“…You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete…”
― Richard Buckminster Fuller
I was involved in a teaching and research activity with very high profile researchers involved in specific plant genome mapping. It was with a company that carefully moderates a certain benign image domestically while actively practicing and supporting Genetic Modification overseas.
“…GM research and marketing has us–the baby–strapped to the front of their vehicle of profit and power consolidation, with government regulating the size of the straps and the shape of the car seat…” Symbioticfuture-2015
The high energy presentations focused on ‘perversion washing’ phraseology as a sort of ‘soft training’ in how to communicate an unpopular message to alley and divert concern. Concern is founded in the fact that Genetic Modification is primarily a powerful perversion of the natural biological building blocks to achieve extraordinary but minimally understood results.
In its truly benign state the same technology can be used to accomplish not so novel achievements in an expensive energy intensive way, arguably faster than natural breeding. For example breeding an apple that has a certain novel characteristic vs genetically modifying an apple with an apple to achieve the same thing. The issue here is confrontational because of the name of the method and the perverted nature of its more common use. GM is something the industry tried and is still trying to rebrand as “biotechnology”, taking a specific and concise descriptive that the public generally understands, and steering people away to a much more general and less specific term which literally means something quite basic: “technology relating to life”. The overt, deceptive, and anti-knowledge aspect of replacing a descriptive word, that specifically speaks to a technology while differentiating it from other technologies, with a general non-descript term common to a wide variety of technology, exemplifies the industry. It is an industry that actively promotes mis-understanding by replacing specifics with generalities while pointing strategic mis-direct into vague and benign unrelated or tenuous connections to enable legal continuation of things that public and environmental safety concerns would slap a moratorium on if there were transparency.
Cross species genetic modification is unsafe in any shape or form unless non-release-research-limiting-protocols are required, practiced, and enforced. They are not substantially regulated because they are strategically packaged in with and showcased as acceptable and relatively safe practices. An example of one of the many and varied strategies is an apple called “Arctic” that could have been bred by traditional means but was in fact developed with simple biotech combining apple with apple genes. It was then showcased publicly in quite a number of publications and newscasts as a poster child and in the crossfire of the GMO debate, as a publicity stunt to draw attention away from the more important debate of cross-species splicing transgenics which is frightening and actually how most GMO’s are accomplished. The marketing and developing company overtly bragged of the “Genetically Modified Apple” and paraded it and the method of development with no concern for transparency. The developer went so far as to claim boldly and loudly that he was proud to have developed a GM apple and that he believed the public needed to face their fears of GMO’s. In contrast, $20 million was spent in 6 weeks in Oregon this fall to achieve public denial of a public request for transparency of GM product in food.
It is quite clear; the power of Genetic Modification is in combining—aka perverting—genes across species lines which are clearly delineated biologically. This is the environmental, human health, and germplasm sustainability issue of concern. By emphasizing the less radical and less important use of GM that does not alter species lines, the patents of which are nearly non-existent and do not represent any significant portion of the industries profit, they are simply factoring in an advertising expense that showcases something inconsequential while confusing the terms and the effect on natural biology. They want a constant smokescreen to cloud the air and distract people from what GMO means, and they want to change the subject when “that other stuff comes up”. Well, “that other stuff” is the heart of the GMO industry. Genetic Modification is clearly about combining the DNA of biologically dis-similar species with clear biological blockage and constraints, by a method that forces its way across species barriers without creating publicly visible indicators in the resulting product. Herein lies both the novelty and the extreme potential for drastic and often unforeseen long term effects. GMO’s are allegorical DDT in biological form. They will be touted and ‘cashed out’ until sufficient harm surfaces with sufficient force to cut the flow of profit. Chronic biological effects are expected to be a long term development of irreversible consequence. Multi-generational studies are already alluding to this imminent reality. Risks are taken for calculated profit, however the public and the environment have no stake in the profit and assume all of the risk.
So, back to the GM researchers that I trained under. The main take home message was GM in public discourse is “biotechnology” similar to “high tech plant breeding” and the result essentially is akin to “hybrids” and ‘that is my story, I’m sticking to it’ to get enough time to earn market share and profit before actual safety protocols put things back in the lab where they belong.
“…GMO’s are allegorical DDT in biological form…”Symbioticfuture-2015
In fact, true GMO’s (cross species GM product), if let out of the controlled highly contained lab situation, are like a baby in the carseat strapped to the front bumper of the car speeding down the freeway. Regulatory framework and action has been akin to the traffic cop that pulls them over to be sure the car seat is certified safe and the babies straps buckled.
“…cross species genetic modification is unsafe in any shape or form unless non-release-research-limiting-protocols are required, practiced, and enforced…” Symbioticfuture-2015
2 thoughts on “GMO: allegorical DDT in biological form”
Your Bucky Fuller quote is my touchstone!
It’s as relevant today as ever, considering the inevitable failure inherent in fighting the system by the common modes. Fighting is not as fun as building anyway, and it is a lot easier to stay fresh over the long haul by building, innovation, and discovery than by fighting. It is pretty clear that collapse is inevitable; what is being built will rally all the more support if it can ward off or moderate potential pain and suffering and springboard us into a bright future.