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GM Debate - Greener Gloucestershire


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General discussion about GM in food production. A short presentation given as part of 'Greener Gloucestershire'.

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GM Debate - Greener Gloucestershire

  1. 1. YOUR NEXT STEP Greener Gloucestershire Festival GM Debate 20th Sept 2014 Babies and Bathwater … Chris Short
  2. 2. YOUR NEXT STEP • Dominantly polarised ‘debate’ (but not today) – Very unhelpful for everyone • Face up to very really challenges – Climate change (4 degrees by 2050?) – Population increase (11 billion by 2100?) – Increased pressure on natural resources • Need to retain all the ‘tools’ we have. • Current system is not beneficial.
  3. 3. YOUR NEXT STEP • Potential benefits of GM – Help meet demand for food • Especially in getting more from less • Increase resistance to drought and disease – Provide some medical advances • As yet to little on this – Reduced use of chemicals • Variable evidence on this – Producing more food with a lighter environmental footprint.
  4. 4. YOUR NEXT STEP • What is Genetic Modification? – More accurate and quicker than conventional genetic breeding techniques – There is more to come, vaccines, bespoke nutrition, increased resistance. – Where would you go to find out? • A key issue is TRUST • Sources reinforce old views?
  5. 5. YOUR NEXT STEP • Need to reconcile risks & benefits – No evidence that they are harmful to us • Two trillion meals and no negative evidence • Evidence that smaller farmers benefit – Poor debate has restricted progress • Lack of science-led decision-making • Lack of transparency and accountability – Focus on the quick (corporation) wins • This needs to change.
  6. 6. YOUR NEXT STEP • The baby is growing – New products from wide range of companies • Aimed at reducing waste • New products reducing unhealthy oils • Products designed for consumers – Responsible use of GMOs increasing • China benefitting from reduced pesticide • Is the water is getting cleaner? – Some fears not realised – Most that are about people not GMOs
  7. 7. YOUR NEXT STEP • The challenges are great, so • We need all the tools we have • GMOs alone will not: – feed the world – make us more sustainable • They might be part of the solution – keep GMOs and make they work for all of us and the environment.