Should farmers be forced to use ecologically sound techniques that serve their long-term interests, regardless of short-term costs? How might this be done?
Yes, farmers should be forced to use environmentally friendly methods which serve their lifelong goals despite the price they have to pay in the meantime. The rate at which the ecosystem has been deteriorating in the recent past has been reported to be alarming. Therefore appropriate measures need to be put in place to stop or reduce land pollution and promote its productivity.
This may be achieved through education of farmers on the emerging trends of methods of agricultural practice. Informative programmes about the misgivings of conventional farming systems and the advantages of modern environmental friendly farming systems should be rolled out for farmers. In addition, one should organize agricultural expo that showcases the performance of the recommended agricultural techniques to farmers. From these arrangements, farmers will be empowered with knowledge and understanding of the techniques and therefore there will be more evidence for reluctant farmers to join the paradigm shift and enjoy the advantages of engaging in scientific techniques of agricultural production (Garibaldi, et al., 2017)
. Secondly, proper legislation that controls land use by farmers should be enacted by the relevant government authorities and legislators. These rules and regulations should promote sustainable land use practices and propose severe punishment to farmers who mutilate the ecosystem through their agricultural techniques. Some of the sustainable land uses that should be promoted include the diversified farming, sustainable intensification, ecological intensification, agroecological farming and organic farming (Cunningham & Cunningham, 2012). Moreover, there should be the need for follow up activities to ensure non-compliant farmers are punished accordingly.
To encourage farmers who have a low capital base, the government in collaboration with international bodies should give out subsidies to help them face the challenges of fulfilling new legislation of land use.
What aspects of genetically modified food products do you find most beneficial? Which are most worrisome?
Since the introduction of genetically engineered crops, there has been a substantive decline in the in the degradation the ecosystem. This technique is not harmful to the environment and it does not alter the norm of the surrounding biodiversity.
Studies have proven that genetically engineered crops had recorded huge volumes of harvests compared to similar crops. Some genetically modified crops are engineered to produce pesticides thereby cancelling out the need of buying pesticides to eliminate pests since they can do that on their own. Klümper & Qaim (2014) noted that the use of genetically modified services in agricultural practices had lowered the use of chemical pesticides by about 37%, improved their harvests by approximately 22% and upscaled the profits farmers made by 68%. This evidence substantiates the importance of this technology in farming.
However, there exist concerns of the spreading of this technology to non-crop plants and animals. Many studies have not satisfactorily shown how the existing species of flora and fauna does not face the risk of extinction in case this generic flow is left to persist. In addition, some people have worries feeding on genetically modified foods due to the possible health effects that it may bring forth. This is due to the fact that there is a public perception that the introduced genes in the crops may be harmful to humans. In addition, some worry that the introduced genes may have antibiotic-resistant characteristics thereby lowering the immunity of those who consume them. Specifically, the effectiveness of therapeutic antibiotics is in suspense due to the possibility of ingesting the antibiotic-resistant strains of the crop (Klümper & Qaim, 2014). To cup it up, most of the authorized reports of the effects of genetically modified food on people’s welfare have been unsatisfactory. It was noted that the official reports involved inconclusive mythologies and data analysis.
Suppose that you were engaged in genetic engineering or pesticide development. What environmental or social safeguards would you impose on your own research, if any? What restrictions would you tolerate from someone else concerned about the effects of your work?
As a party to the ambitions of genetic engineering, I would take a keen interest in addressing the application of gene silencing methods against viruses for suppressing the manifestation of genes that cause harm to the organism (Barrows, Sexton & Zilberman (2014). Additionally, I would incorporate public participants in the study and manufacture of genetically modified organisms in order to boost the sociological appeal of the technique in the society. Once people have gained trust in the technology, the sceptics and stereotypes of this concept will be phased out.
I would tolerate the rhetoric which endorses an alternative practice of agriculture that does not pollute the environment or otherwise reduce the yields of agricultural production. Restrictions on the use of genetically modified crops and animals should only base on proven scientific studies which are conclusive and have incorporated appropriate methodologies. Finally, the restrictions from government authorities in line with international bodies tasked to explore genetically modified foods will receive total compliance from my end.
Sonja Huang (2012), noted in her lecture that the rate at which the ecosystem was being overused to provide food for animals and human beings was not sustainable. With the introduction of factory farming methods, firms have been able to produce huge numbers of animals in cages. The large population of animals has overstrained the ecosystem has in a bid to meet the required animal feeds. It had been proven that the amount of calories fed to the animals was far much more compared to the ones produced by the animal products. In addition, since the animals were caged, health concerns emerged. They were found stepping on they own faeces which would then be washed off to meet a lake of another pool of faeces and urine. These lakes of faeces were then sprayed into the air polluting the environment with toxic gases. It is reported that some of these toxic gases have caused asthma to children in the neighbouring areas.
She thereafter suggested that alternative methods of production needed to be incorporated to salvage the deteriorating situations. Some of the recommendations were promoting campaigns that encouraged individuals to skip a meat meal every one day of the week. She also suggested that one should focus more on consuming beans as a source of proteins or otherwise take vegetable-rich meals.
Barrows, G., Sexton, S., & Zilberman, D. (2014). Agricultural biotechnology: the promise and prospects of genetically modified crops. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(1), 99-120. Retrieved from https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.28.1.99
Cunningham & Cunningham. (2012) .Food and Agriculture. Environmental science, 7, 1-179. Retrieved from www.mcgrawhillconnect.com
Garibaldi, L. A., Gemmill-Herren, B., D’Annolfo, R., Graeub, B. E., Cunningham, S. A., & Breeze, T. D. (2017). Farming approaches for greater biodiversity, livelihoods, and food security. Trends in ecology & evolution, 32(1), 68-80. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309449755_Farming_Approaches_for_Greater_Biodiversity_Livelihoods_and_Food_Security
Klümper, W., & Qaim, M. (2014). A meta-analysis of the impacts of genetically modified crops. PloS one, 9(11), e111629. Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111629
Sonja, Huang. (2018). Food and agriculture; Green talk. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRBYpZtVYvA