GMOs are one of the biggest debatable issues today when it comes to if they’re harmful or helpful. Most of us know to avoid them because not enough research has been done on genetically modified organisms for us to feel safe enough to consume foods that aren’t grown naturally, as nature intended. However, advocates of GMOs argue that they’re the answer to world hunger and feeding more people. The world’s food supply is increasingly put under pressure to feed an evergrowing population, making the idea of foods that can be genetically modified seem like the easy answer. Creating one food from the genes of another? Sure, let’s do it! Um, how about not?
It’s true that the demand for food is an important issue. Researchers estimate that by 2050, our food supply needs will have doubled from what they were in 2005. And guess what the main reason for that is? Meat consumption.
Why GMOs Aren’t the Answer to Global Hunger
The Environmental Working Group has put out a report showing why genetically modified foods won’t save the world. They point out that meat production requires more quantities of crops, (corn and soybeans) to feed livestock, and as the demand for meat continues to grow, so does the demand for GMO crops. Genetically modified foods are also largely found in many processed foods on the market today because they’re inexpensive and easy to source. Corn is also grown to produce biofuels, such as ethanol derived from corn. It’s been found that eighty percent of the foods grown globally (corn and soybeans) are used for biofuels and livestock feed, not to feed people. As the Environmental Working Group puts it, “Most of the investment in GE crops ends up feeding cows and cars, not people.”
Since food production occupies about 40 percent of Earth’s land area and requires more water than any other human activity, it’s time we look at how we’re producing our food to save costs, feed more people, and ultimately not even need GMOs to start with.
What We Can Do to Increase Our Food Supply
The EWG clearly points out what we do need to save the world and it doesn’t involve a genetically modified form of any food. Here are some things we could do that would help boost food production and solve the world hunger issue naturally:
Be Smart With Our Resources
Instead of using massive amounts of fertilizers for corn that leads to poor water quality, greenhouse gases, and doesn’t actually end up feeding many people, we could be smarter with the use of fertilizers. If they were used in areas with nutrient-poor soil and for food production, it’s estimated that food production could be increased by 30 percent.
Reduce Our Food Wastes
We throw a lot of food away, not only off our dinner plates, but also during food production. It’s estimated that a third of the world’s food produced goes uneaten. If we use that food to feed people, we’ve already accomplished a 30 percent increase in food supply without changing anything else.
Reverse Biofuel Resources
Since corn is often used for biofuels, which accounts for 40 percent of the ethanol gas produced today, we should also think about using another source of fuel. The EWG says that by reversing the sources of biofuels, we could ultimately feed more people.
Adopt a Plant-Based Diet
Since meat consumption directly contributes to the need for GMOs, it’s best if we reduce (or better yet, eliminate) meat off our plates for good. It’s estimated that food supply would increase by 27 percent alone if people just cut their consumption in half. Adopting a plant-based diet is the best way to go when it comes to food production demands, our health, and the entire planet.
While the debate for growing GMO crops to feed other countries is highly debatable, research shows these crops are not being used to actually do so. They’re going to waste through the above areas. Then there’s the issue with the potential health risks they might involve. It’s clear to us that they’re not the overall answer. Thanks to the Environmental Working Group’s report, we now know what is.
Lead Image Source: Take Back Your Health Co./Flickr