How Environmentalism Must Change

Genetic engineering of foods is poised to feed humanity. Except that the environmentalists won't let it.
September 25, 2003, 5am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"In ten years or less, most American environmentalists (European ones are more dogmatic) will regard genetic modification as one of their most powerful tools.... Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency approved a genetically modified corn that resists a beetle larva known as rootworm. Because rootworm is American corn's most voracious enemy, this new variety has the potential to reduce annual pesticide use in America by more than 14 million pounds. It could reduce or eliminate the spraying of pesticide on 23 million acres of U.S. land.All of that is the beginning, not the end. Bioengineers are also working, for instance, on crops that tolerate aluminum, another major contaminant of soil, especially in the tropics. Return an acre of farmland to productivity, or double yields on an already productive acre, and, other things being equal, you reduce by an acre the amount of virgin forest or savannah that will be stripped and cultivated. That may be the most important benefit of all."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Wednesday, October 1, 2003 in The Atlantic Monthly
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