Former Greenpeace activist terms opposition to GMOs ‘crime against humanity’

“The more food we grow per acre, the better it is for nature. The more food we grow per acre, the less of nature has to be cleared to grow our food and fiber crops. Intensive agriculture is important — and that means using science, such as biotechnology and the genetics that we’ve learned in the last couple of decades, in order to improve yields and improve the nutrition of foods.”

OK, who do you think said that? The president of Monsanto? An exec from a major biotech seed company?

Actually, according to a story on inforum.com, it was former Greenpeace Foundation Canada President Patrick Moore, speaking to soybean producers at a meeting in Fargo, N.D. (http://bit.ly/1EFVv0c).

The long-time environmental activist, who participated in protests against U.S. hydrogen bomb testing and French nuclear testing, and was an advocate in the Save the Whales campaigns and other efforts that garnered worldwide publicity, left Greenpeace in 1986, and since has been a voice for science-based environmental policy.

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He left, he says, because Greenpeace “took a sharp turn to the political left," evolving into “an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas.” In a 2011 interview on realagriculture.com (http://bit.ly/1DLvPm2), he said none of his fellow Greenpeace directors “understood enough about the complex science issues we were starting to deal with in terms of chemicals, biology, and agriculture, and began to adopt positions I couldn’t accept.

“I was determined to build an environmental policy organization that would base its positions on science and logic, rather than on misinformation, sensationalism, and fear, on which too much of today’s ‘pop environmentalism’ is based. We make sure we recognize the real needs of 7 billion people on this planet.”

Too many environmentalists, he says, seem to “think it would be better if there weren’t any people, that nature would be better off without us, instead of recognizing that we are part of nature and we’re also part of the solution.”

Moore, who characterizes himself as “The Sensible Environmentalist,” has termed Greenpeace’s opposition to GMOs “a crime against humanity.” He has been particularly critical of opposition to Golden Rice, a genetically modified variety containing higher levels of beta carotene, which can prevent childhood blindness, a major problem in Third World countries.

The World Health Organization estimates that vitamin A deficiency, common among children for whom rice is their main food source, is responsible for blindness in 250,000 to 500,000 children of pre-school age each year. Of those, about half die.

There are more childhood deaths in the world from vitamin A deficiency, he says, than tuberculosis, malaria, or any other cause, and this is “one of the most important humanitarian tasks in the world.”

 

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