Greenpeace Australia recently took action against a genetically modified wheat trial in Australia by scaling a fence, donning showpiece costumes that look like hazmat suits, and using a gas-powered weed-eater to destroy the entire crop. They also put up a Flickr slideshow showing their handiwork. The hazardous materials tape is a really nice touch for what amounts to vandalism, especially since their involvement was due to “concerns over health, cross-contamination and the secrecy surrounding the experiments.”
What’s REALLY interesting about this incident is the actual intended purpose of the crops. And no, these trials have nothing to do with Roundup, and they have little if nothing to do with Monsanto’s less savory practices except tangentially.
The trials in question appeared to be of the simple kind – the wheat has been altered in a way that should affect its glycemic index, how rapidly the sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream, and that CSIRO is interested in seeing if it has the desired effect when eaten by human beings. These kinds of studies have been done before, such as on calcium-biofortified carrots as described in this post.
In support of their action, Greenpeace copy/pasted their Golden Rice letter and had eight scientists sign it, then delivered this letter to the top Australian scientific body CSIRO. They did so a scant few days before three “concerned mothers” took action against these genetically modified crops. The crops had actually already at that point undergone a three-month trial being fed to animals, and in six months (presumably after this crop had grown), the scientists were planning on having a short 28-day human trial to determine whether or not the sugars were more bioattainable by humans. As the blockquote states, these are simple trials. The whole point of this genetically modified wheat is to provide more nutrition for humans, which one would think is a noble goal especially from an environmental standpoint — less crops feeding more people means more food for less damage to the planet in the form of pesticides.
Greenpeace is in the habit of using reductio ad absurdum and touting “common sense” over actual understanding of the science behind whatever they’re demonizing. Let’s see what happens when we use the same tactic against them, shall we? Presumably, Greenpeace’s actual problem with genetically modified crops of this nature has precious little to do with Monsanto’s disturbing and predatory practices, and more to do with keeping people underfed, since genetically modified crops could very well save infinity billion humans. Fewer humans means less damage to the environment, you see. Therefore, Greenpeace is about doing damage to the human race. In that they’ve declared themselves above the law in this and other recent and violent crimes, they’re now a terrorist organization, of the old school comic book variety.
Greenpeace == Cobra Command, ladies and gentlemen. Only they’ve got a better PR department.