A U.S. intelligence report warned that fresh water supplies around the world are unlikely to keep up with global demand, increasing political instability, hobbling economic growth and endangering world food markets.
But wait…before you go running to your underground bunker with water jugs and tin cans in tow, my reasoning for sharing this was not to elicit fear, but rather to encourage you to think more critically about the role that GMOs are playing in the world food market.
Instead of chanting “What are GMOs?” What might we discover if we explored “Why GMOs?”
Like many of you, I’m aware of the debate surrounding GMOs serving as the answer to world hunger, but it wasn’t until I began to ask “why” that I resolved that genetically modified plants are not just an attempt to cure world hunger…but rather they can be a bridge to world peace.
See the Forest…Not the Trees
I know…I know, it’s a bit trite these days to even acknowledge attempts to cure world hunger and procure world peace (thanks Ms. America), but more and more I’m realizing that the prevention of hunger and chaos are the why behind GMOs! Even Norman Borlaug, Father of the Green Revolution, and Winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize was quoted as saying that “You can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery,” which further leads me to believe that scientists have turned to GMOs as a means for increasing food supply; because the alternative is mayhem.
In fact, we need only to look abroad to see countries struggling to meet high water consumption demands which directly effect food production and supply.
Give Me Water…or Give Me Death!
According to a 2013 report by James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence for the United States,”Lack of adequate water is a destabilizing factor in countries that do not have the management mechanisms, financial resources, or technical ability to solve their internal water problems.” It goes on to say that water shortages (as a result of droughts) in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq have spurred nations to quarrel over the waters of Tigris and Euphrates, while ten African countries are reluctantly sharing the Nile. Meanwhile, the construction of a dam in China and Laos over the Mekong River has caused strife amongst the nations situated downstream due to its effect on water levels, food supply and overall livelihood.
The report also notes that most quarrels over available water tend to end in water-sharing agreements, but should those agreements be ignored, there is high probability for violent retaliation.
Hence the current strain on the world’s water supply due to growing population, climate change and misuse is sparking major concern around how to sustain our burgeoning population in years to come. In fact, according to the Vice President of Public and Government Affairs at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, studies have shown that in the year 2050, we will need to produce as much food as we’ve produced in the last 10,000 years to sustain ourselves. Furthermore, as it currently stands, we are using 70% of the world’s water just for agriculture! So it’s absolutely imperative that we explore alternatives to reduce our water use in food production.
Thank God for Scientists
I know…I know, I’m totally walking a fine line here, but despite the constant chatter that scientists are merely attempting to play god, institutions such as the Danforth Plant Science Center (an independent, not-for-profit research facility) are proactively working to counter the current and future effects of limited water supply by developing plants that rely less on water (in addition to a plethora of other improvements to food quality and pest control). And while their research is primarily geared toward understanding and enhancing Food Security Crops native to the International community (ie. sweet potato, millet, banana, maize and guar gum), many of their findings can be licensed for use on row crops (soybeans, wheat, corn). In fact, it’s research such as this that has allowed many of our own local farmers to grow crops on land that would otherwise be rendered unusable. Now-a-days farmers can choose from a variety of genetically engineered corn and soybean seeds that are designed to reap high yields in less than desirable soil and thrive in challenging climates.
You see, the world is changing as we know it, and we must be prepared to adapt to our changing environment; it’s the nature of evolution. We have to expand our line of thinking beyond the narrow grocery aisles and farmer’s markets that we frequent and begin to think about the bigger picture. Our natural resources are steadily dwindling and without proper preparation and innovation we too will be struggling to maintain a decent livelihood.
I’m starting to see the big picture…can you?
Do you believe that GMOs can be the bridge to world peace?
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