AND THE WINNER IS: Wendy Tweten.
How to Enter
For those poor souls who missed the awesome documentary about Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire the other night, there may still be hope for you. Just visit PBS's online extras about the show and tell us in a comment what you found interesting there – or didn't. Be honest (this isn't a suck-up-fest). Then at 9 pm Eastern tomorrow (11/2) we'll randomly choose the winner.
Now about their take on GMO plants
In the last segment of the show, the one about potatoes, we're told that enormous amounts of pesticides are sprayed on them to combat the Colorado potato beetle. All very expensive for the farmer, and pesticides are better avoided in any case. So along comes the Bt potato with its added gene for the bacteria that kills that particular bug. This Bt-containing potato, called New Leaf, saves farmers a bundle and, you know, saves consumers and the planet a helluva lot of pesticides.
Ah, but the story takes a turn: public fear over this genetic fiddling leads to the demise of the Bt potato and, we presume, the return of the regular spraying regimen.
But Pollan declares that it's NOT a choice between GMO and pesticides – that the
answer is organic farming. Finally, the narrator raises the inevitable question: "Can organic farming feed the world?" but doesn't answer it.
So here's my beef. Isn't Pollan the very same guy who used to sound awfully pro-GMO, saying it's the last, best chance of drastically reducing the use of pesticides? Now he's clearly on the anti-GMO side so I'd like to know how and why his opinion changed. Also, how about an answer to that tricky question about whether traditional organic farming methods can feed our overpopulated world?
Now before you all throw things at me, on the question of GMO technology I'm no supporter – just an agnostic.