Hungry for a GMO

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Jamie: Hello all, my name is Jamie Hubbell and I’m a current Agricultural communications major at Texas Tech University. I have spent my whole 18 years growing up in Houston, the United States 4th largest city. With their being over 3 million people in Houston, there are various income classes as well as state funded programs.

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With the continuously growing population of homeless, food insecurity is considered to be a rising issue in Houston. Houston is only the 4th largest city in the U.S so what’s there to say about food insecurity in the rest of the United States and even in the world?

Jamie: Food insecurity is when a person does not have reliable access to adequate (and nutritious) food. Food insecurity is a year-long measure, it doesn’t refer to not having time to cook or a lack of available grocery stores. Food insecurity refers to a lack of food access due to financial and other resources in a household. With 1 out of every 8 people in the united states experiences food insecurity, that’s roughly 40 million Americans who aren’t receiving proper nutrition or access to those nutritious and much needed foods. The U.S is tied with the United Kingdom for 3rd under the global rankings for Food Insecurity. If the U.S is 3rd with 40 million households being considered to have food insecurity, it’s difficult to imagine the lower ranking countries.

Jamie: The world’s population is growing at a tremendous rate. the world is expected to reach a population of over 9 million by 2050…. And with that large of a population, there will be various crisis, with food being one of the most important. With the population expecting to increase by 30%, there will need to be a 70% increase in food production to meet demand. As of 2017, 821 million people are considered undernourished. The agriculture industry will need to step things up. For developing countries, 80% of production increases would come from yield increases and only need a 20% increase in land expansion. As good of news as that may sound, globally all the yields of major crops have been declining from 1960 until present times. The 21st century is the technological advancement age, however even with technology we can’t necessarily reverse this decline on a global level. As of recently, there has been talk of what could be a ‘saving grace’

[what is a gmo recording]

Jamie: What is a GMO?

Stranger 1:

Stranger 2:

Stranger 3:

Jamie: Nearly 40 percent of Americans believe that GMOs are bad for their health due to not being educated on them. Scientific research and date have concluded that genetically modified crops that are on today’s market are safe for consumption. A New York Times article commented on how majority of consumers don’t know or realize that for decades they’ve been consuming foods that have been developed through bioengineering (including gene mutations). Genetically modified organisms are considered to be living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a lab through genetic engineering (for multiple purposes). This manipulation is what creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Currently there are ten GMO crops that are approved and commercially available in the U.S. (alfalfa, apples, canola, corn (field and sweet), cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash, and sugar beets).

Jamie: The use of GMO’s is diverse and becoming more frequently used. With climate change being a preeminent issue on a global scale, GMO’s are being seen as a possible effort to address such a large-scale issue. Climate change will mean that the crops we depend on now will likely no longer be suited to grow in the areas where they are currently being produced and may in just one year, GM crops had reduced their atmospheric CO2 emission by 5.2 million pounds educed atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions by 5.2 million pounds. Their new usage of herbicide tolerant GM crops along with conservative farming practices (conservation tillage), showed to reduce farm emissions globally and help in minimizing agriculture’s ‘carbon footprint’. These positive GM results showed improvements in production, soil health and also decreased greenhouse gas emissions.

Jamie: The positive results from GM plants have given scientists high hopes in using GM crops and GMO’s to help with preventing world hunger and decreasing food insecurity. To help increase crop yields, many GMOs have been engineered to withstand the direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. All of these things are being tested and tried through various Biotechnology companies that want to see improvement for the agriculture industry and see if we can safely use GMO’s when it comes to our food.

Jamie: So, the question still stands, can GMO’s be safely used to increase food production? Increasing crop yields will only do so much, scientists are working on improving crops nutritional quality, not just quantity. the amount of arable land planted with GM crops has multiplied 100-fold in the last decade (From 1.7 million hectares (1996) to 185.1 million hectares (2016). All of said crops were planted in 26 countries by roughly 18 million farmers, this makes GM the fasts adopted crop technology worldwide. Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung from UC Davis Biotechnology Program has said that “From (GMO’S) introduction in 1996 until now, scientists have found, through repeated and extensive testing, that GM foods are no more risky than comparable non-GM foods, nor do they differ in nutritional value.” GMOs are actually one of the world’s most researched agriculture products and have been deemed safe by virtually every major independent institute.

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