Class 35: Food and GMOs CofC Fall 2010

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Oct 23, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Class 35: Food and
GMOs

CofC

Fall 2010


Congressional mandates on ethanol “may be the single most
misguided agricultural program in modern American history”
(p91)



Creating mandates and subsidies to a multibillion dollar
network of distilleries that are burning food to make motor
fuel at a time when there is a growing global shortage of
food and no shortage of motor fuel (p92).



Harmful impacts:


Higher food prices


Increased air pollution (from burning it)


Increased water consumption


Increased water pollution


Higher
GHGs

(than from conventional gas)


Lobby power in agriculture and farm states



Heavy subsidies in US agriculture,
esp

for corn



Difficult to halt because of fed support and mandated
production levels



As a result, “corn ethanol is a case study in how political
pressure, the power of giant
agri

business, and willful
ignorance of basic science can be used to distort US farm
policy, producing results that include not only economic
damage to the nation but the potential for increasing
hunger around the world,
esp

among the most vulnerable
people on our planet.” (p92)


IN 2005 and 2007, Congress mandated an increase in ethanol use



200 corn distillers at cost of $15b



Uses up 1/3 of all corn grown in US, twice the amt from 2006, and 7 times
the amt in 2000



Grain
req’d

to fill a 25 gal SUV tank could feed one person for a yr (
lester

brown)



Food disaster? Increasing corn for ethanol when global grains reserves
are shrinking, growing population, and global agriculture productivity is
slowing (p94)


leading (in part) to higher food prices



World Bank: grain prices increased 140% between 2002 and 2008,
because “of a confluence of factors but the most important was the large
increase in
biofuels

production in the US and EU” (p96)


10,000BC
--
>Neolithic Revolution: transition from
hunters/gathers to
agriculture



Since then, humans have been genetically
modifying crops by introducing seeds into new
environments and plant
breeding



Simple forms of transforming foods has been part
of modern culture for hundreds of years (e.g. beer,
using yeast, etc)


Biotech: Biotechnology

technology on biology


UN Convention on Biological Diversity: Any technological
application that uses biological systems, living organisms,
or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or
processes for specific use.



GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms
--
>
genetically material alteration or recombinant RNA
through genetic engineering (usually seeds)


Other GM Foods: Tomatoes, potatoes, rice, & sugar cane


1995
-
2005, land cultivating GM Food grew 50 fold, from
4m acres to 222m acres.


Most transgenic crops are grown in US (63%), Argentina
(21%), Canada (6%), and Brazil & China (4%)


Estimated that 75% of food in US has a GM ingredient




“golden rice”


GMOs

got a push
globally during 2008 food crises
(exacerbated by
biofuels

and
climate change)


Most
common GM foods: corn,
soybeans, canola, & cotton seed oil


Need to developed Sustainable agriculture

less food,
more strain on supply and distribution



Africa

poor soil and little water; lack mechanization &
labor; 1/3 of the continent is undernourished with pop
growth



Local control in 3
rd

world over the ability to control food
supply



Can increase plant’s resilience and resistance to disease
and pests



Actually reduces overall cost of pesticides and seeds



Antibiotic resistance


Potential
superweeds

and
superpests

from
developing resistance to pesticides


Food quality


Soil fertility


Corporate control



Market Liberals



Institutionalists



Bioenvironmentalists



Social Greens


The
GMO Conspiracy



Vandana

Shiva,
The New Food Wars: Globalization GMOs
and Biofuels
(59m)



Future of Food

(intro) (10m)