stories about bees disappearing and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) have been popping up in the The New York Times, Star Tribune, Huffington Post, PBS, Discovery News and more. If nothing else wakes us up, perhaps the fact that the disappearance of bees has become front page news will. Scientists are rushing to discover what’s causing this problem before it’s too late and before we lose the important environmental link created by bees.

Thus far, there are three main theories/contributing factors:

  • Pesticides

Pennsylvania State University published a study in 2010 that found “unprecedented levels” of pesticides in honeybees and hives in the United States. (If it’s in the bees and hives, what do you think is in your honey?) Some of these chemicals are killing bees, and guess what? The EPA knows about it.

“The EPA identifies two specific neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and clothianidin, as highly toxic to bees. Both chemicals cause symptoms in bees such as memory loss, navigation disruption, paralysis, and death.

Both chemicals have been linked to dramatic honeybee deaths and subsequent suspensions of their use in France and Germany. Several European countries have already suspended them. Last year Slovenia and Italy also suspended their use for what they consider a significant risk to honeybee populations.”

– Mother Earth News

This is old news; this story came out in 2009. But has anything changed here? Not as far as I can tell.

  • Mites and Viruses

With weakened immune systems (stress, inferior food sources, pesticides etc.) bees have become more susceptible to viruses, fungal infections, and mites. Many of these invasive bugs are spread as hives are moved around the country or transferred from country to country.

While there are a number of treatments on the market for the mites, viruses, fungus and other pests that are attacking our colonies, none have solved the problem completely. These treatments can also introduce antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals into the hives in an attempt to prevent or heal the infection. If these chemicals (often on strips) are not removed from the hive after they lose potency, they can, in fact, help the viruses or mites become resistant to treatment in the future.

  • Cell phones

This is one of the newest theories on CCD and may need further testing.

“According to a Swiss researcher who recently published a paper on the subject, the electromagnetic waves from mobile phones have a significant impact on the behavior of honeybees and could potentially be harming honeybees around the world.”

“To test the relationship between honeybees and buzzing cell phones, he placed phones inside bee hives and then monitored the bees’ reaction. He found that in the presence of actively communicating cellphones (those not in standby mode), bees produced the sounds known as “worker piping,” which tends to indicate disturbance in a bee colony.”

– ABC News

Cell phones, pesticides and viruses aside, commercial bee farming – whether organic (where bee deaths are fewer, but still occur) or conventional – does not provide bees with the opportunity to live out their normal life cycle. No matter how small the animal, farming is farming. Whether you choose to buy backyard honey or a large brand, eating honey and using other bee products encourages using bees for profit.

If you truly want to save bees as a whole and not only honey bees because is much more convenient.. then support bee sanctuaries, boycott the agribusiness and its use of chemicals everywhere. Here I leave some ideas and ways to help bees.

  • Sanctuaries
  1. Spikenard Farm  Honeybee Sanctuary | • Virginia, USA •
  2. New York Bee Sanctuary | • New York, USA •
  3. Native Bee Sanctuary | • Australia •
  4. Artemis Smiles - Honey Bee Sanctuary | • Hawaii, USA •
  5. Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary | • Washington, USA •
  6. The Honeybee Helpers | • North West, Ireland •
  7. Bee Sanctuary - The Bee School | • North Carolina, USA •
  8. Bellingen Bee Sanctuary | • Australia •
  9. Morgan Freeman Converted His 124 Acre Ranch Into A Bee Sanctuary To Help Save The Bees
  • Plant your garden with bee-friendly plants

In areas of the country where there are few agricultural crops, honeybees rely upon garden flowers to ensure they have a diverse diet and to provide nectar and pollen. Encourage honeybees to visit your garden by planting single flowering plants and vegetables. Go for all the allium family, all the mints, all beans except French beans and flowering herbs. Bees like daisy-shaped flowers - asters and sunflowers, also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves. Bees need a lot of pollen and trees are a good source of food. Willows and lime trees are exceptionally good.

  • Encourage local authorities to use bee-friendly plants in public spaces

Some of the country’s best gardens and open spaces are managed by local authorities. Recently these authorities have recognised the value of planning gardens, roundabouts and other areas with flowers that attract bees. Encourage your authority to improve the area you live in by adventurous planting schemes. These can often be maintained by local residents if the authority feels they do not have sufficient resources.

  • Weeds can be a good thing

Contrary to popular belief, a lawn full of clover and dandelions is not just a good thing—it’s a great thing! A haven for honeybees (and other native pollinators too). Don’t be so nervous about letting your lawn live a little. Wildflowers, many of which we might classify as weeds, are some of the most important food sources for native North American bees. If some of these are “weeds” you chose to get rid of (say you want to pull out that blackberry bush that’s taking over), let it bloom first for the bees and then before it goes to seed, pull it out or trim it back!

  • Don’t use chemicals or pesticides to treat your lawn or garden

Yes, they make your lawn look pristine and pretty, but they’re actually doing the opposite to the life in your biosphere. The chemicals and pest treatments you put on your lawn and garden can cause damage to the honeybees systems. These treatments are especially damaging if applied while the flowers are in bloom as they will get into the pollen and nectar and be taken back to the bee hive where they also get into the honey—which in turn means they can get into us. Pesticides, specifically neo-nicotinoid varieties have been one of the major culprits in Colony Collapse Disorder.

  • Bees are thirsty. Put a small basin of fresh water outside your home

You may not have known this one—but it’s easy and it’s true! If you have a lot of bees starting to come to your new garden of native plants, wildflowers, and flowering herbs, put a little water basin out (a bird bath with some stones in it for them to crawl on does a nice trick). They will appreciate it!

  • Let dandelions and clover grow in your yard.

Dandelions and clover are two of the bees’ favorite foods – they provide tons of nourishment and pollen for our pollinators to make honey and to feed their young (look at this bee frolicking in a dandelion below – like a pig in shit!) And these flowers could not be any easier to grow – all you have to do is not do anything.

I highly recommend also taking a look at this article too as honey is tested on animals, yes, as it says and the article explains honey is tested on dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, mice, rats…

As you can see, there is much more than saying “let’s help the bees by eating honey, vegans are dumb, they need to eat honey because what they eat relies on it”... We can save the bees without taking away the honey they produce, that’s a fact.

Honey is meant as a health food; a healthy food for bees. The more we interfere with their natural processes, both by relying on farmed bees as pollinators (rather than other native wild bees, insects or animals) and to feed our desires for “sweets,” the close we’re coming to agricultural disaster.

Sources

Keep reading

Genetically Modified Foods Get an Unwarranted Bad Rap

We have been genetically modifying our food crops for centuries, but only in recent decades has there been an outcry against GM foods. Traditional breeding is the least safe way of genetically altering food, and this method dates back to thousands of years ago. It was through this process that corn was actually made to be edible and so many other crops have been vastly improved. In the United States, nearly 80% of the food is or contains GMOs, so they are nearly impossible to avoid.

Today, we have the technology to manipulate only the gene or genes we want to target, the absolute safest methods of genetically modifying organisms, and all of these modern methods (the last two in the info-graphic) require rigorous years of testing before they can be released to the public marketplace. A lot of the supposed health risks of GM foods simply have no scientific basis or are very rare occurrences that are spread by the media and by people who are not educated on the science behind GMOs.

GMOs have so much potential to make better, safer crops, but if we ban them, we may not be able to provide food for the expanding human race in the years to come. 

GMOs can help:

  • reduce production costs
  • increase crop yields
  • rid food of allergens
  • create foods with greater nutritional value, taste and texture
  • create foods with a longer shelf life
  • create crops that can better withstand environmental stress

and the benefits continue on.

This all being said, I do believe that we need to be careful with GMOs, because as with everything, there are risks involved. GM crops need to be controlled at some level so that their impact on the environment is minimal. This is one reason that I myself am such a big proponent of indoor urban agriculture as the future of agriculture.

In addition, large companies, such as Monsanto, should not have as much power as they do. A lot of the research they conduct is not inherently bad, in fact a lot of it is good for the future of agriculture, but the way they influence agriculture and often abuse their power is bad, and it is often because of the ways that large companies abuse their power that people automatically label all of their products, even the good helpful ones, as bad. People need to focus their efforts on regulating large corporations, not banning GMOs.

GMOs should not be banned because of the potential they hold for the future of agriculture, but they should be controlled, and they should be labeled because I do believe consumers have the right to know.

If anyone has questions or concerns about GMOs, just hit the ask button and I’ll be happy to expand your knowledge!

usatoday.com
Academies of Science finds GMOs not harmful to human health
Genetically engineered crops do not cause increases in cancer, obesity,autism or allergies, a new report says

Genetically engineered crops are safe for humans and animals to eat and have not caused increases in cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal illnesses, kidney disease, autism or allergies, an exhaustive report from the National Academies of Science released Tuesday found.

Work on the 388-page report began two years ago and was conducted by a committee of more than 50 scientists, researchers and agricultural and industry experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It reviewed more than 900 studies and data covering the 20 years since genetically modified crops were first introduced.

Overall, genetically engineered (GE) crops saved farmers in the United States money but didn’t appear to increase crop yields. They have lowered pest populations in some areas, especially in the Midwest but increased the number of herbicide-resistant weeds in others. There’s also no evidence that GE crops have affected the population of monarch butterflies, the report said.

The review was thorough and systemic, assessing many of the issues that have been raised about genetically engineered crops over the years, said Gregory Jaffe, director of biotechnology at the non-profit watchdog group the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington D.C. The group was not involved in the report’s creation.

Continue Reading.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the whole “GMOs are bad for you” propaganda is distracting from the real problem with GMOs, which is the economically exploitative business model of Monsanto and other companies which specialize in that field. We’ve been genetically modifying food since before we even began to understand genetics. The entire cultivar of bananas we eat is genetically modified. Every cultivar of apples we eat is genetically modified. Selective breeding and other genetic modification processes to make food larger and tastier are a significant part of agriculture and have been for centuries. All the “but it’s not natural so it’s bad!” people have literally zero understanding of how the food we eat comes to be. Using more modern techniques to do the same things we’ve been doing for centuries is not scary. It’s progress. And modern genetic modification techniques allow us to develop cultivars that are larger, hardier, more resistant to disease and pests, and grow in larger quantities, which (if it weren’t for the economic issues I’m about to discuss) could allow us to feed waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more people without using much more in the way of resources.

The problem with GMOs is, as far as I know, twofold. One, there are patented genes, which should not be legal. This means that if you’re caught growing those particular versions of those crops without licensing them, you’re open to lawsuits from the patent holders. This is even true in cases where seeds from crops on neighboring properties have blown over in the wind or carried over by animals. Two, there are patented crops which are seedless, like many cultivars of different crops modified with old world techniques, that have to be repurchased from the manufacturer every season. These are also subject to the same patent laws and thus if you find a way around the need to repurchase, you are legally liable for damages to the manufacturer.

These are obviously exploitative practices which, while they do very little harm to large farms with substantial income and subsidies, hurt poor farms, especially in poorer countries. And pressure from the major Western powers, particularly the US, has assisted corporations in exploiting those poorer countries. For example, after the earthquake in Haiti, Monsanto offered a year of free seeds to Haitian farmers who lost their crops. The next year, they were expected to either pay full price for a new set of seeds or destroy any future crops. This is an unacceptable model.

The bullshit “it’s not natural!” whining about GMOs is actually harmful to prospects of correcting the economic injustices caused by the current way of handling that side of agriculture. By centering the conversation around irrational health scares, we ignore the economic exploitation, and most people never learn that it’s happening. Watch: in a few years, when studies come out proving the harmlessness of GMO crops, the discussion will be more or less laid to rest. People in general in the West, with the power to pressure their governments into legislating away these exploitative practices, will feel like there’s nothing left to fight on the issue, and the discussion will end. We need to focus on the true harm of these corporations before it’s too late.

CONSIDER

I know Leo is a history buff BUT CONSIDER THIS… MODERN AU LEO AS A BIO MAJOR… WITH A CONCENTRATION IN BOTANY… BOI I DIE!!!!! HE IS A PLANT NERD AND YOU CAN’T STOP ME!!!!!

headcanons:

-he is a plant hoarder I’m 500% certain he has plants everywhere in his home filled to the brim with plants INCLUDING HIS BATHROOM

-he has the regular varieties + variegated varieties

-he knows the species name for every plant he owns and he has to constantly remember to use the common name for the plants whenever he’s with friends+family

-he has a lot of books on gardening 

-despite the books having pics AND HAVING HIS OWN GARDEN he also follows a lot of plant blogs HAHAHAH

-he obs has a garden in his backyard (or a container garden on a balcony if apartment) BUT HE HAS A SPACE DEDICATED TO JUST TOMATOES!!!!! ALL SORTS OF TOMATOES!!! ROMA, CHERRY, BASICALLY A FUCKTON OF TOMATOES

-he really likes to grow crop plants but he dies when he gotta deal with common crop pests (HE GOES HAM ON PESTS THAT DARE TO TOUCH HIS TOMATOES)

-his favorite flower to grow would probably be roses…

-tbh he would never give away the tomatoes he grows unless he really has a fuckton or maybe for a special occasion. He’d fuckin pickle them just to preserve them he is a tomato fucker

-ok for his research project he would probably be helping out with finding plants that can for creating energy efficiently something more feasible than corn lol

-he’s like on the fence on gmos honestly he’s like “technically most current crops are gmos bc humans have been manipulating and crossbreeding plants for thousands of years” honestly whatever gives him GOOD TOMATOES 

under the cut are leokumi headcanons with this plant nerd au leo

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

What are your thoughts on GMO?

In terms of crops at least, I am against GMOs, though not due to it being unnatural or “playing God.” The humanitarian potential of genetically modified crops are huge, as well as having the potential to limit pesticide and insecticide use. However, what I object to is the idea that a crop should be anyone’s intellectual property. Large corporations like Monsato are now able to create and copyright their own crop specimens and pressure or force farmers to use it, and can then control food at its source and dictate unfair terms, as they are currently doing.

Government oversight for GM crop development is also dangerously lax. The FDA for example, does not require a single safety study for GMO crops and corporations can put them to market without even informing the agency. Besides this, GMOs may reduce biodiversity which would be harmful to local ecosystems; the potential damage done to animal populations is still untested. In short, I am not against GMOs as a concept, but I am against how they are being used and who is using them.

anonymous asked:

Green's anti-GE stance is perfectly reasonable. Anyone who thinks they're leaning towards the tin-foil hat side, educate yourself about Monsanto, plant patenting and 'terminator' crops, the destruction of farming due to forced monoculture, or anything along those lines. I guarantee you won't sleep tonight. Big Agriculture is a frightening entity that operates well under most of the populations' radar, is gaining more traction in Canada and I am very glad the Green Party is out to change that.

Its not perfectly reasonable because GMO foods are 100% safe. Safety is and has never been an issue. Trust me I’m a science major, and know what I’m talking about. I’m sick and tired of this anti-GMO paranoia.

Every major scientific body and regulatory agency in the world has reviewed the research about GMOs and openly declared crop biotechnology and the foods currently available for sale to be safe. GM crops are as safe–and in the case of nutritionally enhanced varieties, such as Golden Rice, healthier–than conventional and organic crops. The consensus over the health and safety is as strong as the consensus that we are undergoing human induced climate change, vaccines are beneficial and not harmful and evolution is a fact.

Read the PDF here. Organizations that are listed: The American Medical Association, The Royal Society of Medicine, World Health Organization and The National Academy of Sciences.

Yes Monsanto is terrible, but people are conflating this with GMO foods in general, which is a dangerous position to take. Monsanto is terrible but its not because of GMO foods, its because of the immoral business practices they adopt.

!sOMG, GMOs!

I was asked to elaborate in a less douchey way why I’m so hard on GMO opponents, so I thought I’d write out my entire position on it. This is very, very, very long… but I think it’s a good read.

The discussion in public forms, as currently phrased, is often completely nonsensical. Here’s why:

Genetic Modification is a label describing a collection of tools we can use to change the properties of plants and organisms. We’ve been doing it literally for millennia through hybridization and artificial selection - both of which are essentially educated guesses and a little blind luck.

So at the highest and most abstract level, saying you are against organisms that have been genetically modified doesn’t make any sense. Almost every crop, food, plant, or animal we consume has been modified by hybridization or artificial selection. So clearly a GMO Opponent doesn’t mean the mere *modification* of an organism genetically. After all, I can use hybridization to combine Cotoneaster and Blueberries to create a new, still poisonous berry that can kill you.

So we can step down a bit to the next level of the discussion: Opponents of GMOs obviously mean a *specific kind* of modification - most likely transgenics or RNA Interference (the newest and most accurate types of modification). But since approximately zero GMO opponents I’ve talked to know those words I automatically can tell they don’t know much about the specifics of the practices, at least in an academic sense. In order to understand the technology you *have* to know what those words mean. Sorta like saying “Yeah, I understand how cars work” but I don’t know what the words ‘transmission’ or 'gasoline’ mean.

So, the person should say “I’m an opponent of transgenic gmos” if that’s the case at the very least. But even then, transgenics is just a tool - taking gene A from plant A and put it in plant B to give B plant A’s properties. It’s sorta like being against using a certain kind of combine, or tractor, when farming. RNA Interference is turning on and off a gene already in plant A.

Of course, I have to ask, *why* they’re against that particular tool? I generally assume that either it’s because they feel that the tool (the method of conducting the modification) isn’t well understood (Thus, leading to unpredictable results), or that the *results* of using the tool aren’t well understood or are unsafe. (There certainly may be other answers, but I’ve yet to encounter them)

If the former (they feel the tool isn’t understood) I immediately try to understand their knowledge in the area. Are they aware of how much information exists on gene therapies, modifications? How long the techniques are in practice? Generally not (especially if they don’t know the term transgenic). Most often this 'feeling of unease’ around the *tool* comes from a complete lack of understanding. At the very least, I’m not aware of any evidence that gene transfer is outside of our understanding. (Please correct me if I’m wrong) or that the results of doing so are unstable.

Generally though, it’s the later: The results are unsafe. Well, they can be. A scientist could lace a gene that produces cyanide into a cucumber and produce deadly cucumbers if they so chose to. But, that cucumber couldn’t and wouldn’t pass any of the independent (or not independent!) testing that takes place. But even still, if a transgenics opponent thinks the *results* of a transfer are unsafe… which one? Each GMO crop is different, and simply because the same *tool* is used in a different set of crops doesn’t mean the different crops share the same properties or safety concerns. Case in point, the same equipment that tills the soil for tobacco is used for soy or corn. Just because tobacco is unsafe to consume doesn’t mean the same is true for the other crops that also use the same tool in the production process. 

So, even if a new, peer reviewed study came out that a particular type of Bt Corn caused issues - they’d recall the corn in a heart beat (Please see the Starlink Corn Recall - the creators spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the off chance there MIGHT be an allergic reaction, which there wasn’t) but that doesn’t mean anything about the *tool* used to make the corn, it only tells us about the gene that was transferred using the tool.

TL;DR
A person would need to be against modification on the whole (which they can’t be since nearly everything is modified by one process or the other), via a particular modification technique (which they would need to be able to identify, preferably using the correct name, the specific technique), and then either describe the problem with the technique (Which I’ve yet to see done in a GMO discussion) or the problem with the *result* of the technique, which would be specific to a particular plant or gene (which they would also need to be able to identify).
And if that plant had an issue, we’d be able to find it and recall the plant, but would certainly not testify to the safety of any other plant.

When I talk to most GMO Opponents, in general I get the sense they just, kinda don’t like the idea of genetically modified food, and the unease makes them fight against it. And *that* is what I mock whenever possible. 


———

I would (and have in the past!) take a GMO opponent seriously if they said:
 
“I’m against GMO plant bt Corn, because the xymz gene can cause slightly higher rates of kidney activity. Here’s an article showing the correlation, and here’s reviews of the article”

Or

“The introduction of glyphosate resistance has increased the use of glyphosate, which is worse from the environment than the organic pesticide blah blah. Here’s an article describing the differences between the two. That’s why I’m against GMOs that have the round up gene”

etc.

I’m glad to say I’ve had conversations like that before (and they’ve always resulted in me doing hours of reading), but they are very, very, very rare.


The other criticisms (generally of a vast global agriculture industry conspiracy involving every government, scientist, safety agency, research firm, and independent safety testing lab) or that the whole agriculture industry is garbage for this or that reason are red herrings and unrelated to the actual issue of GMO safety. 

A snapshot of the United Empire in 2079.

  • An 11PM curfew is strictly enforced, especially in large cities.
  • High-ranking Cyberpolice reserve the right to execute the most dangerous criminals on the spot, even if the criminal has surrendered.
  • The only approved version of the Internet in the Empire is the VaporNet, designed by Kojima|Acetron and heavily censored by the local authorities. Using any other private Internet is strictly prohibited without a license.
  • Firearms ownership is illegal, which leaves the population defenseless from both criminals and abusive Cybercops.
  • Live executions of major terrorists, crime lords, political activists, and enemy soldiers are held weekly near the Imperial Palace and broadcast on the United Empire’s official state network.
  • It is illegal to be seated during the nation’s anthem, “Victoria”, unless there is good reason to remain seated.
  • Protests are punished with lethal force.
  • The Empire generates an immense profit from drug and alcohol sales, despite acknowledging both as immoral.
  • The Empire has a colossal underground hydroponics system which generates GMO food crops around the clock. The extent of this system is thought to run from Pennsylvania to Florida underground.

anonymous asked:

You posted some stuff about GMOs and I just wanted to encourage you to do some research on them! You generally seem pretty well educated on food so I think it would benefit you! GMOs allow for the use of less pesticides and use 0 chemicals. (1/2)

Continued…..

In fact, the majority of GMOs is simply breeding different plants to make them yield more! It’s all just scientific engineering to make agriculture more efficient. Have a great day! Also, your post about corporation owned corn is misleading information! Monsanto breeds new strands and seeds of corn that have greater yield, so farmers opt to buy these because their return is larger. Same goes for wheat! They could use others But using other seeds mean using more land and water and pesticides for less yield! It’s economically and environmentally better to use genetically modified corn and wheat strands. Remember, GMO simply means organisms are bred together!

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As an environmental science major i have had to do a lot of research on GMOs and write too many opinion papers on them! I’m just going to copy and paste one of my essays here for you to read rather than writing it all out again! Thanks for this message though- i enjoy talking about things like this with people who actually are educated on the subject!!

With the turn of the century, the advent of GM foods have created a new divide in society: those for GM foods and those opposed to it. With the confusion over the new science, GMO companies like Monsanto have spread the use of their products with little resistance. Now, as the public has become more informed on the issues at hand, GM foods have been put under scrutiny. While GM foods boast advantages for agriculture, these advantages have major side effects that outweigh the positive effects and these coupled with their monoculturism and their spreadability make them a major threat to the farming industry rather than a benefit.

GM foods are said to have major beneficial factors that outweigh their negative effects. It is claimed that with increase in GM foods, pesticide usage will go down, however; this is untrue due to the use of glyphosate. Glyphosate, more commonly known as ‘Roundup’, is a herbicide that is commonly used to kill off weeds that are found around crops. Since the start of GM foods, Glyphosate-resistant crops have been invented, making the option for farmers to be able to spray Glyphosate to kill off weeds without harming their crops (GMO Crops). Although this seems like an excellent invention, it has had some serious unintended consequences. Rather than go down, pesticide use has grown because the new GM crops are unaffected by pesticides (GMO Crops), so farmers no longer have to worry about over spraying their crops. GM crops have been tested to reduce or eliminate nut allergies, even though this is a step in the right direction, they are also creating new allergies as well as worsening known allergies. New allergies are being created from the increase in herbicide use and the changing of DNA without being labeled (Institute for). GM foods have brought the ability to feed more people with less time, space, and money. While being able to feed the growing population is good, the GM foods have less nutritional value and the longterm affect on the human body is still unknown (8 Reasons).

Ever since the creation of GM foods, genetic diversity of crops have gone down. 100 years ago there were 307 types of corn being grown and consumed, today there are only 12, but most of the corn grown belongs to one of three of these types. This is the same with almost every crop grown today. As the usage of GM foods grows, crop diversity is diminishing (We Used). Along with the fact that we are loosing types of food, plants that have less diversity tend to have a harder time with survival. Wether this is through fighting off deceases, living through droughts, or warding away insects, natural plants have a better chance of living (8 Reasons). The mono-culturing of crops also depletes the soil of beneficial nutrients, which will cause a future decline in production.

GM crops are able to pass on their modified traits on to other species, many of which are not targeted crops. This can lead to the creation of a new species that have not been tested nor have been meant to be created (8 Reasons). This is a huge environmental risk because it can change certain genetic components of other foods making them unsafe to consume, as well as destroying a crucial source of food for other species. The Monarch Butterfly’s food, milkweed, has unintentionally been mixed with Bt corn. The corn seeds have drifted into milkweed crops and the two have crossbred to create a version of milkweed poisonous to the Monarch. This spread also takes away a consumer’s right to chose what they want to put into their body. As GM crops spread, companies like Monsanto gain power by seizing farms accidentally infected with GMOs (Pocket K).

GMO companies have a tight grip on agriculture and it will take a lot of informed opposition to loosen this hold. Much of the damage of GM foods will only be reversed with time, but first, production of these crops needs to be stunted if not stopped. Their obvious abuse of the environment will not only hurt the areas where they are used, but the larger environment around us, and no one is being held responsible for these actions. With the increase in pesticides, allergies, and crops with empty calories, global human health will deteriorate. The most damning point of evidence against GM foods is this: if GM foods were truly as good for us as advertised, why did Monsanto pump millions into not having food labels as “GMO” or “non-GMO” (What are).

Sources Sited

“8 Reasons GMOs Are Bad for You | Organicauthority.com - Organic Living.” Organicauthoritycom Organic Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2014.

“Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?” Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2014.

“GMO Crops Increase Pesticide Use.” Farm Wars RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.

“GMO Myths and Truths Report.” 5.2. Myth: GM Crops Decrease Pesticide Use. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014.

“Institute for Responsible Technology.” - Genetically Engineered Foods May Cause Rising Food AllergiesGenetically Engineered Soybeans. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.

“Pocket K No. 4: GM Crops and the Environment.” GM Crops and the Environment. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.

“We Used To Have 307 Kinds Of Corn. Guess How Many Are Left?” Upworthy. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.

“What Are We Eating? - LabelGMOs.” LabelGMOs. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.

alliethefeminist-deactivated201  asked:

Hey! I'm also artsciencenursng and commented on the sweet potato picture about GMOs.. Thanks for the correction. Just wondering if you could share your opinion/knowledge since you seem to know a lot about seeds and agriculture :) Is it true that GM fruits/veggies can't be sprouted/produce seeds because of the chemical changes made the the seeds? Also, does organic alway mean GMO free? Thanks! -Allison

Hey! Thanks for getting back to me on that. I appreciate having a conversation about this stuff, because there is not enough exchange between the medical community and the agricultural community on what a lot of these terms mean: which it makes it even more confusing for the general public!

Genetically Modified Organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have had their genetic makeup altered through a process called genetic engineering. There are a variety of techniques used in genetic engineering: some of the earliest examples are genetically modifying bacteria and viruses for use in specialised delivery of medicines. For example, a biosynthetic insulin (Humulin) was synthesised in 1978 from a lab culture of genetically-modified E. coli, and since then, it has eliminated the need for patients to use animal insulin, which was both cruel to animals, and caused infection in patients.

Genetically modified crops are created with genetic engineering techniques for many purposes, some of them being improved shelf lifeimproved nutritionstress resistanceherbicide resistancepathogen resistance, and the production of biofuels.

Usually, the issues with these crops aren’t that they “cause cancer,” as no reputable study has ever shown they are harmful to human health. The issues with GMO crops is that they are patented, and seeds cannot be harvested year-after-year, nurturing a dependency on seed providers; farmers who harvest and re-plant self-harvested seeds risk intellectual property lawsuits. GMO crops also displace native and heirloom food and fibre crops on local markets, and these crops have been created through hundreds of years of artificial selection to be suited to their unique biomes, and farmed sustainably. Pesticide-resistant strains of cash crops like cotton encourage the current unsustainable mode of monoculture/pesticide-heavy farming, which in turn contributes to increased plant disease, insecticidal resistance, soil erosion, and the destruction of forests, unique biomes, and animal habitats.

Further, in places like the EU, things like seed-swapping are becoming more and more close to being totally illegal. This masquerades as a form of biosecurity, but is more likely being pushed through by seed company lobbies, who would like a monopoly on the market.

GMOs are a band-aid solution to a broken food and agriculture system, and from my point of view they do not address the fundamental environmental problems in the way we currently farm. There are further complex issues, such as gene flow into wild crops, that are of serious concern to those of us interested in the preservation of crop diversity. The Irish Potato Famine was largely caused by the fact that there was a genetic bottleneck in the potato population in Europe: one variety of potato in particular, the Irish Lumper, was grown, and this lack of diversity made the population extremely vulnerable when late blight (Phytophthora infestans) swept through the country. If you have studied biology, you know that diversity is the one of the greatest sources of resiliency in a population: it’s the reason why organisms like us reproduce sexually instead of asexually, because sexual reproduction increases the number of unique combinations of DNA in the population, and makes our species less vulnerable to disease. By this same token, when we depend so totally on a few carefully-engineered crops, be they GMO or otherwise, we risk the resiliency of our food system and biomes, should new agricultural diseases arise and mutate (as they always do, in this evolutionary arms race).

Now, the ability of an organism to produce fruit without being fertilised (ie. not producing viable seed) is called parthenocarpy. It has been around for longer than genetic engineering, because of the desirability (for consumers) of food crops like seedless grapes, watermelons, and oranges. I have two fig trees in my garden, and I live in Denmark, outside of the range of the fig wasp, which is a specialised pollinator of these plants. I can still harvest fruits, because the varieties I grow are bred to produce parthenocarpic “virgin fruit,” and propagated asexually, through what we gardeners call “cuttings,” which is a sort of cloning you can do in your own backyard. The so-called “Terminator Seeds” you are referencing in your question are a myth of the anti-GMO/anti-Monsanto movement, and they have never actually been brought to mass market. 

Seedless GMO eggplant has been developed and tested, and the result has been a more nutritious and larger fruit. Biology is a realm of trade-offs: take the sweet potato you reblogged earlier. When a tuber like a sweet potato sprouts, it sends energy to the newly emerging growth, taking it from the stored energy in the tuber. A sprouted sweet potato is not a nutritious sweet potato. Similarly, the production of seeds takes energy, which is instead put into the fruit when said organism is parthenocarpic. 

As for your other question: certified organic does not mean GMO-free, and organic means one thing in the United States, another thing here in European Union, and still another thing in other parts of the world. The initiative towards labelling GMOs is, in fact, actually damaging for the organic movement, because it provides an opportunity for companies to engage in a deceptive marketing practice called “greenwashing.”

Monsanto actually makes a number of organic products, but their history as a chemical company who made such horrific products as Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs, rBGH (a dairy cow hormone responsible for pus in your milk), and Aspartame, combined with their penchant for suing small farmers into bankruptcy, has given them a serious PR problem. The infamous, and much-maligned Monsanto Bt toxin insecticidal corn is so-condemned because people don’t know that Bt is derived from a bacteria, and has been used in certified organic farming since the 1920s, alongside other organically-derived insecticides such as neem oil.

Long story short, people are afraid of GMOs because they have been told they are scary “Frankenfoods,” which distracts and discredits people who resist GMO practices for other reasons, be they social justice or ecological ones.

This is a long answer that I hope covers some of your concerns. Hopefully you can take this knowledge back to your nursing peers! Thanks again for asking questions!