Monday, May 13, 2013

GMOs win & lose

The Supreme Court ruled today that agricultural company Monsanto has the rights to seed they have engineered regardless of whether it's sold as Monsanto seed, regardless of where it is procured, and for many generations afterwards. This case has been working through the system for many years, and today the Court finally ruled against farmer Vernon Bowman. I don't have time to get into all of the ramifications right now, but there will be many.

At the same time, several students (including Kasey & Lauren) pointed out that the USDA has postponed approval of new herbicide tolerant GMO crops. Meanwhile in Europe, neonicotinoids have been banned in the short term due to fears that they may be contributing to the collapse of bee colonies (thanks Malshauna & Kasey).

How to balance the economic benefit of these technologies with their environmental costs is always tricky, but doing so when costs are totally unknown is virtually impossible. Is it better to protect the environment at any cost, protect the economy until harms or apparent, or something in between? No easy solutions here.

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