In America, we have an odd relationship with science, in that we only like the science that agrees with our preconceived notions and the marketing messages we like to hear. And so it is with GMOs; just ask Neil DeGrasse Tyson or anybody dealing with an organic food snob. Fortunately, numbers aren’t influenced by marketing pitches, and a new meta-study of GMO studies found that GMOs are actually really good for the world.
It’s worth noting that this is just a look at the studies that have been conducted so far. We’ve pointed out the flaws of that particular approach before, and it’s reasonable to state that new, peer-reviewed studies may change that analysis over time. Still, the results are pretty hard to argue with:
On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%. Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect-resistant crops than for herbicide-tolerant crops. Yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries.
Or, translated, we’re spraying less crap on our plants to keep bugs off them, those plants are giving us more food, and that’s of the most benefit to the countries that could use more productive farms. It’s worth noting that the study didn’t validate far-left target Monsanto; their strategy of making plants resistant to Roundup just doesn’t work as well.
For a variety of reasons, the less pesticides we use the better. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a discussion of GMOs, their place in the world, and the ethical limits of them. Just that we should consider the idea that GMOs themselves are a bad thing or dangerous as something built on fear, not science.