The environmentalist group Greenpeace is waging war against the production of Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice that could save more than half a million children around the world from disease and 250,000 from dying each year.
Dr. Patrick Moore, one of the original founders of Greenpeace, condemned Greenpeace in The Globe and Mail. He wrote that Golden Rice, created by Dr. Ingo Potrykus and Prof. Peter Beyer, has been maligned with misinformation and even had the field trials of its product at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines threatened with violent destruction.
Moore writes that two million people, mostly young children, die from a vitamin A deficiency every year, most of whom eat one cup of rice each day. The rice has no beta carotene, leading to a vitamin A deficiency, leaving them vulnerable to blindness and weakness in their immune systems.
Greenpeace, according to Moore, has three objections to Golden Rice:
- They say there may be “unforeseen” consequences for human health and the environment. But there is no evidence to support that accusation; the only distinction between Golden Rice and conventional rice is that Golden Rice has beta carotene added to it. Greenpeace claims that Golden Rice could crossbreed with other rice plants; yet the only effect of interbreeding would be to have conventional rice gain beta carotene. As Moore writes, “…to suggest that the threat of rice interbreeding is more important than two million deaths every year is pathetic.”
- Greenpeace wants the children to eat leafy vegetables and consume vitamin A pills instead of eating Golden Rice. Two problems: the children cannot afford pills and there is no room to grow the vegetables.
- Greenpeace claims that Golden Rice cannot effectively transmit vitamin A. But scientists at Tufts University and the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences in China have proven that it can. The results were published in 2012 in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The real reason Greenpeace is opposed to Golden Rice is because it is generically modified and they can’t seem to imagine that even one beneficial crop might result from this technique. They are willing to put their zero-tolerance ideology ahead of a critical humanitarian mission. Every major science and health organization supports Golden Rice.
Moore wrote, “I left [Greenpeace] because they had drifted from a humanitarian effort to save civilization from all-out nuclear war to an organization that sees humans as the enemies of the earth.”