GMO and orange juice - left/environmentalist anti-science

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by Row6, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    When folks on the right actually start behaving like critical thinking adults then maybe the perception that they are anti-science would change. But one has to be willfully blind not to see that big old vein of anti-science coursing through the right wing.

    And don't get me wrong, many on the left have their own problems in understanding and dealing with science, including accepting it too easily when the issues are more complicated, but you do not see the anti-science mentality on the left to the degree or even the kind of shrillness in which it occurs on the right.
  2. neisgator
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    neisgator Belligerent Gator

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    A liberal, telling a non-liberal to act like an adult?
    Lord, Ive seen it all!
  3. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Hey man, I could have used you a few posts ago.

    Also, is it just me, or have you gained hundreds of rep stars?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    A separate issue from GMO's or the fact that we are all mostly better off diet wise than those who lived even 100 years ago, or 40 years ago in India or Africa, where people literally starved by the thousands.
  5. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    Good for you, but don't confuse gardening with food production for billions. If we are smart enough to cut back world population without a cataclysmic event, perhaps we can ultimately feed the world that way, but it will require more of us working on the farm than now - could be good or bad depending - and lots of manure and phosphate mined from somewhere. These are all mostly points highlighted by rade in his quotes.
  6. asuragator
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    asuragator Well-Known Member

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    LOL, rade. I'll be there next time :laugh:

    I don't know about gaining rep stars but I am trying to shed some things like lbs' right now.
  7. rpmGator
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    rpmGator Well-Known Member

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    There are already organic orange groves in Florida. These aren't hobby farms but real groves.

    I grow mostly fruit. I did grow corn on my land in lake county along with peas and squash but rarely do row crops any longer.

    Planting the three together is called the three sisters and how it was done long ago by the American Indian.

    You plant the corn after the land is tilled, when it gets about six inches high, you plant running beans that will climb the corn stalk for support. Then you plant the squash which fills in the bottom and cuts off the sunlight to weeds.

    The beans are nitrogen fixing so they feed the corn and squash, the squash takes away the need for tilling. The corn creates the stakes for the beans.

    Here is a link to a Wisconsin organic farm of 1,700 acres.

    http://www.wisfarmer.com/business/-...olds-field-day-----jcpg-325784-206774761.html

    Mid, there are several poisons for citrus and other crops that require you to be certified before you handle it. Don't keep up with them any longer, as I no longer need them to do a job that can be done with something much safer.
  8. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    I managed a small farm in the '70s and early '80s and am both sympathetic to your goals and somewhat knowledgeable - though I haven't kept up with things - about what used to be traditional, but are now alternative, farming practices. My copy of Plowman's Folly was well used, and except for a middle buster for digging sweet potatoes, I didn't own a plow but had a beautiful disc, and rotated alyce clover with my winter rye field. I hear you - there are "modern" practices which make little sense except for the fact that they are easier and with cheap oil, doable. Some don't make sense otherwise, but I think it is wrong to think we can feed a world which actually was starving to death only several decades ago without the "unsustainable" practices which ended - if only temporarily - that tragedy. Until we get control of exploding populations - and that is unfortunately a long way off, if ever - "alternative" farming practices will be good for the soil, a way for many 3rd world farmers to survive, and a viable market for those in 1st world countries willing to pay the extra costs, but not an answer for the food demands of the world.
  9. rpmGator
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    rpmGator Well-Known Member

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    A farmer who grows his own cattle feed, has control of his own costs.

    He can figure out his need for energy, and grow his own bio-fuels to run his tractors, like they already do in Georgia.

    We are cutting acres of farm lands, and importing more from other nations. Florida can no longer feed itself. Coca Cola is planting 25,000 acres of citrus in this state because so many acres no longer grow citrus. There is more to this, that the type of fertilizer used.

    Mosaic pumps more water from our aquifer than almost anyone, just to mix it in with phosphates, before it is sent into the creeks which end up in the gulf. Waster aquifer water, just so they won't have to charge the true price of doing it the right way.

    There won't be enough water to grow these extra crops unless water use is cut somewhere else. The thinking has to expand into a holistic solution or even the system you endorse, will fail.

    Nebraska water, is more important to this nation than Canadian oil sands. Yet, look what is considered more important.

    The corporate way of row crops is what will fail first. Not the more natural way of doing what was done for centuries.
  10. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    I agree that present practices are not "sustainable" for a variety of reasons - of which you give good examples - but given world population pressures, we can't meet them with practices that are. We are in a bind and I think it is self defeating to pretend an answer to one question - what is sensible for the very long term? - answers the most compelling - how do we feed 7 billion + people?

    As to one of your points, I have seen agricultural lands in my county dwindle to almost zero, after a century of being one of the top centers in the state. The difficulty of making a living farming was part of that, but so was increasing land values for development. A similar thing happened all over the state I lived in prior.
  11. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    rpm, I think we all respect your passion and knowledge on organic farming. The real issue is the lower efficiency (and thus higher cost) of organic farming, compared with other modes of farming. I don't mind paying 3 bucks for a jug of Uncle Matt's OJ, but in the poorest countries, this amount of money might take a day or two to earn. It's just not practical for the people of these nations. (nor is any OJ, for that matter)

    Golden rice is a good example of the potential power of GMOs for aiding developing nations. Golden rice is "golden" because it was given a gene allowing it to synthesize beta-carotene (found in carrots) that is a precursor to vitamin A. You may remember the old urban legend about eating carrots and eye sight? Well, in places like Africa, they are actually so starved for vitamin A that many children actually display night blindness. It is simply not practical at this time to grow the vitamin A crops, like carrots and spinach, in these locations.

    Enter golden rice. Rice is one of cheapest crops in the world to grow, but it doesn't offer much in the way of non-energetic nutrition. Golden rice has the potential to help treat the negative effects of this widespread vitamin deficiency, as it would represent the most efficient way to deliver vitamin A to these poor communities. Why hasn't it? Opposition from environmental and anti-globalization groups. Since you appear to a big opponent of enforcement of intellectual property rights, you'll probably be pleased to find out that the many property rights holders of golden rice have arranged for free distribution of golden rice to subsistence farmers (and any others making less than 10K per year). In fact, Monsanto was one of the first to release their rights. And this agreement included permission for all farmers to reseed their own plots.

    So where does that leave us? Ignoring the anti-globalization opposition, who have their own issues, should environmental groups really be trying to block these people from access to golden rice because it isn't "organic"? I'd love for these people to have your luxury of choosing the absolute best tomatoes, but should we essentially promote starvation as a means to that end? For me, the answer to that question is abundantly clear.*

    *To be fair, most of the environment opposition is not from physiological health related issues, but environmental ones, such as species interactions once the rice escapes cultivation. For me, this is actually the most real threat posed by GMOs, but I haven't addressed it, since it doesn't appear to be one of your major concerns.

    Edit to add photo:

    [​IMG]
  12. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Here I think we are conflating the farming perspectives with those of economics. You are basically advocating for self-sufficiency in this post, which while certainly romantic idea, goes against the central theme of the seminal text of economics, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.

    I can be cattle farmer. I can be a cattle farmer, who grows his own crops to feed my cattle. I can be a cattle farmer who also mines my own phosphate to fertilize my crops, which feed my cattle. I can also grow my own trees to build my own wooden fences for the cattle. I can also use my cattle to furnish my own leather to clothe myself and family. Etc. etc.

    It all sounds like an upside, because I can in theory "control my own costs", but there is a catch. I have to invest an increasing amount of time and resources to capitalize these ventures. I have to learn how to grow feed, fight off pests, and harvest. I have to learn how to dry my leather. Etc. In other words, I have to re-invent the wheel over and over again. And so will every other farmer around. But there is a way out of this: trade. Instead, I can use all my time and resources to become an expert at cattle, and exchange my cattle for the fruits of the expertise of others, such as feed. In the end, all of us gets to share in all of these resources, but we each spent less resources to create them. This, Smith recognized, was a key tenet of the creation of wealth.

    Now, there may be some national security concerns. You probably don't want to import every nations' military from, let's say, Iraq. You probably want to do that one for yourself. But do we really need Florida to grow our own sugar? Couldn't we instead create more wealth by importing sugar from those that can produce it more efficiently and instead exporting OJ, at which Florida excels producing?

    It is a strange sounding argument, since we seem to have evolved these mantras to "buy local" or even more so "buy American", but there is no doubting that the exchanges create a more efficient economy. We lose the title of "self-sufficient", but we really didn't have it anyway, as we always bought our own cars, tractors, microwaves, etc.
  13. rpmGator
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    rpmGator Well-Known Member

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    Phosphate is over used and in Florida, some places don't want you to use any of it as it isn't even needed as much here as in some other places.

    But economic cuts, also decrease price for those who buy it. In Georgia, they built a new oil refinery so famers could set aside the amount of acres needed to fuel their equipment, and take that crop and remove the oil, and use it for the tractor or any other diesel motor.

    You plant all the land anyhow, so the only effort is deciding how many acres will go to one crop and how many will be used for the farm energy. About the only extra time is taking the oil and making the bio fuel out of it.

    Some now plant sorghum instead of corn as it has reduced needs for water and fertilizer, while giving back a larger amount of energy potential.

    And Rade, if you go back to my initial point. I said if it created something healthier or better tasting, instead of just a gimmick to sell more roundup, that is different.

    There are many new types of citrus but it doesn't require the orange to have different genetics, it just takes two types and creates a third type. With the same genes intact.

    Since my whole point is, the need for pesticides and herbicides are not a must for all things, there is a savings on doing it without that cost, time and cost to apply, and waiting on the crop to become safe once more.

    For any decision, there is an economic cost. Sticking with your way, has its own cost...

    My opposition is toward controlling the worlds food supply. Food is way more important than the rights of one company. The blueberry's in my yard, were created at good ole UF and if I want to use what I have, to create more plants, I have to pay to do so as they are patented.

    Don't mind that, but do mind attempts to control the worlds seed supply.
  14. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    I would argue that all of these GMOs create something useful, if no other use than making the organism cheaper, such as pest or herbicide resistance, and increasing nutrition, such as the golden rice. Enviropig, now defunct, reduced harmful phosphorus wastes, and AquAdvantage salmon, still under FDA review, will produce market ready fish much faster than farmed wild-types. If all the GMO did was make you buy more herbicide, no one would buy it.

    Actually, selection and hybridization always acts at the genetic level. Virtually all of our cultivated foods possess anthropogenic genetic alteration, including citrus.

    We are both against controlling the food supply. It is my argument that GMOs don't control the food supply but instead offer more options. You don't want to pay the patent fees? Use other stocks. But even the patent fees essentially are not any different than those that you pay for most services. Car insurance, internet access, newspapers, pest control, Netflix, insider access to Gatorcountry...they all require periodic fees to continue service.

    And what you're describing isn't even new in agriculture. For example, Dole used to cut off the tops of their pineapples, so people couldn't plant them to grow another fruit in their yard. Eventually, people really stopped bothering as it was pretty unprofitable to do so. But GMOs are a profitable commodity today, so their owners are still ardently protecting them, just as movie and music producers protect their products. You are viewing Bt corn more like a geranium, but perhaps we should see it more like an internet service.

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