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Are GMOs good or bad? Show more Show less
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GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are organisms (plants and animals) that have had specific genes from a different species inserted into its own DNA. This results in the crop having new desirable features. Examples include papayas that are virus-resistant or corn that is herbicide-resistant. Our food has been genetically modified since the first GMO tomato (Flvr Svr) in the early 1990s. The acceptance of GMOs has varied between countries; the United States, Argentina, and Canada have quickly adopted GMOs while the EU countries have passed stricter legislation. There is a heated debate over whether GMOs are good or bad for our health, environment, world hunger, and the economy.

GMOs are good Show more Show less

GMOs have been extensively tested and have been proven safe for people to eat. GMOs are also good for the public because they are good for the environment, can help address world hunger, and can be a solution for growing amidst climate change. GMOs also lower the price of food.
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GMOs are good for the environment

GMOs result in less pesticide use, reduce the amount of land and water needed to grow, and improve soil quality. They also decrease carbon dioxide emissions. This is all good for the environment.

The Argument

GMOs are good for the environment because they result in less pesticide, land, and water use. Modifying crops to be pest-resistant means that there is less need to use pesticides. These pesticides are harmful to the environment and to animals such as honeybees and monarch butterflies.[1] Crops can also be modified to be drought resistant which would help to waste less water. GMOs also produce increased yields which means they require less land.[2] Using less land and water for agriculture is good for the environment. GMOs also help improve soil quality because farmers no longer need to till (which removes nutrients from the soil and causes erosion) to address weeds since the crops are herbicide-resistant. As a result of less pesticide spraying and tilling, farmers don’t use their tractors as much which means less carbon dioxide emissions.[2] All of this is good for the environment.

Counter arguments

GMOs result in more herbicide use. A report from 2001-2010 found that herbicide use increased by 26% as weed resistance increased because of GMOs.[3] These herbicides are made of glyphosate which is a toxic chemical; this chemical gets into the water, harms soil quality, and increases the susceptibility of crops to diseases.[4] This is all extremely bad for the environment. Additionally, farmers are actually having to do more tillage (which erodes the soil) because the increase of herbicide-resistant crops is creating a rapid increase in superweeds that are resistant to herbicide.[5]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] GMOs can be pest-resistant which lowers the need to use pesticides. [P2] GMOs can be modified to need less water which lowers water waste. [P3] Lower pesticide use and water waste are good for the environment.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://ag.purdue.edu/GMOs/Pages/GMOsandInsects.aspx
  2. https://medium.com/@debunkingdenialism/five-ways-gmos-benefit-the-environment-c48eee7e2765
  3. https://modernfarmer.com/2013/12/post-gmo-economy/
  4. https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2018/08/the-gmo-debate/
  5. https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/reports/1770/seed-giants-vs-us-farmers

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This page was last edited on Friday, 10 Jul 2020 at 01:45 UTC

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