Originally published December 2 2014
Study finds GMOs destroy environment and human health
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The arguments in favor of biotechnology-derived food -- that is, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) -- are a complete farce. A new study by the investment group Portfolio 21 explains that, despite their widespread adoption mostly in North America, GMOs are not saving farmers money, they're not producing higher yields, and perhaps most significantly they're wrecking the environment and human health.
Practically everything positive to speak of concerning GMOs is nothing but a corporate talking point designed to sell more of them to farmers and, ultimately, the public. They will feed the world, we are repeatedly told, and reduce chemical crop inputs. Except for the fact that the exact opposite is occurring, as many a trusting farmer is now learning the hard way that he was sold a bill of goods by the chemical industry.
Rather than reduce the chemical load, GMOs now require an increasing amount and variety of chemicals to avoid being choked out by weeds and pests that have developed resistance to these man-made deterrents. Farmers are having to douse more chemicals than ever on their crops just to remain viable, and even this will eventually fail as the newest chemicals lose their effective edge.
"Genetically modified agriculture reinforces many of the most damaging aspects of monoculture and mechanization," explains the report. "These include biodiversity loss, agro-chemical use, and accelerated soil exhaustion. Additionally, the foreign genetic material can spread beyond its intended area through cross-pollination and interbreeding, as well potentially migrate across species."
Small farmers being put out of business by GMOs Farmers are also having to spend more just to keep their GMO crops alive, a fact that becomes progressively evident the longer a farmer grows them. According to the report, small farms are eventually squelched out by the predatory technology, which inherently favors only the big guys that are able to pay.
"Financial gains, which farmers make through increased yields, are offset by increased spending on patented seeds, fertilizer, and herbicides or pesticides, leading to a net decrease in income for all but the largest mega-farms," adds the report. "These higher input costs are especially damaging when small, more marginal farmers experience crop failure. Elevated levels of bankruptcy and consolidation have frequently occurred following the deployment of GM crops."
99.7% of GMO crop chemicals end up poisoning environment, water supplies If all these chemical inputs were actually helping crops grow more quickly and produce greater yields, it might be contended that the benefits outweigh the risks. But most of these chemicals, up to 99.7%, end up seeping into soils and flowing through waterways into public water supplies, poisoning the environment for humans.
Chemical fertilizers have a similarly low success rate at reaching their target organisms. According to the report, up to 80% of applied nitrogen, for instance, which is essential for plant growth (and is synthetically added to conventional and GMO crops), ends up contaminating crop fields and water supplies, killing off sea life and creating so-called "dead zones."
"Less than 20% of synthetic nitrogen used in agriculture finds its way into crops or animal products used by humans," the report explains. "The rest is released into the surrounding environment, sometimes with cascading effects on water systems such as 'dead zones' caused by nitrogen-fueled algae blooms."
Beyond this, GMOs increase agricultural dependance on fossil fuels significantly, upping the amount needed to produce food from one calorie of fossil fuel per 2.3 calories of food to roughly 23 calories of fossil fuel per 2.3 calories of food. Fossil fuels are heavy polluters, and more of them are entering the environment as a result of biotechnology.
The full Portfolio 21 report is available here:
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