I want to write about an issue that will have a detrimental impact on all living things including birds, insects, animals and humans…
Imagine a dystopian world where biotech and chemical companies control all food supplies. You can’t plant your own, they choose what you eat and the only food you receive is cancerous. It sounds like The Hunger Games gone wrong? This could be our reality by 2050.
|Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Blog. Photograph taken by and copyright Oliver Edwards Photography|
The government in the UK is pro planting Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops and planting could start after September 2016. The EU has already voted allowing GMOs to be planted. This will lead to cross pollination which can occur up to 10 miles away. The biotech companies do not allow their plants to be used for seed the following year and so farmers must pay for seeds each year. In the USA, farmers whose crops are cross-contaminated should receive compensation but instead are being sued for growing the patented crop. It could happen here.
Allowing GMOs into Europe will destroy ecosystems, kill bees and ruin the landscape. The long term effect on nature as well as the birds, animals and insects feeding on GMO crops with their increased toxins is unknown. I feel passionately about saving our natural world and will fight to stop it being destroyed, particularly for the profit of a few companies. We need to lobby our politicians and supermarkets to ensure that food products containing animals fed GMO or their by-products are banned or at the least labelled.
GMOs are a short term approach creating long term problems. The biotech and chemical companies who make them first advertised them as normal crops that were slightly genetically altered to allow them to tolerate agro-chemicals and so overcome weeds and pests. However, as the insects and weeds grew immune to the chemicals used in GMO cropping, farmers were forced to buy more and more pesticides and herbicides; obviously, from the same chemicals companies. In the USA there are over 20 species of weed that are now resistant to herbicides with pest resistance also building up.
Almost all the research on the impact of GMOs on the environment and human health has been carried out by the biotech companies themselves or by scientists linked to them. Policy makers and politicians are only relying on research and information produced by these companies. Without exception, the companies have refused to disclose any negative results from their research and studies have been for very short periods, with a typical length of study of only 3 months for food safety assessment. So no one knows what the long term effects of GMOs and their associated pesticides will be on us and our environment. Glyphosate, the active chemical in the herbicide Roundup used on 80% of GMO crops has recently been declared a “probable human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organisation.
|Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig
|Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig
In 2013, Bangladesh became the first country in South Asia to approve the commercial cultivation of a GMO food crop. Brinjal was spliced with a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. In October 2013 Bangladesh’s national Committee on Biosafety approved cultivation of four indigenous varieties of brinjal incorporating a gene from the B thuringiensis (Bt) to make it resistant to attacks by various fruit flies, the bt brinjal. The scheme was backed by USAid finance and Cornell University and came after much protest from activists and was in stark contract to India and Sri Lanka banning GMO’s. The pilot was with 20 farms, with more than half having problems with the crop and in Gazipur near Dhaka, four out of five crops failed. These farmers were not told that there was any issue with the safety of the crops and all then sold their produce with out labelling as GMO. Many said that they only took the seeds because they had been offered free.
Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She is looking forward to going Mountain Gorilla Trekking in East Africa in the summer and watching Penguins in Antarctica in December 2015, which will be her 7th continent. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol’s most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter