I really enjoyed this piece – Systems thinking and Genetically Modified food. And by enjoy I mean it resonated with me. It echo’s a lot of what I feel about our food system in general; people seem to occupy either one side or the other. There’s no real middle ground in where debate is possible. Rabid anti-GMO’s protests without subtlety give all people concerned about GMO’s a bad name. While scientists ignoring common questions about the true impact of GMO’s give all scientists a bad name. There’s no nuance. This article lives in the middle, attempting to unpack what occupies that space. It’s remarkably refreshing, lucid, and seriously educational. What’s clear is that we do not have a grasp on the true nature of how we grow food, and wantonly charging forward in any strict direction could be disastrous. The potential for disaster with GMO’s, it seems, is far greater than adopting a natural approach to farming (nature, after all isn’t apt to destroy itself), but that does not, in my estimation, mean we should abandon efforts entirely to understand ways in which we can make food more resilient, healthy and sustainable. I think it starts with publicly funded, carefully planned, small scale testing that address significant problems in our food system. GMO’s do not seem to be solving the larger issues surrounding what we eat, suggesting maybe GMO’s should be relegated to background noise, allowing us to focus on the real problems in our food system.
For example, I wasn’t aware of the true benefits of city composting, or harvesting rainwater and gray-water. Nothing to do with GMO’s. Turns out, it’s illegal (or at least very difficult) to use gray water for toilet water in NYC. And as far as finding climate friendly foods, turns out it’s a lot easier to use what nature gave us rather than reinvent our current food juggernauts to make them climate friendly. No big surprise there. I think I’m starting to understand the rhetoric of hyper ‘natural’ people. Science is wonderful, but it’s not a magic bullet, and we’re often better using the tools that ecosystems have evolved over millions of years rather than fall prey to the hubris of thinking that we can manufacture a better system ourselves in just a few decades.