Interesting fact: the U.S. population has grown by about 100 million people since 1982. BUT…we’re using less land for increased food production. And labor requirements have gone down.
How…? Say hello to Genetic Engineering, something that’s widely vilified whether it deserves to be or not.
GMOs have allowed us to feed ever-increasing populations by eliminating extreme crop-loss through insect- , drought- , virus- resistance, etc etc. It makes food pretty (have you ever seen a non-GMO zucchini or squash? ugh), which seems to be super important to our Insta-nation. And a compilation of a decade of European research concluded that there are no more risks in GMO foods than there are in conventional foods.
However…GMOs are monitored strictly by governments, and many people are still very wary of them. Are they all good? Are they all bad? Can we really know for sure?
In my opinion, genetic engineering is just like breeding plants and animals together to get better offspring; GE just speeds up the process, and according to some mutation studies, decreases the amount of mutations that happen since GE is so specific.
But can we really know the full impact of this? It reminds me of the MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood, which I really really enjoyed and highly recommend. She has a such a…dry, chuckle-under-your-breath kind of humor. Although, I felt that the 3rd book mirrored the first book so closely, it was almost, almost not as enjoyable. Maybe spoilers ahead — I mean, Crake and Jimmy vs. Adam and Zeb. It was practically the same two characters. Crake = Adam and Jimmy = Zeb. But still, I really enjoyed all three books!
Anyways, it really does make you wonder if something like GMOs could possibly lead to something crazy. I’m sure everyone thought that cars and trains and burning of fossil fuels was an excellent idea until we realized that it was horribly bad for the environment. How can we test all the effects of GMOs when we can’t even think of all the consequences that could occur? What if the premises of all our studies are wrong?
BUT… how can we willingly let people starve? Actually… we lose so much of our food from throwing it away, is the answer teaching more people to be mindful of how they’re “spending” food?
And there’s another question in there that I think about all the time – is it…right to let people reproduce as much as they want to? Doesn’t that lead to overall harm for others and their posterity? But I’m sure if you tried to control how many kids people could have, America would have a fit, because of course freedom to do whatever you want is oh so important. But…how much of a slippery slope is that? Controlling one freedom could lead to controlling two or three of seven more in the name of the “common good.”
This is such a grey area, and for someone like me who already has trouble making decisions (Cheesecake Factory’s menu is my worst nightmare), this actually keeps me up at night. I feel like it’s almost impossible for me to have an opinion on population growth and GMOs.