“Having a nation dependent on one staple industrial food rather than a multiple of vitamin A substances is a risks for both the countries welfare and economic situation; instead there are better, cheaper, and more sustainable solutions for the environment that comes with risk free benefits” (Christoph Then, the Greenpeace International GE campaigner, 2005)
“Propagating the water intensive Golden Rice crop will lead to a major scarcity of water as it displaces sources of vitamin A that do not need copious amounts of water” (Dr. Vandana Shiva, environmental activist and philosopher from India)
Numerous environmentalist groups have spoken out against the introduction of GM crops since the Green Revolution began. The internet is flooded with environmental watch groups, organizations, and activists against the use of GM foods. Their scope usually covers both environmental and ethical/moral issues concerned with land and humane activities. Some of the biggest activists include Greenpeace, GM freeze, and Dr. Vandana Shiva.Greenpeace is an environmental organization whos purpose is to protect and conserve the environment by acting to change the attitudes and behaviors of others. They fear that Golden Rice could breed with wild and weedy relatives to contaminate wild rice forever (Golden Rice, 2005). The nature of GM crop production requires pesticides, fertilizers, vast areas of monoculture crop land, and the creation of a monopoly market whereby by a few industries control the majority of the land. In an ear of increasing environmental concern should we really be encouraging agricultural practices that both increase a countries carbon footprint, and damage the soil fertility beyond repair? Should we be out pricing indigenous farmers and the land sensitive practices that have worked for decades? As the environmental impacts of Golden Rice are unknown, and the method of production are climate insensitive or adaptable to specific soils and land areas, it sends off alarm signals for environmentalists. As environmental issues increase in scope and depth among the public and politicians it has enable activists groups and individuals to have a much greater impact on science and its revolutionary ideas.
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Dr. Vandana Shiva is an environmental activist and philosopher from India, who sees Golden Rice as an unproven, untested, and unnecessary technology that will do more harm than good. Shiva argues that Golden Rice corporations do not give up their patents on rice causing production to be monopolized. Instead, Shiva believes that there are many other options to help reduce vitamin A deficiency and nurture the environment, suggesting to propagate naturally occurring plants which are rich in vitamin A to help conserve biodiversity.
A further environmentalist group, GM Freeze, is lobbying against the use of GM crops as well. Peter Riley, the campaign direct for GM freeze, has urged the IAASTD not to change its tactics and agricultural research in favor of GM crops to feed the hung ry. GM freeze are advocating that the golden rice project simply aims to help industry to gain support for their controversial GE-food in markets such as India and Europe. They stifle current Golden Rice publications saying that they glossed over the technical problems to feeding the poor with this grain.