For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 12 May 2013
Thirty years ago this month, scientists announced that foreign genes had been successfully introduced into plant cells, creating the first genetically modified crops.
Ever since, GM crops have promised “a second green revolution: a wealth of enhanced foods, fuels and fibres that would feed the starving, deliver profits for farmers, and promote a greener environment.”
But things have not worked out that way, despite the fact that in many places where they are planted, genetically modified crops have almost totally replaced conventional planting, yields and profits have increased, and in some cases the amount and variety of pesticides needed have reduced.
What was once seen as biological wizardry is increasingly labelled “Frankenfood,” there are fears that GM crop contamination is unstoppable, and the potential longterm negative effects are unknown.
GM crops are certainly here to stay. The challenge is to harness this marriage between science and nature for good, with effective consumer education and protection.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.