RealityCheck's picture
Given there are similar levels of scientific consensus regarding climate change and GMO safety, why is it that so many people who are firmly committed to mitigating the effects of climate change based on scientific consensus are equally firmly of the belief that GMOs are unsafe despite the scientific consensus to the contrary?

A:Expert Answer

As you point out, the science overwhelmingly supports the safety of GM food. However, we also know that decisions about food are very personal and influenced by many factors. We launched this site to give people the chance to ask the questions about biotechnology that are most important to them.


Author, journalist and environmental activist Mark Lynas addressed this question during his presentation at the Risk Science Center’s Bernstein Symposium in October 2013. Lynas was one of the early leaders of the anti-biotech movement and was involved in several biotech crop destructions.  During his presentation titled, “Why is it hard to pivot based on science?” he talked about how a project to document and catalog the real-life impacts of climate change led him to take a similar fact-finding approach to the science behind biotechnology. His research eventually led to a high-profile apology for his anti-biotech stance and actions. Read more on Lynas’ comments here or watch his presentation here


Mark Lynas is just one person, but his story is an example of how complex and personal this issue is. It also reinforces that an unbiased review of the science supports the safety of GM crops and technology.

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WheatLover's picture

Check out the "Mark Lynas, Lecture to Oxford Farming Conference" from January 3, 2013 (available here ). He pretty much discusses what you just asked.

Joseph Najjar's picture

Yea its silly really. The shame is that neither of these issues are inherently political, but our bi-partisan society has made them political anyway. Those who try to discredit GMO safety are to the left, what climate-change deniers are to the right. The reality is that the climate IS being affected by human activity, and GMO crops have been shown to be SAFE for consumption, over and over. People who want to tell you otherwise for either topic are misinformed. If anyone is looking for a good read, that actually combines these two issues with many other global issues, check out "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" by Thomas Friedman