In a scathing talk at Amity University, Nobel Laureate Sir Richard Roberts said Greenpeace and other environmental lobbies are spreading lies about genetically modified organisms because it earns them a lot of money.
Roberts was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Phillip Allen Sharp for his contribution to the discovery of the mechanism of gene splicing.
Activist organisations like Greenpeace and Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya have successfully blocked the introduction of genetically modified crops around the world. Bt Brinjal was banned in India, and activists are working to stop the introduction of genetically modified mustard.
Genetically modified crops are bred to fight some common agricultural problems like disease, pest infestations and variable weather. They are created in labs and often involve inserting altered DNA from another plant or bacterium into the new plant.
Anti-GMO activists claim this process is unnatural and could produce unanticipated mutations that could be devastating for the planet.
But that’s not the case, said Roberts. And banning GMOs means farmers can’t get access to the tools they need to cope with changing climate conditions, like hotter temperatures and droughts.
Instead of helping small scale farmers, which they claim to support, the lobbies end up helping big agricultural businesses, he added. By fighting for GMOs to be carefully regulated, organisations like Greenpeace ensure that only large businesses can afford to meet regulations, like extensive testing.
These activists should admit that the science overwhelmingly indicates that GMOs are necessary to address the world’s agricultural and nutritional challenges, said Roberts.
As part of his campaign against those opposing GMOs, Richards has met with prominent leaders.
Roberts also met with the Pope, head of the Catholic Church. According to Roberts, the Pope believes the science around GMOs is sound, and may speak in favour of the technology in the near future.
Roberts hopes that by involving religious leaders and global leaders, the fears around GMOs can be dispelled.