Black: What you should know about GMOs |

Black: What you should know about GMOs

GMOs promote and incentivize the practice of monoculture agriculture. Genetically engineered agriculture is not the only monoculture practice, but it is the largest contributor. When making investments do you put all of your money into one stock? No. Why? Because the risk is too high.

The same principles can be applied to monoculture practices. When growing only one crop, protecting the yield is top priority. So farmers use pesticides and herbicides. These chemical compounds are sprayed to destroy any pests and diseases that could potentially wipe out the harvest. Genetic engineering was invented to make the crops resistant to some of the various chemicals. The idea seems sound, but genetic engineering is a bandage to a much larger problem. Modern GMO agriculture is fighting nature, and nature appalls monocultures. Just look at any polyculture in our wilderness. And by exclusively growing one crop, we are eradicating the ecosystem services that help us not only eat, but also survive.

Yet critics say that organic farming cannot sustain the planet, that GMOs are the solution. However, organic farming performs at 90-plus percent of the same yields as conventional farming, including GMOs. To boot, the amount of research funding for organic farming is less than 1 percent of what it is for conventional farming. Imagine what yields organic farming could achieve with more analysis.

Organic farming creates a polyculture, manages pests and weeds naturally, reduces erosion, sequesters carbon year-round, improves soil quality, water quality, air quality and can provide our global food needs. GMO farming emits toxic chemicals, causes erosion, reduces soil quality, water quality, and air quality — all for slightly higher yields. The argument against GMOs is not just about food; it is undoubtedly an environmental issue. With that being said, I urge you to vote yes on Proposition 105. Labeling GMO foods may be the first step we need.

Jake Black


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