Genetically Modified Food is Killing You--And Your Wallet
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) A schism has occurred in the environmental movement. The cause of the division is Greenpeace's war against golden rice. The schismatic is Dr. Patrick Moore, Greenpeace's co-founder, who left the group, because it "drifted from a humanitarian effort to save civilization from all-out nuclear war to an organization that sees humans as the enemies of the earth."
Golden Rice is a genetically engineered food product that contains Vitamin A. A diet of this will help eliminate Vitamin A deficiency. One would think this a positive. But Greenpeace opposes it, because the group is somewhat loath to endorse genetically engineered foods. (Ironically, one Greenpeace opponent of Dr. Moore cited reasons for his criticism of Moore that would raise eyebrows among the global warming skeptic set.)
Moore founded the "Allow Golden Rice Society" and has been organizing protests against Greenpeace. The estranged co-founder of Greenpeace protesting his creation is the environmental equivalent of Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door. But Moore is passionately opinionated about this. He believes that Greenpeace's opposition to Golden Rice is a crime against humanity. He emphatically declares that Greenpeace has "no evidence to justify a ban on researching and developing it, as it is a food that could end untold human suffering and the death of millions of people."
Moore considers himself a "sensible environmentalist" who bases his policies and opinions on sound science and logic. He currently works as an independent scientist and consultant, advising government and industry on environmental issues. He still takes satisfaction from the work Greenpeace did during his tenure.
Golden Rice, says Moore, is the product of two "humanitarian scientists," Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer. They engineered this variety of rice that contains beta carotene, the substance used to make vitamin A. They were concerned about the millions of people, mostly young children, who die each year from vitamin A deficiency.
According to Moore, this deficiency occurs mostly in urban slums in Asia and Africa. The diet of those inhabitants consists of about a cup of conventional rice each day. It does not contain beta carotene. Millions suffer with vitamin A deficiency. As many as 500,000 children go blind each year, half of whom die within a year of becoming blind, according to the World Health Organization, said Moore. He claims that since the introduction of Golden Rice in 2000, Greenpeace has tried to thwart it. The organization's reasons are purely ideological, at least in Moore's view.
Arin de Hoog, a spokesperson for Greenpeace International, did not respond to questions about Moore and his efforts but did stated that the organization's resources "are dedicated to the recovery of the Arctic 30, so we cannot devote as much time as we would like to this kind of enquiry."