December 3, 2008

The language maze of GMOs


There are far too many words out there to label GMOs: In this article on the global food crisis spurring China's immanent release of a host of GM grain varieties, there are 5 terms used: bioengineered, transgenically engineered, genetically manipulated, genetically engineered and genetically modified. We could add Frankenscience/food and perhaps novel to the list.
Is this confusing us or am I missing something?

2 comments:

Isabelle said...

We only need to read these words together to squelch our misgivings about the grand science experiment on humankind: “Surging costs, population growth, and drought and other setbacks linked to global climate change are pressuring world food supplies, while soaring prices on the street have triggered riots and raised the number of people going hungry to more than 923 million, according to U.N. estimates.” The only confusion that exists in the minds of the proponents of GMOs (and all their varied namesakes) is why there is resistance to this technology at all considering the huge benefits. I can almost hear the argument in the background … after all, there is a risk that inoculating an adult with the latest flu vaccination will cause some catastrophic illness but that doesn’t stop a lot of people from getting the vaccination. It’s just become acceptable to take the risk. I can see how governments will argue that the benefits of GMOs greatly outweigh the risk of unknown health issues in the future because they are constantly working to mitigate such problems. The most effective way to combat this lazy thinking is to be relentless in putting information before our eyes. (By the way ... great picture!)

anne said...

Isabelle,
I think simple powerful pictures, songs and poems...all kinds of cultural artifacts.. is what we need, to help cut through the complexity of the techno/scientific language that is playing god with the stuff of life. Ignorance is partly to blame and many people I'm aquainted with either don't want to know because its confusing or its all too much to consider given everything else. Perhaps that is why we the people were not consulted and at the same time why the proponents are proclaiming the new complexity sciences as a fix for everything else on our plates (economy, food crisis, ailing planet).