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Crop Busters: Greenpeace Mocks Nobel Laureates in Fool's Crusade Against GM Rice

© Wikipedia / International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)Golden rice (right) compared to white rice (left)
Golden rice (right) compared to white rice (left) - Sputnik International
While genetically modified golden rice could help alleviate famine and save thousands of children from malnourishment and visual impairments, this simple solution is strongly opposed by Greenpeace, which has initiated two misleading campaigns, two Swedish researchers wrote in an opinion piece.

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The environmental watchdog Greenpeace has recently landed in trouble for its fierce opposition to the application of modern genetic engineering in agriculture, which could become a lifesaver in poor, underfed parts of the world. On top of strictly scientific issues, Greenpeace was censured for its failure to discourage or distance itself from "environmental activists" who harass scientists and engage in violent crime.

Last month, 110 Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and or medicine wrote an open a letter addressed to Greenpeace, the UN and governments worldwide. The letter accused Greenpeace and its supporters of having misled the public about the risks, benefits and importance of biotechnology, as well as having supported criminal activity directed against research projects. The letter particularly emphasized Greenpeace's campaign against golden rice, condemning the group's activity by concluding: "How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a crime against humanity?"

Ever since Greenpeace stopped focusing on campaigning against nuclear pwer in the 1990s, they have been using GM crops as both a focus for campaigns and a cash cow. This way was mapped out by Greenpeace's former chief, Lord Melchett, who declared in his address to the House of Lords that his organization "will remain opposed to GM crops, regardless of any scientific risk assessments."

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According to Torbjörn Fagerström, Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Ecology at Lund University, and Jens Sundström, Associate Professor of Plant Physiology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Greenpeace has since used tangible ways undermine and sabotage scientific data they oppose.

"Greenpeace has provided support to researchers working to confirm the organization's preconceived opinions," Fagerström and Sundström wrote in an opinion piece in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, citing "infantile propaganda" on Greenpeace's part.

Consequently, Greenpeace denied that their incessant campaigning has delayed the introduction of golden rice. Moreover, the environmental watchdog censured the Nobel laureates' appeal with an absurd questioning of their skills. Ironically, the Greenpeace-funded organization GM Watch, which the Swedish professors rejected as "one of those self-appointed representatives of the public interest," concluded that the Nobel Prize laureates didn't offer "relevant expertise." The dismissal was later imitated by Food and Water Watch, another self-proclaimed expert panel without academic qualifications.

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Golden rice is a genetically engineered strain of rice which has been enriched with a beta-carotene substance which converts to vitamin A in the human body. In countries where rice is the staple food, vitamin A deficiency is a widespread problem, due to the lack of natural beta carotene. A lack of vitamin A causes chronic visual impairment and may result in blindness. According to the World Health Organization, this affects hundreds of thousands of children annually. The golden rice project aims to target the lack of vitamin A through prioritized distribution among farmers with low incomes. The golden rice, which produces up to 23 times more beta carotene than its ordinary counterpart, was labeled by Greenpeace as a "Trojan horse," aimed at increasing the acceptance of GM crops.

"If farmers and consumers were given the opportunity to experience the benefits of modern plant breeding, they would realize that the environmental movement, spearheaded by Greenpeace, have bet their campaign money on the wrong horse — be it Trojan or not," Sundström and Fagerström concluded.

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