On Sunday, an anti-GM crop group called Take the Flour Back is planning a “day of mass decontamination” at the site of a trial of GM wheat run by Rothamsted Research — a public sector agricultural research organisation. The aim of the protest is simple: it’s to tear up the crop.
The event has the support of the Green Party, and one of its most prominent politicians — Jenny Jones, the Green candidate for London Mayor — is planning to attend. It’s going ahead despite a plea from the scientists behind the trial, which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.
Tom Chivers at the Telegraph has written a great post about the “anti-science zealotry” of these Green protestors. I explore many of the same themes in The Geek Manifesto, and I’ve had permission from my publisher to post the relevant extract in full here.
The whole question of being pro- or anti-GM food is in many ways a bad one. The better question is what crop, with what modification, for what purpose, made by whom? The Rothamsted trial, I think, passes all these tests. That the protestors, backed by mainstream Green politicians, don’t even bother to ask these more nuanced questions speaks volumes about their attitude to science.
Here’s the extract. It follows a section on nuclear power — another technology to which many Greens are implacably opposed, despite its potential to play a part in containing climate change — so please excuse any cross-references. There are full references in the back of the book, and I’ll try to find time to go through and add some hyperlinks to this as soon as I get the chance... go to The Geek Manifesto on GM crops | The Geek Manifesto:
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Note to self: Must buy this book.