An estimated 2.5 million children in the world suffer from iron and vitamin A deficiencies caused by malnutrition. Unicef estimates that more than 25% of all global children deaths are caused by vitamin A deficiency, which is essential for eyesight and the immune system.
Researchers have proposed a solution in the form of Golden Rice. Many of these children in poverty stricken areas have access to little food, and the most common food available is rice. Unfortunately, rice has very little nutrients. Golden rice is a GMO modified with extra genes for beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. In the Philippines where the rice has been implemented, vitamin-A deficiency has fallen from 47% to 15%.
By adding nutrients to the most common food source, researchers hoped to bring down the number of deficiencies and save the lives of children worldwide.
Unfortunately, the organization Green Peace opposes these claims. They have fought researchers and legislation that supports the development of GMOs. They are behind much of the anti-GMO propaganda out there today. They have gone so far as to tear up research crops in the Philippines, costing the programs thousands of dollars. Green Peace says that “it is irresponsible to impose GE ‘Golden’ rice on people if it is contrary to their religious beliefs, cultural heritage, and sense of identity”. They oppose the rice because of the possibility of cross-contamination of non-GE rice.
The actions of Green Peace has delayed Golden rice research by years. Dr. Moore, who used to be a supporter of Green Peace but now vehemently opposes the group, says that “Two million children a year are dying, and every year it is delayed, another two million kids are dying. The blood of that is on the hands of the people who have made it impossible to make an exception for Golden rice”.
Green peace masquerades itself as a protector of the environment. Originally they were against the use of nuclear testing and nuclear war. But now, Dr. Moore believes that “[Green Peace] has drifted into a state where humans were depicted as the enemies of the Earth”.
As we learn more about the Environment in class, hopefully many will be motivated to make changes in their habits and possibly get involved in groups that are designed to help protect our world. But I urge you to do your research before donating or volunteering at any organization. Sometimes these radical groups can do far more harm than good.
- Jennifer Brees