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Feeding the Future
GMOs Can Be Green Champions

Greens might want to reconsider their resistance to genetically modified crops—not just because science has time and again shown GMOs to be perfectly safe, but also because they could be a mechanism by which environmentalists could secure one of their other policy priorities: protecting biodiversity. As Reuters reports, a new study warns that biodiversity is dropping at a worrying rate, and the scientists link this drop to an expansion in global farmland:

An expansion of farmland has damaged nature beyond a “safe” limit on 58 percent of the world’s land surface, threatening natural services such as crop pollination by insects, scientists said on Thursday…[T]he study said the diversity of animals and plants on 58 percent of the world’s land area, home to 71 percent of all people, had fallen below a safe threshold, driven mainly by an expansion of farmland as well as by roads and bigger cities.

It turns out that by transforming land to help feed the world’s population, we’ve also decreased biodiversity in many of the world’s ecosystems, most prouncedly in grasslands. So what are the implications of this fall, then? Reuters continues:

The declines raise risks for natural services such as pollination of food crops by insects, production of nutrients by soils, or the ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide as a natural brake on climate change. “If we keep degrading biodiversity there will be a point where it’s very difficult to support agriculture,” lead author Tim Newbold of University College London told Reuters.

Modern agriculture, according to these researchers, stands on the precipice of a vicious cycle where further land cultivation could make it more difficult to grow the crops we’re going to need in coming years. But this is where GMOs come in: not only can we genetically modify crops that are capable of being grown in more adverse conditions—including, potentially, those unfavorable conditions we might see in a less biodiverse world—but we can also produce higher crop yields with these technologies. Higher yields can allow us to grow more crops on less land, which could help decrease our agricultural footprint and, in the process, protect biodiversity.

Greens take a special pride in their ability to paint a dismal view of humanity’s future on this planet, and they’ll be off to the races with this latest study warning of the dangers of falling biodiversity. But if environmentalists had as much of an interest in solving problems as they do in describing them, they’d be GMOs’ biggest cheerleaders.

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  • Gary Hemminger

    The bulk of the green
    Malthusians have no interest in solutions. They have a dismal world outlook and
    that is the end of it. The fact that much of our political class is apparently
    in bed with their doomsday scenarios is really sad. In my home state of California,
    Jerry Brown, our leader, is the head Malthusian cheerleader. In Paris for a
    recent climate change conference he said, “We’re on the eve of destruction.” In
    conversations about climate change, Brown has vividly described a hellish
    landscape with powerful wildfires, tropical diseases, forests devastated by
    beetle infestations and mass migrations of people displaced by rising
    temperatures. This is our leader who is promoting doomsday scenarios. You think
    you can reason with this man or this whole Malthusian cabal. No way. They are
    completely hook, line, and sinker down the rabbit hole. I never in my life
    would have thought that a whole group of people would so thoroughly lose their
    collective minds. And these people are our political leaders, our entertainment
    leaders, and our economic leaders. And these same people are the open border
    fanatics, the sanctuary city supporters, and the microaggregation advocates. It
    is in my own family. My wife’s daughter and husband are recent college
    graduates (PhD and JD) and both are pro-communist, pro-open borders, and anti
    free-speech advocates. this is what college is teaching people now. College is
    also teaching people to be Malthusians. It is really, really weird. I don’t
    think this is going to have a good ending. No amount of fact will stop this
    religion from trying to spread and infect our systems.

    • JR

      And human ingenuity keeps proving these prophets of doom into false prophets that they are. I have no doubt that the current scare du jour will be conquered in its due time,

      • M Snow

        Maybe so, but not before they inflict ever more damage.

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