“I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.” – Mark Lynas, January 3, 2013.
If you’ve never heard of Mark Lynas, maybe you remember the pie-in-the-face sucker punch he landed on Bjorn Lomborg, a critic of eco-apocalyptic agendas and author of the “Skeptical Environmentalist“.
Seems that Mark Lynas has had a change of heart.
Speaking to a crowd of academics at Oxford University earlier this month, the British environmentalist, who helped spur the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, was bluntly apologetic for his anti-GMO stance.
“As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely.”
Now, given the hysteria in North America about GM foods, and specifically hooplah
The Frankenfish. Is this based on science?
surrounding one company’s proposal to grow genetically modified salmon, Lynas’s mea culpa could be a serious blow to a fairly successful anti-GM campaign orchestrated by so many well-funded activist groups.
Now, fish farmers have been unified in their disinterest in growing GM fish for human consumption – at least until “proven safe and the market demands it”. Fair enough, but if and when science concludes it’s safe, then the market should demand it and we (the market) should yell a hell of a lot louder than a few ‘anti-everything’ activists. It is about feeding a growing global population with efficient, healthy, safe foods – and genetically modified foods will play a very important part.
“So I guess you’ll be wondering: What happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.”
Science made Lynas a better environmentalist. Smashing.
“simplistic solutions don’t really work… There are processes of gradually opening one’s mind and beginning to take seriously alternative viewpoints, and then looking more closely at the weight of the evidence.”
Opening one’s mind and look at alternative viewpoints. Brilliant.
Let’s hope we can have a decent, mature conversation about GM foods in North America.
We’ll give the final thought to Lynas, “The GM debate is over. It is finished. We no longer need to discuss whether or not it is safe. … You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food.”