STORY BY KASSY CHESIRE
Imagine walking into a grocery store with a craving for some corn chips.
You stroll down the aisle and pick up a bag bearing neutral beige and brown packaging. In the corner, the bag boasts that its contents are all natural. It says it is made with no preservatives and containing no GMOs, or genetically modified organism.
Then, to your horror, you realize this bag of corn chips will cost you six dollars. If you’re anything like me, you would set the bag down in a heartbeat and decide that you would rather save up to buy some new shoes than shell out an arm and a leg to avoid GMOs.
What even is a GMO? And are GMOs as evil as society thinks they are?
There is a lot of criticism on both sides of the argument with regards to GMOs, but some of them might surprise you.
In fact, the intentions behind the technology might even make you reconsider your critcisms.
GMO is an umbrella term to describe any kind of life form that has been manipulated to perform better.
One of the first GMOs was patented in 1980, created to “eat up” crude oil as a treatment for oil spills.
Since, the use of GMOs has exploded — it gives agricultural business owners the advantage of higher yielding crops. Companies like Beck’s Hybrids and
Pioneer Hi-bred have been experimenting with ways to increase crop yield for years.
While this may sound like a way to fulfill a greedy farmer’s agenda, there’s a little more to it.
The population on Earth is increasing exponentially and is expected to hit 9.6 billion by 2050. And while the number of hungry mouths is going to keep growing, the amount of space for farmland is not.
Because of urban sprawl, the amount of farmland by 2050 will actually decrease. This poses a challenge for anyone in the food production industry.
How can they best use their resources?
The best solution to this problem is to increase efficiency of the crops they produce. Essentially, the agricultural industry has a social responsibility to do research and prepare for the future.
Genetically modified crops give farmers a little more leverage against external factors like dry seasons, pests and other unpredictable obstacles.
That said, I’m all for people making their own educated decisions about what foods to put into their body. And it can’t possibly be said that all GMOs are the same because it’s a very broad term used to describe all engineered organisms.
There are very real health concerns about GMOs that still need to be pursued and researched by the industry and the Food and Drug Administration.
Food safety is a priority to many individuals.
But in reality, GMOs are the best way to prepare for the strain of a massive population.
“GMO” seems to be everyone’s new favorite acronym. It is the new “bad word” that everyone loves to hate.
Ask anyone on the street what they know about GMOs and they will probably say something along the lines of “Uh… they’re bad”.
Jimmy Kimmel did a segment about this that is worth the watch. It’s almost embarrassing.
Looking forward, the public needs to shine a light on the research concerning GMOs.
Rather than criticizing them and condemning the research, we should look for healthy, realistic solutions to the problems of tomorrow.