genetically modified foods and climate change


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Posted by Max Dariencourt on September 27, 2000 at 15:51:49:

Part of me supports selective development of genetically modified foods as it relates to climate change. My thinking goes like this:

Imagine a world grown so hot and with so many more droughts and dramatic rainstorms that many of the crops we now love to eat could not possibly survive. Is there not logic in developing genetically modified strains of crops that could withstand both greater heat and more voluminous drenchings given a planet that is heating up?

Indeed, scientists on both sides of the 'global warming' divide agree that the earth is growing warmer and that, consequently, droughts develop more quickly and end more quickly. Just think of Hurricane Floyd in Sept. 1999. After innundating much of the U.S. Southeast, it pretty much ended dire predictions of an extended Northeastern drought in one alarmingly wet weekend. Scientists still disagree over why or just how much the planet is warming or may warm, but shouldn't we be hedging just a bit?

Civilizations have risen and fallen in line with their agricultural successes, and at worst, the current trends in climate change are pointing toward a crisis that may threaten our ability to feed ourselves.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a mole of agribusiness interests advocating the wholesale development of genetically modified foods that feature, just for the fun of it, a little bit more of this or that.

I'm really a 'terroir' kind of guy. I fully realize that organic heirloom tomatoes grown near my home will blow away the taste and nutritional value of most tomatoes found in the supermarkets grown on huge farms.

But let's not be caught flat footed should the scariest predictions about climate change begin to take shape in the coming years and decades. Perhaps we ought to develop and keep a few 'magic' seeds on hand in preparation for the possibility of that alarmingly rainy day.



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