Join the debate

30th September 2005 at 01:00
Key themes Role of the EU in changing society; challenges of global interdependence and responsibility Pupils could use the article (right) as the basis for a debate on the merits and demerits of GM food: would they accept GM crops in the school canteen? They could create a decision flowchart on how GM crops are accepted or rejected by EU countries and discuss whether the process is democratic or not. They might research the role and arguments of Greenpeace regarding GM issues. Alternatively, they could conduct a survey to discover community views about GM crops. Are people ignorant of the issues? Are most people in favour of GM foods?

Arguments in favour

Fewer pesticides and herbicides, thus benefiting the environment

Can be grown where conventional crops fail

Increased nutrients, yields, taste and quality

No proven health risks

Conserves resources such as water and energy

Encourages investment in research and development of technologies Arguments against

Science is tampering with nature

It's a crude and imprecise technology that could produce harmful effects we don't yet know about

Cross-contamination and pollination between GM crops and organic and conventional crops

Loss of flora and fauna biodiversity

Escaping genes could create superweeds highly resistant to pests

Potential impact on human health : allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance markers, unknown health effects

Assists domination of world food production by a few companies

cost benefit to consumers. Only marginal benefits to farmers

Their use is unnecessary and diverts attention and funding away from sustainable agriculture and research technologies.

Greenpeace www.greenpeace.org.uk

Monsanto The company supports an education site on biotechnology: lscgw1.monsanto.combiotechbbasics.nsfindex.html?OpenPage

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