C. Neal Stewart

in Genetically Modified Planet

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195157451
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199790388 | DOI:

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Environmental risks must be viewed in context with benefits. Biotechnology must be compared with the current best alternative technologies, and not with idealistic but impractical farming practices. For example, Bt transgenic plants for insect control should be compared with conventional treatments using chemical insecticides. There is much idealism and romanticism surrounding farms and farming today, but idealism does not feed the world. Furthermore, idealism should not be allowed to obscure science, regulations, and the adoption of best technologies and practices — especially in the developing world, which does not have the luxury of tolerating poor harvests. Governmental regulations of transgenic plants are probably too stringent and conservative relative to known risks and should, in many cases, be relaxed. Biotechnology should not be treated as a cure-all for improvement, but viewed as merely one tool in the toolbox for sustainable agriculture. Large scale organic and subsistence farming are not reasonable to feed today’s population, and the best technologies must be adopted for humanitarian and environmental reasons.

Keywords: benefits; biotechnology; governmental regulation; idealism; organic farming; risks

Chapter.  3928 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biotechnology

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