Guess again — this time we’re not talking about Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his lifesaving contributions to the “Green Revolution.”
The latest Nobel Laureate to line up on the side of genetically improved foods is none other than Jimmy Carter, our 39th President. Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize a few days ago.
In an age when ignorant activists complain bitterly at the first sign of science in their pantry (and then wreak havoc when they don’t get their way), we were delighted to find a New York Times op-ed written by Jimmy Carter for the paper’s August 26, 1998 edition. A few excerpts follow:
In 1996, nations ratifying the [Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit] treaty asked an ad hoc team to determine whether genetically modified organisms could threaten biodiversity. Under pressure from environmentalists, and with no supporting data, the team decided that any such organism could potentially eliminate native plants and animals.
How could regulations intended to protect species and conserve their genes have gotten so far off track? The main cause is anti-biotechnology environmental groups that exaggerate the risks of genetically modified organisms and ignore their benefits.
Anti-biotechnology activists argue that genetic engineering is so new that its effects on the environment can’t be predicted. This is misleading. In fact, for hundreds of years virtually all food has been improved genetically by plant breeders.
If imports like these are regulated unnecessarily, the real losers will be the developing nations. Instead of reaping the benefits of decades of discovery and research, people from Africa and Southeast Asia will remain prisoners of outdated technology. Their countries could suffer greatly for years to come. It is crucial that they reject the propaganda of extremist groups before it is too late.