Tales from the Food Crisis: The True Horrors of GMOs

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How could we have ever believed that it as a good idea to grow our food with poisons. – Dr. Jane Goodall 

To celebrate the end of Non-GMO month, we are excited to share the below excerpt from Dr. Jane Goodall’s book, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants, published by Grand Central Publishing, a branch of Hachette Book Group. To read more about Dr. Goodall’s findings on GMOs and to take the journey with her as she discovers some of the most amazing things about trees and other plants, be sure to pick up a copy of her latest book.

The most recent monstrous crime against plants – at least in my view – is the tinkering with their DNA. One example is the insertion of bacterial genes into the DNA of plants so that they produce proteins toxic to insect pests. The era of biotechnology has begun. For me, born in 1934 – before TV, before computers, before the landing on the Moon – the creation of genetically modified (BM) crops is another example of science fiction become reality.

Of course, when this new technology was introduced to the agricultural world, the gradual erosion of traditional farming methods – which began with the introduction of monoculture crops and chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides – sped up. When I was gathering facts for my book Harvest for Hope, I talked to many people about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), people on both sides of what has become a hugely contentious issue. Proponents spoke of the benefits in glowing terms. Now there will be no need for spraying our fields with noxious chemical pesticides – the plants themselves will kill any pest that dares sample a forbidden leaf. Designer-crop plants are tolerant of chemical herbicides, so we can spray the fields and kill the weeds with those chemical without harming our harvest. And as the globe heats up, GM drought-resistant plants will continue to thrive. Yields will increase. The farmers will benefit. The environment will benefit. Hooray! Science can solve the problem of providing enough food for the ever-expanding human population.

Alas! Such hopes have proved as insubstantial as the pipe dreams of the opium smokers – although the GMO giants such as Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Dow Chemical, BASF, and Bayer would have us believe otherwise. They clearly think that if we are told often enough that GM crops are the solution to the world’s agricultural problems, we will believe it. However, since 1996, when Monsanto first commercialized Bt corn, a growing chorus of voices has been pointing out the downside of this technology.

This chapter is perhaps the most controversial of this book and one I feel the most passionate about. The information here is based on as much published material and as many studies as I have managed to read. This chapter is also based on personal conversations with the many scientists, farmers, and concerned citizens I have met during my travels around the globe. One of those people is public interest attorney Steven Druker, who obtained files on genetically engineered foods only by winning a lawsuit he filed against the FDA. He has spent the past eight years working on his upcoming book, Altered Genes and Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government and Systematically Deceived the Public. Steve and I have talked extensively and he shared some of his findings with me. Some of this information was shocking.

About Author

Jane Goodall is a passionate road warrior, traveling nearly 300 days each year on a worldwide speaking tour to raise awareness, inspire change, and encourage each of us to do our part in making the world a better place. Jane's love for animals started at a young age and in July of 1960, at the age of 26, she followed her dreams and traveled from England to what is now Tanzania, to bravely enter the little-known world of wild chimpanzees. She was equipped with nothing more than a notebook and a pair of binoculars, but with her unyielding patience and optimism, she won the trust of the Gombe chimpanzees, and opened a window into their lives for all to see. Jane's studies has taught humanity one of the most important lessons - that we humans are not the only beings on this planet with personalities, minds capable of thinking and above all, emotions. Her findings shook the scientific community and made us re-evaluate what it means to be human.

  • Frankie D.

    What complete and utter bollocks.

    “the tinkering with their DNA.” What, you mean “agriculture”? We’ve been “tinkering” with the DNA of crops for thousands of years.

    “Alas! Such hopes have proved as insubstantial as the pipe dreams of the opium smokers” What, you mean apart from the massive increase in yield and reduction in the use of water, land and chemicals?

  • Agricultural Science

    It seems Jane was good at making observations about social interactions – similar to people in a bar. But she needs education in chemistry, biology, and agriculture.