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Old 08-27-2013, 03:38 AM   #888 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
GMO have dubious benefits and the risks are fairly large:

Chemical fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides are totally unsustainable - because they use finite resources, and they kill off the natural processes in the soil *that we completely depend on*. This method of farming causes huge erosion problems and it poisons our water and causes dead zones in the ocean and contribute about 20% of our overall greenhouse gas emissions. And, we are using up the available deep aquifers, as well.

We cannot continue factory farming; for many reasons. GMO's are case-in-point to what we are doing wrong.

Climate change is forcing our hand, by making it obvious that we are farming in an unsustainable way.
The thing is GM are just techniques, tools if you like. Just because it is possible to hit your thumb with a hammer doesn't mean the hammer shouldn't be used to drive in a nail.

Industrial farming the way it is currently done is indeed unsustainable. Whether or not a version of it will still exist in a world that doesn't use fossil fuels and, ultimately, with a steady state economy, I don't know.

Even small scale urban farming could see benefits from using GM crops though. Possibly, because the environment is different from industrial farming, a lot.

Methane from sewage or food waste is a good thing but the energy embodied in the methane is relatively small. Enough to run the sewage plant plus a bit is usually about it.

GM has potential there too, in creating more efficient micro-organisms for the sewage-to-methane-plus-fertilizer conversions.