No turning back

May 11, 2007

There are proponents of genetic manipulation who say that it is immoral to deny people in developing countries the opportunity to improve their own lot. True. But it is also immoral to use the plight of people in developing countries as an excuse to justify the mainstreaming of gene technology. What we ought to be doing is ensuring that they do not have to grow luxury cash crops for “rich Westerners” and assisting them to move back to growing the food which will give them a balanced diet, without the need for genetically manipulated rice with added vitamins for example.

As for the water issue facing Australian farmers, it might be time to have a hard look at what we are growing where, and assess the suitability of the environment for the activities we are undertaking.

Last year Palerang Council in SE NSW joined the growing number of local government areas which have declared themselves GE-free, and this week it also became nuclear-free. While large corporations are excited by the profits they see coming gene technology and uranium mining, many others want to take a more precautionary approach, recognising that once we have gone down those paths, there will be no turning back.

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