It has been more than fifteen years since companies like Monsanto began intense efforts to export agricultural biotechnology from the United States to the fields of Europe and the United Kingdom. The battle continues to this day. Few opponents have been more militant or effective than Mark Lynas, one of the first to break into fields scientists had planted with genetically modified test crops-and then rip them out of the ground.
Last week, at the Oxford Farming Conference, Lynas described how he reversed himself. Read his speech or watch the video.
Lynas is wrong, I am convinced, about something else he wrote: that the interests of the rich and developing parts of this planet can never be reconciled. They will have to be. Technology alone won’t do it; technology has never solved a problem—people solve problems. And we have always done that with the tools we have made. Agricultural biotechnology is one of those tools, one of many. It is essential, but it is not enough. We will need it all, and that includes the optimism to sustain humanity’s undeniable history of progress.
Lynas has already been attacked for his new views, and I can promise him that the hail has just begun to fall. It’s not easy to change your mind fundamentally; it’s harder still to do it so publicly. Who is willing to go next?
View the original article here: An Environmentalist’s Conversion