Thursday, July 31, 2014

GMO's: Scare Mongering at Its Worst! Part V

By Rich Kozlovich

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural world on July 27, 2014.

He claims "genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a serious threat to humanity and the environment? The reasons span the realms of science, social justice, economics and the environment, and once you understand this, you'll readily understand why so many environmentalists, humanitarians, responsible scientists and social justice advocates are strongly opposed to GMOs", and lists ten reasons why?
This will be a ten part series. Here is Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV

The Health Ranger’s fifth complaint against these products is that, “GMO agriculture is breeding a new generation of chemical-resistant superweeds”, saying:

“The rise of chemical-resistant superweeds is a horrible problem for modern farmers. In the same way that deadly superbugs have arisen from the abuse of antibiotics in hospitals, "Frankenweeds" have arisen from the continued growing of GMOs and the routine application of glyphosate to crop fields.

Glyphosate-resistant superweeds have become such a problem that the very industry which once claimed GMOs would require "fewer chemicals" to grow food is now recommending fields be treated with a triple or quadruple layer of multiple chemicals to attack the superweeds with different chemicals.

That's why agriculture experts are right now
sounding the alarm over glyphosate, GMOs and superweeds, calling for an end to the unsustainable GMO farming practices that seriously threaten the sustainability of agriculture.”

Crops such as cotton, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and sugar beets have been genetically altered to tolerate glyphosate in order to increase yields and avoid the costly and time consuming weed control processes of the past.  This has been so successful eco-activists claim farmers have adopted an over reliance on GMO’s (which increased production by more than 98 billion dollars over the last twenty plus years and saving from having to use hundreds of millions of kilograms of pesticides from being sprayed) resulting in “overuse” of glyphosate creating “superweeds”, such as Palmer amaranth. And it would appear weeds are showing up in fields all over the world that have become resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

Palmer amaranth is particularly insidious because it out competes cotton – and other crops - for all the things necessary for productive harvests – moisture, light and nutrients.  So, are these now “superweeds”?

Before we answer that question we have to understand what exactly “resistance” is?   Often times I will see commentaries claiming an evolutionary spurt is causing resistance.  Nonsense!  Evolution has nothing to do with these changes in plants or insects, bacteria or virus’ for that matter.  I’m going to address this from an insect control perspective because it’s easy to explain and the pattern is universal.  Pay attention!

Resistance is a genetic phenomenon where-in a percentage of the target pests are naturally resistant to some compound.  Hence each successive generation will pass that trait to some of their offspring thus having more resistant numbers in the population.  Eventually the resistant members become the dominant gene pool.  However they’re not “super-roaches”, “super-rats”, or super anything else for that matter.     Whether its cockroaches, weeds, or pathogens – resistance is the pattern in nature!  Something we only fully realized after insect pests developed resistance to DDT, including bed bugs.  We didn’t know we were following nature’s patterns and cycles.  We know that now and can adapt.

While hyperventilating one writer claimed “Chemicals Are Creating Frightening New Superweeds.” Then disparagingly asked, The 'Solution'? More Chemicals.  
Yes - that is the solution!  
Eco-activists state that this has to stop because these “superweeds” have found their way into organic fields.  Let’s understand this correctly.  This is another logical fallacy that’s a lie of omission.  Whether it’s these resistant varieties of weeds or the non resistant varieties these organic farmers are going to be devastated without the use of herbicides, so making this claim is nothing more than a red herring fallacy, since they're not allowed to use synthetic herbicides anyway and still be 'organic'.  As for those farmers who are not 'organic' farmers, but still aren't using transgenics - they're would still have to face the problem of resistance eventually.  Transgenics didn't create the resistance problem, but transgenics will be the solution!

Companies such as Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and other biotech companies didn’t stop researching new and innovative approaches to transgenics when the current products went on the market.  They clearly understand the “resistance” factor in pesticides and have been working of herbicide resistant crops which will become available. Will these new products eventually become ineffective? Of course!  But that’s no reason to abandon chemistry that works – especially when there’s no alternative, and it’s more environmentally friendly than plowing and tilling. 

If there is no alternative there is no problem!

Ah, but there is – according to eco-activists – an alternative.  Heirloom varieties!  These are varieties that have been grown for hundreds of years and breed true year after year.  In other words, “organic” farming, which I addressed in a previous post! 

Heirlooms are hardy, but as is the case with all these old hardy varieties - they aren’t that productive.  And they’re still left with the problem of weeds and insect pests because even these varieties come under attack from something, and then there are all the other negative issues surrounding “organic” farming. 

They claim we can only thrive by obeying nature’s rules.  I couldn’t agree more.  And what’s nature’s rule regarding plant pests?  Plants can’t run away when attacked, they don’t have claws, they don’t have teeth, they don’t have heavy fur coats to protect themselves – so what do they do?  They make their own pesticides to sicken, kill or repel pests.  The vast majority of pesticides we consume are naturally occurring in the food we eat, and most of them test carcinogenic.  So I subscribe to nature’s pattern.  Build a better pesticide, and create more GMO’s to tolerate them.
Eco-activists demand perfection - from everyone else.  A perfection they're incapable of delivering.  They demand utopia, claiming they can deliver it if we just listen to them, but when you consider their policies have killed more people over the last 60 years, (probably more than the socialist monsters of twentieth century like Stalin, Hitler and Mao combined) we must believe the facts of history.  They only deliver dystopia - squalor, misery, poverty, disease, suffering and early death.  The legacy of the left!
Those who are rational recognize that history and sanity forces upon us the conclusion the best we can hope for is the most acceptable imperfection. And as imperfect as these modern agricultural marvels are - they've saved more lives than any advancement in all of humanities previous history.

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