Andrew W. Ohio

G.M.Oh No!

GMOs are very widely used, but are they safe or healthy?

Are GMOs Good?

Dear Future President,

I don’t know a whole lot about politics, so I’ve decided to write about genetically modified foods, which is a topic I know and care about. Many people in this day and age are worried about what they are feeding their kids and what they are putting into their own bodies. I have seen this happen first hand as my mom will sometimes check if there are any GMOs in food before she buys it. After doing some research on the subject, my thinking was changed and maybe yours will be, too. While GMOs do have a few downsides, they shouldn't be thought of as harmful for our health.

Since GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are a fairly new innovation, I found a lot of different information for, and against, GM food. GM crops are proven to have a longer shelf life and also are able to withstand more harsh conditions than conventional crops. They can also have pesticides put genetically engineered into them, meaning less pesticides need to be used. On the other hand, they GM food can cause illness because the body is not used to them. So this is where the problem is; should GM foods be considered helpful or harmful? There were 100 million acres of land used for GMO farming in 1999, a huge increase from 1996, just three years earlier, when only 4.3 million acres of land were being used for GMO farming, showing GMOs are becoming more widely used whether you are pro GMO or not.

Since it is possible to engineer herbicides and insecticides into plants, this means less pesticides will have to be sprayed onto crops, reducing pollution from runoff around farm fields. Farmers use around 970 million tons of pesticides each year, however, in 1999, farmers used around 21% less pesticides on fields of genetically modified cotton. Plants modified with pesticides into them is also healthier for the consumer. Crops can also be modified to withstand harsher conditions, which can save more plants from drought and allow them to be planted in countries where fertile soil is limited. In places where subsistence farming (growing just enough food to support a family) is common, many people do not get enough nutrients from the food they grow. Crops can be modified to have a wider variety of vitamins and nutrients, keeping people healthier. Medicine and vaccines can also be engineered into crops, providing a cheap, easy way to administer medicine in poor and developing countries.

Though it has many perks, since genetic engineering is such a new concept, it’s not without its issues. GMOs can cause illness and, in some extreme cases, cancer. Also, many people are worried about consuming GM food because they are not comfortable with it yet. However, I believe that, with much effort, these people can be convinced that GMOs are safe. If shown that GMOs can solve many issues in the world, such as starvation and malnutrition, I believe that those people can be persuaded to believe they are helpful rather than harmful.

It's on you now, future President, to give genetic engineering the funding and praise it deserves. GMOs can create such a bright future for America and the world if you just recognize it. If GMOs don't take off, people are going to continue to starve and pollute our precious Earth. By promoting genetic modification, we can reduce pollution, give people the nourishment they need and solve the starvation problem in the world. So, are you going to help your world, my world, our world, or are you just going to let us destroy our planet?

Sincerely, Andrew