A nipa hut quitely sits amidst fields of organic rice standing witnessing hardwork and persistence of the farmers in Sitio Canaan, Barangay Crossing, Magallon, Negros Occidental. © Greenpeace/Gigie Cruz-Sy

Only a couple of decades ago, genetically modified organisms (GMO) would have been something out of science fiction. In the not so distant past, we never imagined we would find on our dinner tables strawberries with fish genes, corn with bacterial genes, and soybeans with built-in herbicides. Little did we know that such scenes would turn into reality in a dizzyingly short period of time. But this is now part of today's reality.

In the natural world, organisms develop specific desirable traits through evolution. This is usually a very slow process and driven by natural laws---not by human beings. Typically, an organism develops a color that will camouflage it from potential predators through hundreds or thousands of years of selection and adaptation. And, in the natural world, species never breed with unrelated species.

Greenpeace activists dressed to symbolize the "bul-ul", a traditional Ifugao rice guardian, carried out a protest at the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City. © Greenpeace / Joseph Agcaoili

With the advent of genetic engineering, the natural barriers between species have been broken down. Today, different species can be genetically manipulated to give rise to totally new organisms, presumably with a human-desired trait. Today, through human intervention, a fish can contain genes from a plant, and a plant can be 'shot' with genes from a bacterium. The possibilities for novel organisms are endless with this technology. They are also unpredictable and frightening.

Greenpeace is in the forefront of the campaign to oppose the release of GMOs into the environment. Greenpeace insists that because the technology is very new and imprecise, the potential ill effects on public health and on the environment are still widely unknown. The truth is no one knows for sure how these new man-made creations will affect life on planet Earth. Therefore, because there is still no scientific consensus as to long-term impact, and in accordance with the precautionary principle, it is best that no releases of GMOs into the environment be allowed.

This technology must be approached with great caution and more study! Releasing GMOs into the environment could have lasting effects that we cannot yet even imagine.

The latest updates

 

Greenpeace India faces shutdown in one month

Press release | May 7, 2015 at 13:38

New Delhi - Greenpeace India has one month left to fight for its survival following a wider government crackdown on civil society. The environmental NGO has been left with funds for staff salaries and office costs that will last for just about 30...

The grass is always greener on the other side (as long your neighbor doesn’t use Roundup)

Blog entry by Patrizia Cuonzo | April 22, 2015

Today is Earth Day, and approximately one month since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer, probably causes cancer . In the Netherlands, where I live,...

A heartfelt, much needed message to future generations

Blog entry by Jenny Tuazon | April 22, 2015

Prince Ea 's latest thought-provoking video truly strikes a chord. He summarized so well the environmental crisis we are facing of far greater, planetary proportions. Indicators such as species extinctions, forest declines, and climate...

Greenpeace seeks government’s full support for climate-resilient agriculture as El...

Press release | April 16, 2015 at 13:56

Quezon City— In response to mounting concerns about the possible impact of a weak El Niño on Filipino farmers, Greenpeace Philippines is calling on both the national and local governments to adopt and support policies and programs to help...

Glyphosate's under the spotlight

Blog entry by Patrizia Cuonzo | March 30, 2015

Pesticide Action Week 2015 had just started when I had read some interesting news:  "Roundup weedkiller 'probably'* causes cancer, says WHO study" The  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)  – an agency affiliated...

Dolores farmers recovering from Typhoon Ruby, brace for onset of El Niño

Press release | March 29, 2015 at 10:33

Quezon City, Philippines – Just over three months after Typhoon Ruby struck the municipality of Dolores in Eastern Samar, many of the region’s farmers are now on the road to recovery and harvesting new crops following a farmer-to-farmer organic...

The strong arm of the Grrrowd

Blog entry by Kumi Naidoo | March 27, 2015

Grrrowd  is a powerful new model for crowdfunding legal cases involving human and environmental rights. It's the Kickstarter of class action suits, the Indiegogo of good cases for good causes. It's the place where  a poor Mexican...

Much ado about MINGO—lifesaving food packets

Blog entry by Virginia Benosa-Llorin | March 17, 2015

Let’s face it, the Philippines is a country more prone to natural calamities and disasters. A recently published report by the risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft said that the Philippines has, unfortunately,  21 out of 100 cities...

Women and Ecological Agriculture

Blog entry by Jenny Tuazon | March 8, 2015

International Women's Day has been observed for more than a century since it began as a special day to promote equal rights, including suffrage, for women. The story of women's struggle belongs to the collective efforts of all who...

My down-to-earth project

Blog entry by Virginia Benosa-Llorin | March 6, 2015

I recently had the pleasure of attending an activity of the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture in partnership with the Department of Agriculture. It was the launch of a gardening project right inside a vacant lot of a...

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