You probably didn't hear this one on the news, but last week 110 Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, physics, and medicine wrote a letter to Greenpeace and the United Nations urging them to support GMOs and biotechnology. The letter specifically called for the use and growth of Golden Rice, a form of genetically modified rice fortified with vitamin A to cure blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in developing countries. The letter gives these startling statistics:
"The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people suffer from VAD, including 40 percent of the children under five in the developing world. Based on UNICEF statistics, a total of one to two million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of VAD, because it compromises the immune system, putting babies and children at great risk. VAD itself is the leading cause of childhood blindness globally affecting 250,000 - 500,000 children each year. Half die within 12 months of losing their eyesight."
The full letter (which you can read here) to support not only Golden Rice, but all biotechnology, was directed at a Greenpeace, a non-governmental organization that is dedicated to halting the production of GMOs. Their social pull to stop The Golden Rice Project has struck fear in people of the United Nations and their governments and has therefore blocked the progress of this project. Here in the United States, we see a similar problem. Social media has spread incorrect science claiming GMOs are slowly killing everyone. Fear has caused consumers not to trust their local farmer. The Non-GMO Project label is commonly seen on foods, which naturally leads people to believe GMOs are unhealthy.
Agriculturists have been supporting GMOs and biotechnology for years, and this was just the break they were looking for. Considering the distrust of the local farmer for the agriculture industry, 110 Nobel Prize winners were just what the doctor ordered. The rebuttal for most pro-GMO research is that the research was funded by Monsanto or other biotechnology companies, and therefore can't be trusted. I'd like to watch someone try to disprove a group of Nobel Prize winners. They are a source that is honest, accredited and incredibly intelligent.
The letter ended with a question that should really resound with all of us: "How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a 'crime against humanity?"' Golden Rice has the potential to save 250,000 children a year. We have had the technology to effectively plant Golden Rice for around 16 years, now. That's four million children that could have been saved, but weren't because of anti-science and anti-GMO activists. I would agree that is a sound definition of a crime against humanity.