In Favor of Biotech
An exploration by Anne Patterson
December 8, 2001
Last semester I took a course in Botany and wrote a research paper on biotechnology. I found out through extensive research that foods produced through biotechnology offer incredible possibilities to consumers. They're very often higher quality, more nutritious, and more plentiful than their conventional counterparts. Because they use fewer resources, they're friendlier toward the environment. This advent in food production ties directly into the dawn of global warming and the land areas in and means by which we grow food.
Graphic from the Union of Concerned Scientists (http://www.ucsusa.org/food/foo-home.html). Editor's note: UCS has a very different take on biotech.
If the pace of global warming continues, areas of the world that are now growing regions for the world's food, will experience drought and disease as weather patterns change. Thus, it is imperative that biotechnology offer incredible possibilities and benefits to both the grower and the consumer. Through genetically alteration of genes found in food, growers harvest higher-yielding, higher-quality crops; and consumers get more, better, and healthier choices.
Biotech products are more efficient for the farmer. Scientific advances have lead to the production of drought resistant and insect resistant strains of corn, potatoes, and a variety of other food crops. So, the farmer spends less time and uses less fuel driving his equipment back and forth, and back and forth, and back and d forth across his fields - lessening the burning of those nasty fossil fuels, the use of pesticides and water. As this incredible population growth is occurring, we're already using much of the earth's farmable land. By increasing the productivity of farmland now in use, biotechnology offers the potential of protecting other areas--including rain forests and wetlands--from conversion to food production.
This semester we discuss the malnourishment/starvation of millions of people the world over. Biotechnology can prevent this horror. Through drought resistant crops, currently unfarmable land can become plentiful. Rice has already been enriched with iron and beta-carotenes, the latter of which could help prevent childhood blindness. And through biotechnology we can develop foods that are higher in protein, vitamins, and minerals; and in sufficient quantities to feed our constantly expanding population. This might not affect you or me, but it will definitely affect our children and our grandchildren.
The whole issue of biotech foods is worth further investigation, and if you prefer to do so check out http://www.nal.usda.gov/bic.
Submitted to and posted by Anthony Benoit
December 13, 2001