I read the Guardian so you don’t have to. Mostly, it’s a labour of very little love. But occasionally it manages to actually surprise me – in a good way. One such happy surprise is the following story, in which the Grauniad almost manages to admit that Greenpeace is full of it and that environmental activists cause a great deal of harm. Most of it to the world’s poorest people.
The case in point is “Golden Rice”, a genetically modified strain of rice which has the potential to save millions of lives. Except that an unrelenting campaign of lies from the environmental lobby has stopped it ever reaching the people for whom it was intended.
Golden Rice is a form of normal white rice that has been genetically modified to provide vitamin A to counter blindness and other diseases in children in the developing world. It was developed two decades ago but is still struggling to gain approval in most nations.
“Golden Rice has not been made available to those for whom it was intended in the 20 years since it was created,” states the science writer Ed Regis. “Had it been allowed to grow in these nations, millions of lives would not have been lost to malnutrition, and millions of children would not have gone blind.”
There are no small stakes hanging in the balance, here.
Vitamin A deficiency is practically unknown in the west, where it is found in most foods. For individuals in developing countries, however, vitamin A is a matter of life or death. Lack of it is believed to be responsible for killing more children than HIV, tuberculosis or malaria – around 2,000 deaths a day. On a global scale, about a third of children under five suffer from the condition which can also lead to blindness.
Just as Norman Borlaug’s “Green Revolution” saved a billion lives or more through agricultural science innovation, Golden Rice is potentially similarly transformative.
As a solution to this crisis, Peter Beyer, professor of cell biology at Freiburg University in Germany, and Ingo Potrykus of the Institute of Plant Sciences in Switzerland, turned to the new technology of genetic manipulation in the late 20th century. They inserted genes for a chemical known as beta-carotene into the DNA of normal rice. In this way, they modified the rice genes so that the plants started to make beta-carotene, a rich orange-coloured pigment that is also a key precursor chemical used by the body to make vitamin A.
“In Bangladesh, China, India and elsewhere in Asia, many children subsist on a few bowls of rice a day and almost nothing else. For them, a daily supply of Golden Rice could now bring the gift of life and sight,” states Regis in his book, Golden Rice, which is published this month.
What the Guardian omits to add is that Golden Rice is also an extraordinary act of corporate philanthropy. Licences to grow Golden Rice were offered for free.
Unfortunately, that daily supply has not materialised – and Regis is clear where the blame lies. For a start, many ecology action groups, in particular Greenpeace, have tried to block approval of Golden Rice because of their general opposition to GM crops. “Greenpeace opposition to Golden Rice was especially persistent, vocal, and extreme, perhaps because Golden Rice was a GM crop that had so much going for it,” he states.
The blame doesn’t just lie with Greenpeace, though they are perhaps the worst. Activists have lied to developing countries that Golden Rice is “poisonous”. Left-wing groups have attacked and destroyed experimental crops. And, to prove there’s no show without Globalist Punch, WHO “experts” have thrown in their two cents against Golden Rice.
Nevertheless, this opposition did not have the power, on its own, to stop Golden Rice in its tracks, says Regis. The real problem has rested with an international treaty known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, an agreement which aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms, and which came into force in 2003…
As a result, every aspect of Golden Rice development, from lab work to field trials to screening, became entangled “in a Byzantine web of rules, guidelines, requirements, restrictions, and prohibitions…“The effects of withholding, delaying or retarding Golden Rice development through overcautious regulation has imposed unconscionable costs in terms of years of sight and lives lost,” Regis concludes.https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/26/gm-golden-rice-delay-cost-millions-of-lives-child-blindness
The suffocating moral superiority of green zealots is a false veneer for their deadly fanaticism. These fakes and fanatics are responsible for untold and unnecessary suffering for the world’s poor.