Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Door is Cracked Open, Jump Through Greenpeace!

This morning I was fortunate to have breakfast with Mark Lynas in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  He discussed his idea for a blog, based on the idea that 107 Nobel Laureates have asked Greenpeace to change their position on Golden Rice. He prepared a nice piece with a quick turnaround. It's here!

Go read that now if you haven't.  I'll wait. 

I could never put that so eloquently.  So instead, I'll focus on the idea that changing one's mind is not a bad thing, and maybe Greepeace should do that.  While politicians scream of "flip-flopping" and "waffling", in reality changing one's mind is an act of courage. It comes after a time evidence re-evaluation.  It is a sign of growth, a sign of personal improvement.  

Head toward the light!!

Greenpeace is in a difficult spot.  They do some things well and have a solid brand to inspire change.  However, they are not taken seriously because of their denial of fundamental science, and their trashing of scientists.  It is especially damaging when their science denial disadvantages those in impoverished nations that could benefit from the technology they block. 

For Greenpeace to be sustainable they must grow with the times and move with the evidence. 

Now is the time to do that. 

Imagine if they said, "The 107 Nobelians are correct, and we've been rethinking this position for a long time...  while we still do not agree with multinational companies and note clear ecological impacts of GM crops, we side with science in stating that there are no known health effects of these technologies, and that they may even be helpful in combating nutritional deficiency, land lost to changing climate, and in fighting ever changing pests and pathogens."

Imagine if they said that.  The world would give them a pass on the regressive former stance, and applaud their acceptance of science.  Their credibility would soar, and dollars would roll in, and their perception as an anti-science organization would dissipate a bit. 

The door is cracked open.  Jump through, Greenpeace.  The spotlight is on you, and what you choose to do in response to the 107 signatories may just re-define the trajectory of your organization. 


Modemac said...

Greenpeace would have to make a hell of a lot more than one statement to restore their credibility in the eyes of the scientific community. At this moment, Greenpeace has published a reply to this statement from the gathered Nobel laureates. At this moment, I have not read the reply nor do I know what it is about. I will, however, take an educated guess and predict their response boils down to: "You're all corporate shills." Please, prove me wrong.

Gerti said...

That was the response of EFSA’s executive director, Bernhard Url, towards a letter signed by 96 scientists in order to influence the European Union's decision on glyphosate:

“People that have not contributed to the work, that have not seen the evidence, most likely, that have not had the time to go into the detail, that are not in the process, have signed a letter of support. Sorry to say that, for me, with this, you leave the domain of science, you enter into the domain of lobbying and campaigning, and this is not the way EFSA goes. For me this is the first sign of the Facebook age of science. You have a scientific assessment, you put it in Facebook and you count how many people like it. For us, this is no way forward. We produce a scientific opinion, we stand for it but we cannot take into account whether it will be liked or not.”

107 Nobel Laureates have asked Greenpeace to change their position on Golden Rice. 96 scientists have asked the EU to change its position on glyphosate. 200,000 Food Babe Soldiers have asked Kraft Foods to change its position on food dyes. To be continued ....

How many of the 107 Nobel Laureates have in depth knowledge about GMOs?

Roger Morton said...

The thing is that GP have known that they were on shaky moral ground on Golden Rice for 15 years
Greenpeace promises not to halt trials of GM vitamin rice
By Steve Connor in Lyon
10 February 2001
Greenpeace has promised not to sabotage a forthcoming trial on genetically modified (GM) rice, because of the strong moral arguments in favour of producing a staple crop that could alleviate childhood blindness.
It is believed to be the first time that the environmental activists, who have spearheaded attempts to sabotage and disrupt GM crop trials in Britain, have accepted the questionable morality of destroying something aimed at preventing children from going blind. Benedikt Haerlin, a senior figure in Greenpeace International, said that although he opposes the release of all GM crops into the environment, he believes that "golden rice" enriched with vitamin A, is an exception to the Greenpeace rule of search and destroy.

"The trials of GM 'golden rice' will not be the target of Greenpeace action, I'm quite sure about that," Mr Haerlin told the World Life Science Forum in Lyon.

"I feel that 'golden rice' is a moral challenge to our position. It is true there is a different moral context, whether you have an insecticidal or pesticide-resistant GM, or whether you have a GM product that serves a good purpose."

"Golden rice" is being developed at the Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, with charitable funding from the Rockefeller Foundation in the US. Laboratory research will be followed by the first field trials, according to Ingo Potrykus, the former head of the project. Rice is the staple crop for more than half the world's population, but it lacks vitamin A in high enough levels to prevent blindness in an estimated 50,000 children a month.
"Golden rice" has extra genes inserted, which artificially boost vitamin-A production in the plant. Scientists also hope to engineer the plant still further to boost levels of iron, another vital element largely missing from rice.
However, Greenpeace claimed yesterday that children would have to eat a 9kg bucketful of the rice each day, to satisfy all their daily dietary requirements. "It is a fool's gold", it claimed.
"It is inconceivable that a single technological fix could solve this problem," Mr Haerlin said.
"If we made a concerted effort to use the anti-vitamin A deficiency measures we have at the moment, we could be in the position of finding that vitamin A deficiency is under control by the time this 'golden rice' is ready," he said.
Claims by the biotechnology industry that "golden rice" will save the sight of 50,000 children a month, and that attempts to oppose the GM rice are tantamount to condemning these children to a life of blindness is reprehensible, Mr Haerlin said.

Roger Morton said...

I don't know. But what you can be pretty sure about is that Nobel Laureates know a scientific consensus when they see one. And I am pretty sure that they can observe a debate between anti-GM "science" and science and see which side holds the position that is backed by data and which side is propped up by motivated reasoning

Anonymous said...

Greenpeace has the same problem as the pope and it is called infallibility. I guess in about 300 years they will rehabilitate Golden Rice ;-)

Shadeburst said...

Mark Lynas, I hate to say, is a twit, for putting us climate skeptics in the same camp as Greenpeace. GMO safety is a relatively simple issue with only one factor to control: does a GMO kill a laboratory animal, yes or no. The vast body of climate science is not science at all. The greenhouse effect is the only scientific part. Causation is still extremely uncertain, and the model predictions are so bad that they're not even wrong. But somehow the warmists have managed to spin the scientific certainty of the GHE to cover causation and predictions as well. The climate change industry has as much to do with science as a TV doctor carrying a stethoscope, which is a genuine medical device.

The claims of an overwhelming consensus on climate change have been debunked so often that it's surprising to find a genuine scientist like you, Kevin, still quoting them, or approving their use by Lynas. If we're talking sheer numbers, over thirty thousand scientists have signed a declaration explicitly rejecting the case for CAGW. Even Dr Bjorn Lomborg, a fairly rabid warmist, thinks that the "consensus" is nonsense. As Michael Crichton said, if it's consensus it's not science, and if it's science it's not consensus. All it takes to falsify a consensus of ten gazillion backers is for one person to be right.

But thank you for abandoning the use of the word "denier" which I hope shows that the endocrinal system does not have to be an integral part of one's thinking processes.

Unknown said...

wow signature means science...i would like these 107 to present their case...for their support and what qualifies them to do so...we must hold the same standard of measure to these noble laurets as is often held of Anti gmo people by pro gmo and so called skepytics and 'scienticst"...that they are not qualified to talk about the topic..because they are not authorities on that subject lets see the double standard play out ...if the people want to focus on their being Noble Lauretes and not ther understanding of the science they sign their names to....obama is a nobel prize winner....guess what that means

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