The following is part of a speech by environmental writer and activist Mark Lynas at the 2018 Oxford Farming Conference
[W]hat might a peace treaty look like? What might be the give and take on both sides of this enduringly fractious controversy? Here’s my seven-point plan.
- Environmentalists accept the science of GMO safety, and scientists in return need to accept that politics matter in how scientific innovations are deployed.
- We drop national GMO bans and instead allow fully informed choices to be made by consumers in the marketplace via rigorous labelling and full traceability.
- We all get over the Monsanto obsession but make a much more serious effort to start getting off the chemical treadmill and moving farming onto more sound ecological principles.
We agree to support public sector and non-corporate uses of genetic engineering where these can clearly contribute to environmental sustainability and the public interest.
- We support all forms of agriculture that aim to find ways towards greater sustainability. Let a hundred flowers bloom.
- We stop the name-calling. Let’s avoid using the term anti-science in particular. Anti-GMO activists are not opposing the scientific method in general, they are opposing a particular technological innovation.
- Let’s make ethical objections to genetic engineering explicit and in the process recognise real-world tradeoffs about where we do and don’t use this technology.
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