My Bay of Plenty Times column this week is about genetic modification. What an idiot. I’m no scientist, what the hell am I doing writing about this stuff? I’m just a guy trying to figure out why he’s not comfortable marching against Monsanto.
For what it’s worth, here’s a selective list of some of the online reading that has informed my confusion this year. Most of it comes out of the USA. Much of it shows my bias. Nevertheless here you go. Pour a hot drink, there’s plenty to read.
- For a tidy summary of NZ’s current position see NZ Ministry for the Environment.
- Before we get too deep, check out an essential read about global food by Jonathan Foley. Barely a GMO in sight. If you read nothing else, read this.
- A bit about the rat study that I mention in my column. Here’s my favourite critique of it, in video form. And some comment on the rat study retraction by Nathanael Johnson. More on him next.
But enough about the rats. What about GMOs in general?
Nathanael Johnson: I’ve become a big fan of Johnson’s Grist articles this year. He has no agenda to push except honest enquiry. So many posts to choose from, I’ll leave you to figure out where to start for yourself. Update 1 Jan 2014: Start here!
Jack Heineman: a New Zealand scientist who has some concerns about GM. This is his contribution to a forum debate – the whole debate is worth a read.
One Hundred Meals: This is a great diary series by a couple who are pursuing better understanding of the food they eat. They’re philosophically against GMOs but are generous in their critique. That’s the kind of middle ground I’m talking about. Some excellent articles grappling with food and sources. But let’s go straight to the fun stuff. Dinner at Monsanto!
Mark Lynas: Okay, so here’s an interesting guy. He started out super duper anti-GMO and is now a high profile advocate. Here’s his ‘conversion’ speech.
Amy Harmon: Amy Harmon writes very long articles but they’re well worth your time.
- Kyle Hill, who aside from writing great science nerd stuff about popular culture, sits firmly in the Monsanto isn’t evil camp. “Making the leap from Monsanto’s business practices—whatever you may think of them—to the ‘dangers’ of GM foods is a mistake in logical reasoning.”
- Rachael Ludwick on Golden Rice
- Does bigger farming mean better farming? A farmer’s perspective.
- An interesting discussion about whether GMOs are needed at all.
- Critiquing the opposition: A review of the anti-GMO film GMO OMG
- A positive take on the pesticide question.
A few asides about our buzzy friends, since they sometimes get caught up in the GMO conversation via discussion about pesticides.
- Five things that probably aren’t killing the bees
- No simple cause for honey bee deaths
- An aerial view of the problem
Whew. Enough already. Next week I’ll just write about squashing cockroaches, it’ll be simpler.
I should be very clear that this list is my own and that these links are only those that I stumbled upon for myself, (aside from the Jack Heineman one which was suggested to me). I don’t pretend that any of this paints a complete picture or even that I agree with every article I’ve linked to (I don’t). It’s only a slice of some my own reading, which is in fact the problem: it’s really hard for those of us who aren’t yet potty trained to know where to go to get helpful information from the grown ups.