A Not So Splendid Segment At NPR’s Splendid Table

28 Aug

I love NPR, though I’m not a regular Splendid Table listener. This morning’s show featured a guest who claimed that all GMO’s are bad with no potential benefit to feed the developing world. That’s simply not true.

The human population is anticipated to reach 10 billion by 2100 and agronomists expect food shortages. For the first time since the green revolution, this will no longer be due to distributional shortcomings, but limited production capacity. Billions may go hungry–including many Americans. I am an environmentalist, but I’m also convinced that transgenic crops should be part of the solution.

Not all GMOs are the same and it’s not just about “giant heartless agribusinesses.” We should be supporting philanthropic collaborations that are working to grow crops using less fertilizer, which limit fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. Plants can also be designed to survive on very little water — a valuable asset given that climate change is expected to expand the world’s arid regions.

I’m extremely disappointed that The Splendid Table served to irresponsibly perpetuate fear by giving air time to a anti-GMO lobbyist who clearly doesn’t understand the potential of responsible transgenic research.

For more information, I suggest reading Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food by UC Davis professor Pamela Ronald and organic farmer R. W. Adamchak. There’s also more in my June column at Bloomberg.

4 Responses to “A Not So Splendid Segment At NPR’s Splendid Table”

  1. Mike Haubrich August 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I agree that Dr. Ronald has a great deal of good information on how organics and GMO’s can exist side-by-side. The part that irritates me most about the anti-GMO’s is that they insist that because the large agri-busineses are involved it must be all bad. There are several GMO open-source initiatives that allow researchers the sort of access they need to independently develop and produce GMO crops and products.

    The anti-GMO people remind me of anti-vaxxers. They are not skeptical, they prefer to raise fear and alarm rather than encourage research into an avenue that we need to use in order to keep up with massive population growth.

  2. Narad August 29, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    It perhaps bears mentioning that “The Splendid Table” isn’t an NPR program, it’s from American Public Media.

  3. Jamie June 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    For the initiated, please tell me what GMO stands for.

    Thanks.

  4. Jamie June 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    I meant to write ‘UNinitiated’.

    Thanks.

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