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Renowned NYU Professor: GMOs Could Literally Destroy the Planet

Green Lifestyle  (tags: conservation, ecosystems, environment, food, genetic engineering, GMOs, health, humans, protection, Sustainabililty, world )

- 1570 days ago -
Nassim Taleb, a renowned New York University (NYU) professor recently raised eyebrows when he said genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have the potential to cause "an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet."

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Kathy B (106)
Thursday March 6, 2014, 7:37 pm
Taleb, who specializes in risk engineering, has outlined the dangers of GMOs in The Precautionary Principle, a paper recently made available to the public.

The threat
Often, GMO seeds are favored because of their ability to yield larger harvests and avoid certain pests or weeds that usually eat up some of their productivity, reports Daily Finance.

Taleb’s primary concern isn’t that ingesting GMOs is necessarily bad for people; rather, he’s focused on what effects the genetic manipulation of nature will have on the worldwide ecosystem. While Taleb concurs the risk of any one GMO seed ruining the planet is incredibly small, he argues that people are underestimating the domino effect of risk that’s involved.

For example, if one genetically modified seed produced holds a 0.1 percent chance of causing a catastrophic breakdown of the ecosystem, then the probability of such an event will only increase with each new seed that’s developed.

Taleb writes that given enough time the “total ecocide barrier” is bound to be hit despite incredibly small odds.

The argument hinges on the fact that GMOs represent a systemic, and not localized, risk. As GMO goods continue to be exported to countries throughout the world, the idea of being able to control GMOs in nature is impossible to guarantee.

As Taleb says, “There are mathematical limitations to predictability in a complex system, ‘in the wild,’ which is why focusing on the difference between local (or isolated) and systemic threats is a central aspect of our warnings.”

Responding to critics

GMO supporters have criticized his work as GMOs have yet to significantly harm the ecosystem, but Taleb argues that point strengthens his theory.

Daily Finance reports:

The Precautionary Principle—which is what Taleb calls his warning—is all about managing risk, not about waiting for it to surface. The fact that GMOs are a systemic entity is undeniable. Taleb is equally skeptical of all entities that carry systemic risk—like too-big-to-fail banks.

We don’t, as Taleb says, argue that a game of Russian roulette is safer with each empty barrel we find. It is, in fact, more dangerous.

Freya H (357)
Thursday March 6, 2014, 8:34 pm
OK, maybe a wee bit of an exaggeration, but we still need to be careful with GMOs. VERY careful!

Rehana V (0)
Friday March 7, 2014, 5:21 am
Interesting. We will become "slaves" of GMO's yes eventually it will cause havoc!

. (0)
Friday March 7, 2014, 6:47 am
The damage is already done. I for one don't want to eat GMOs. If the writer does fine. BTW, he might just want to talk to the African and Indian farmers about those wonder yields. Seems they're not as wonderful as Monsanto and its ilk would have us believe. How many Indian farmers went broke and committed suicide after the first year? GMO yields are substantially less after the first year as opposed to natural crops that have been developed systematically by local farmers over years of trial and error in their geographical parameters. GMOs required far more water than was advertised. Secondly, you had to purchase and use specific fertilizers and pesticides from Monsanto et al and which were quite expensive. Then with the new terminator seeds you had to buy high priced GMO seeds which you could only get from Monsanto et al. Remember that under the IMF auspices Monsanto and their ilk confiscated all local seed depots and took them back to Europe and America to be experimented on. The only alternative were very high priced seeds the local farmers couldn't afford. Oh well! No matter! They'll just confiscate the land as payment for the local's inability to pay for seed, rent, fertilizer and pesticides oh and to cover the insupportable debt incurred by their government.
The GATT that the Rockefeller Foundation supported and the WTO it helped to create along with NAFTA profited only Monsanto and their financial and political backers. Remember Argentina? It has the highest national GMO crop saturation out of any country and it also has the highest rate of cancer in the world.
Just some food for thought Mr. Taleb.

penny C (83)
Friday March 7, 2014, 3:26 pm
Thanks Kathy.

Rose Becke (141)
Saturday March 8, 2014, 5:29 pm
Bloody scary Thanks Kathy

Deb E (63)
Saturday March 8, 2014, 5:58 pm
Not an exaggeration at all, really. Just look down the evolutionary road and you will see all the new organisms that mankind so stupidly decided to "invent" that they can no longer keep track of because, well, it is impossible to keep "nature" in line. Nature will do what ever it is that it needs to do in order to survive and nothing man does or wants to do will ever change that. There are, right now, trees that give off chemicals that warn other trees when giraffes are eating so that the trees downwind can produce tannins which will make the giraffes not want to eat the leaves. Humans are totally stupid to think they can "invent" new life forms (that is what GMOs are) that will not then start developing their own characteristics. We have no idea whatsoever what those characteristics might be but once out in the entire world, there will be NO way to stop them and the food we once had, before man tampered with it, will be gone.

If people would just look at HOW these "foods" are being made, they would realize that this is not even food!! It is synthetically made replicas of food that start with bacteria, viruses and fungi, and if you think your body doesn't know the difference, think again. Look at the rates of cancers, especially childhood cancers, autoimmune diseases, food intolerance and allergies from what they were before GMOs.

Thanks Kathy
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