dimanche 18 mars 2018

125- GMOs, what if story was rewritten?


I very recently had an interesting exchange on Facebook about the problem of dicamba. Dicamba is the new crusade of environmental NGOs.

It's a selective grass herbicide (that is, it's not toxic to grasses), so it only destroys broadleaf weeds.
A controversy has been launched in recent months on this product. The titles of a lot of articles are alarmist, as for example this one «Monsanto’s weed killer,
Or this one "Battle over Monsanto’s potent new weedkiller heads to court" https://www.wsj.com/articles/monsanto-bolsters-its-defense-of-weed-killer-1510137001

Monsanto again, what a devil !!!!!!!!!!!

Yet dicamba is, on the one hand, far from being a new herbicide (registered as a herbicide in 1983, after having been registered for the first time in 1967 http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/herb-growthreg /dalapon-ethephon/dicamba/herb-prof-dicamba.html), and on the other hand not at all an exclusivity of Monsanto (Syngenta, BASF, Nufarm, or Dupont for example make and/or sell it also).
But it turns out that Monsanto had the idea (questionable, I already gave you my opinion on it http://culturagriculture.blogspot.com.es/2015/09/53-gmo-why-not.html), to create GMO cotton and soybean varieties resistant to this herbicide.

After a long battle against glyphosate in Europe, which results in a half-failure, and is postponed to 5 years later, for a possible future renewal, anti-pesticide and especially anti-GMO movements found in the dicamba a new battle horse.
Conveniently, the renewal of the authorization of this herbicide arrives on December 31, 2018. A perfect deadline for militants already heated with glyphosate, scalded by a badly accepted decision, and ready to leave in tight ranks for a new crusade.

So we see an incalculable amount of collateral problems due to dicamba, as if the use of this herbicide (whose volatility has always been known) over the past 30 years had never caused any problems. All of a sudden these problems, hitherto unknown to the public, become unsustainable.

So, what should we think of all this? Is there a reality behind?
Probably, but also probably much less than its actual gravity, and especially its relative gravity, in comparison with what existed before, or in comparison with the gravity of other existing problems.
Molière, French famous theater writer, adapting a former saying of the 13th century wrote in 1672, who wants to drown his dog, accuses it of having rabies.

This is very clearly the current situation of the incessant attacks against Monsanto and, in general, against anything that may have a direct or indirect relationship with GMOs.

In short, it leads me to a reflection on this crusade against GMOs.

Is there a scientific consensus on GMOs? Hard to say. Studies that must be challenged come from work done or financed by the powerful pro-GMO lobby, or on the contrary by the powerful anti-GMO lobby. One can safely dismiss all these works whose honesty must be questioned. A study that includes this work can’t lead to a consensus.

On the other hand, a comparison work that includes only non-debatable works, would most likely result in a broad and favorable consensus.

But that's not really the bottom of my thinking.
It made me wonder, after all these preliminary reflections, what would have happened if the development of GMOs had been different:
Using a technique invented in 1973, the first large-scale commercial development of GMO technology is done by the American company Monsanto, for seeds of crops resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, itself being, at that time, an exclusivity of Monsanto.
On the aspect of the development of the company, it's not only very coherent, but even very astute.
Except that it was not counting, on the first hand, on the negligence of some farmers who began to abuse glyphosate, with consequences on the environment, the quality of soils, the quality of waters, and the health of the local residents, and on the other hand, on the growing concern of consumer associations, which has gradually turned into a crusade against pesticides.

I have already said that I think that Monsanto's strategic choice is ethically highly questionable, even if it's clear to those who know a little about agriculture, that the use of herbicides has a justification in many respects. http://culturagriculture.blogspot.com.es/2015/08/50-plant-protection-3-herbicides-why.html
But to allow, with no safeguards, to any not necessarily scrupulous farmer to apply a herbicide directly on the crop, and even on the edible part of the crop is at least risky.
At the beginning of the GMO technology, an ethics commission, as it exists for medicine, was missing, in order to limit risks of abuse.

Because finally, let's be clear.
Let's imagine that the first commercial GMOs were for example:
-       Crops enriched with nutrients, as is the case of golden rice, likely to prevent blindness of 2 million children per year, at least 250,000 of whom will die because of the severity of their vitamin-A deficiency,
-       Or drought-resistant crops, as is the case, for example, with certain varieties of sorghum adapted to the Sahelian climate, or rice that doesn't need any flood phase, allowing it to be cultivated in many regions,
-       Or crops resistant to insect attack, both to reduce the use of pesticides, while increasing the average production by reducing damage, resulting in a reduced risk of famine in the poorest areas.

Do you really believe that this systematic opposition would have developed?
Don't you think that this rejection of Monsanto is more like a rejection of dehumanized capitalism, rather than a real rejection of a problem the real foundations of which probably more than half activists ignore?
Don't you think that if GMOs had been developed from the outset in a humanist spirit, the debate would probably never have existed?

I'm convinced that the organizations that are currently the most virulent, in particular Greenpeace, have found in GMOs, a great way to attract affiliates, provoke donations, generate income, gain power.

But in the meantime, millions of children continue to die while the solution exists, but it's blocked by Greenpeace.
Watch this petition, launched on Avaaz, two and a half years ago. It has barely exceeded 1000 signatures in this time. Yet it is about saving thousands of children.
Then this other petition, directed against Monsanto, and launched one year later, exceeds 2 million signatures.

In what world are we living?

Picture: http://www.gmwatch.org/images/banners/pro-gm-golden-rice-message-710px.jpg

The brainwashing has worked so well that it's better to let these children die (they are far away, poor, we don't see them and we don't hear them, it's true), rather than calling into question a lie.
No one disputes the opinions of Greenpeace. They are necessarily right.
It's Greenpeace, come on!

If there is one thing that I consider Monsanto could be accused of, it's to have killed the GMO technology, with which it claimed to become rich and powerful, out of pure economic interest.
This is the epitome of wild, dehumanized capitalism.

And just as I consider that Greenpeace should be accused of a crime against humanity for blocking the authorization of golden rice, Monsanto should also be accused of a crime against humanity for killing GMO technology, and all the benefits that it could have brought to humanity.

Because if Monsanto had not sought to get rich on GMO technology, and Greenpeace had not decided this total blocking, we would have GM crops around the world, which would allow us to produce with much less pesticides, and much less food loss, most dry lands would have become agricultural areas again, allowing their own people to live there avoiding famine, and malnutrition problems would be disappearing.
In short, we would have a much more sustainable agriculture, more respectful of the environment, the most vulnerable people would have access to food from their own production, and organic farming would have progressed much more because it would finally have found the technical means to do it (GMOs would most likely be allowed in organic farming, since they would produce more, better, with no negative impact on the environment or the consumer).

Another world.
But it's not ours.

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