Monday, October 10, 2005

Pakistan Quake/Genetically Modified crop 'ruins fields for 15 years'

Bit of a two-fold entry today, as I’m covering two stories. I spent most of the weekend on the computer reading the stories of the Pakistan quake as the casualty and damage numbers and stories rolled in, and my heart went out to all the victims, so I wanted to at least mention it here, even if I am exclusively dedicated to U.S. Politics. Also, does this feel like the year nature struck back or what?

Frantic search as Pakistani quake toll tops 20,000

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Rescuers searched frantically for survivors of Pakistan's massive earthquake on Monday as the death toll climbed over 20,000 and officials said thousands more bodies could be in the rubble.

Looting broke out in the city of Muzaffarabad, almost totally destroyed by Saturday's 7.6 magnitude earthquake and desperately short of food, medicine and water.

"They've lost everything, they have no clothes, no food, nothing," said Asim Butt, a resident of the city of about 100,000. "People have started looting things from shops."

The U.S. military in neighboring Afghanistan said it was diverting eight helicopters being used in the war against Islamic militants to assist with emergency operations as offers of aid poured in from around the world.

Aid agencies said more than 120,000 people were in urgent need of shelter and up to four million could be left homeless.

Relief workers had yet to reach many remote villages, and officials said the number of dead was likely to climb far above the 19,400 already known to have died in Pakistan.

Officials in North West Frontier Province and Pakistani Kashmir say the final death toll could be close to 40,000.

Now, then. I also want to start covering more environmental stories as I try to focus on my own impact on the world around me, and this seems like an appropriate place to start. It seems that genetically modified crops, at least of rapeseed, do not seem to be the answer for fixing any sort of environmental problems. A recent study in the UK found that “GM crops contaminate the countryside for up to 15 years after they have been harvested”.

Great Britain has already been skittish on the subject of GM crops, and this promises to at least somewhat derail the push to get the crops into the UK, a good thing, in my opinion. It’s not that I’m completely ethically opposed to the idea of GM crops; I certainly understand where the idea for such an entity comes from, and I’m sympathetic to the point of view, but there are so many good reasons to oppose them that I’m loathe to even consider the idea at this point. My rationale:Aside from the genes/cloning/anti-science/playing God arguments that get batted around, I think those are reason enough to at least delay the roll-out of such crops. It seems the UK is at least pursuing a responsible scientific approach to the subject; I just wish our own government would do the same.

Posted by crimnos @ 8:15 AM

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An interesting point makes reference to one of the main reasons advocates of GMOs put forward to support their arguments, namely that we don't have enough food to feed the world.

Consider a recent report out of the US that 45% of harvested food never reaches the dinner plates for which it was destined.

Perhaps, once we have eradicated the waste of food in the 'developed' world, we might be more justified in searching for a 'solution' to the inequities of food distribution.

With waist-lines and associated diseases in the 'developed' world increasingly dominating our greatest expenditure, health care, it may be time to address our issues around food before we try to help others with their issues around food.

We may not be in the best position to understand the issue clearly.

Posted by Blogger a voice in the wind @ 1:35 PM #
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