Please note:
1. Do not give out your email on this wiki - pass it onto your teacher's spreadsheet to share with others
2. Contribute to the discussion tab above each time you add to the wiki - let others know what you have done and get to know them
3. Information on this page MUST be your own work and not copied from books, articles, websites or any other sources of information.
4. Make sure you give examples and specific information as evidence to support your ideas.
5. Reference any sources of information including websites AND hyperlink back to sites where you have gained information from. This is not a competition to see who write the most. We are looking for your ability to collaborate on and summerise the global issue. Again - use hyperlinks to external sites that help explain information in more depth.


Creators



Students add their names and their blog URLs
Pallavi (from New Zealand) - http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?user_id=76595&blogger_id=77868
Chun won seok (from South Korea) - http://www.classblogmeister.com/blog.php?user_id=97161&blogger_id=98557

Global Issue


1. Brief description of the issue.
- Write questions starting with "What if.....?" about "your global issue."
- Brainstorm and explain why the world should care about this issue.
QUESTIONS-gmo4.jpg
1. What if genetic modification wasn't introduced in the world? What would happen?
2. What if not only food but other living such as animals or even humans were genetically modified?
3. What if the method of genetic modification was practised on an extensively large scale?
4. What if genetically modified food changed the physical properties of food? (eg. what if a tomato was blue in colour?or was rather cubed shaped?)
(by Pallavi)
WHY SHOULD THE WORLD CARE ABOUT GENETIC MODIFICATION OF FOOD?
(note please 'gmf' stands for genetically modified foods)
•Gmf can result in a loss of certain nutrients in the food and so people won’t get the adequate amount of nutrients from what they’re eating. This can lead to health issues worldwide.
Eg. We might think that by eating soybeans we’re getting enough protein. But in reality, maybe, the modification made to the soybean plant in order to make it resistant towards pests and insects might have decreased the protein content in the plant.

Health issues and risks.
Genetic modification of food crops alters the original food. Eating this might have a negative effect on our health due to the modification of
gmo_1.jpg
GM cartoon
the food. eg. the modifications made to the food might lead to the development of certain microorganisms which might be harmful to our health. Also the chemicals added to the gmf's might pose a risk to our health.

Environmental risks.
The seeds of the crops are genetically modified and then planted. So changing the genes and the genetic formation of the crop will be like producing a NEW organism and introducing an ALIEN to the environment. The new crop may react differently towards the environment or the vice versa. Since there isn’t much known about what these genetically modified plants can do to the environment (like decrease soil’s nutrient content or result in death of important microorganisms or have a negative effect on the biodiversity), planting of gmf can have a harmful effect on the environment. Negative effect on the environment will in turn have a negative effect on the people.
(by Pallavi)

2. Why do you consider this a global issue? (Who does it affect? Where is it occurring? What proportion of the world is affected or will be affected in the future?)
Genetic Modification of food affects both the environment and the living organisms. Leakage of the chemicals used for genetic engineering into the environment can result in serious environmental issues. Also some chemicals used in genetic engineering are quite toxic. These can cause critical health problems to living organisms, considerably humans.
By the supporters, it's believed that genetic modification of food can help solve the problem of world hunger because since the crops won't rot fast and will be insect/pest resistant, they won't die and thus food will be available in abundance. However, this thought has put a curtain on the scientists' eyes about the effects of genetic modification. For example, after eating a food supplement produced by genetically modified bacteria, 37 people died and about 1500 were permanently disabled in the US (1) in a disease called eosonophil myalgea syndrome (EMS). Analysis show that nothing else than genetic engineering caused the appearance of poisoning. This shows the negative effect of gmf on humans. In another instance, Argentina (2) has suffered from an environmental crisis with 'superweeds' overrunning the countryside and farmers reporting health problems. Since 1997, genetically modified soya has been planted over half the country's arable land. Now farmers are to use more and more herbicides to control the resistant weeds, damaging the soil's fertility for generations. This example chiefly shows the negative impact of genetic modification of foods on the environment i.e. the soil. Excessive use of herbicides results in loss of soil nutrients as they contain chemicals which destroy the sensitive nutrients in the soil. Along with that it also shows its effect on people's health. "...opting for GM rice would not only reduce pesticide use and save the lives of hundreds of Chinese farmers who die each year from exposure to the chemicals, but would also save the farmers money." (3). This statement reveals the role genetically modified food (rice) has for farmers in China. Due to the use of genetically modified rice, there is less loss of lives and money is also saved. So in this case, genetic modification has a positive effect on the people.

3. What are some of the different opinions/perspectives on the issue? (Give examples, evidence and pictures to support your answers above)
4. Why are there different opinion/perspectives on the issue? (Give examples, evidence and pictures to support your answers above)

Genetic Modification of food has soared up to quite a high extent around the world. Some people are satisfied and quite happy with using the GM foods. But some are completely against it. Through the text below, we get to know the different opinions on gmf.

1) Many Maori (NZ natives) consider that genetic modification interferes with the maui (lifeforce) and whakapapa (kinship) which connect all living things. "My religion says that everything was made perfectly, so we shouldn’t use GE to change things"- an opinion of a large GM protestant group. Maori believe that they have a sacred bond with their environment- the land, the water etc. According to this belief, they oppose the practice of GM because introduction of GM chemicals into the environment can be harmful and will affect their relationship with their environment. Also the statement about everything being perfect shows us that they consider everything given by the God to be fine and thus do not want to alter it. Overall, the opinion of Maori on gmf is based on their religious beliefs.

2) The Sustainability Council believes that NZ should remain GM Free Food Producer for at least next five years. The Council's purpose is to look after and protect NZ's ecosystem and New Zealanders' health. Also, it aims to undertake research into issues which relate to the
gmo_2.jpg
Logo of the Sustainabilty Council NZ
sustainability if NZ's environment and resources. Based on their purpose and the aim, the council has concluded and demanded NZ to remain GM free. They know that the consequences of GM contamination are harmful and so don't want negatively affect the country and it's citizens. (4)

3) "We believe: GMOs should not be released into the environment as there is not adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health.We advocate immediate interim measures such as labelling of GE ingredients, and the segregation of genetically engineered crops and seeds from conventional ones." This statement is what is believed by the Greenpeace organisation. Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment. Since the group is aware of the toxic chemicals present in genetically modified foodstuffs, they know that introducing the genetically modified organisms to the environment can have unknown and unwanted effects on the environment. Also, these toxic chemicals can pose risk to human health. They advocate that genetically modified crops should be segregated from the natural ones so that people know what they're consuming. So as an organisation working towards the safety and conservation of the environment, Greenpeace (as a whole group) believes that genetic modification of food isn't good. (5)


5. What are your individual opinions on the issue? (each group member comments about this)
Pallavi-
Firstly I'd like to state that Genetic Modification of Food is an entirely new topic for me. I hadn't thought about this before, especially as a global issue. However, now when I'm sort of familiar with the topic, I think that GMF is to be considered an issue, and an important one. Getting to know about the effects of genetic modification of foods such as death of 37 people due to consumption of genetically modified food is quite serious. Furthermore, long-term practice of genetic engineering can actually result in oil deficiency around the world. This is due to the fact that genetic engineering requires oil for functioning. All this comes down to one conclusion- Genetic Modification of Food should be banned. But on the other hand, one would say that it shouldn't! This is due to the fact that genetic modification makes crops such as wheat, maize, potatoes etc. more resistant to the climatic conditions. So there'll be less loss of the produce for farmers, and so more produce will result in everyone getting enough food to eat. This can be a solution to world hunger. Furthermore, genetic modification allows us to improve not only the flavour, texture and shelf-life of food but also its nutritional value. We could boost the vitamin content of fruits and vegetables and incorporate anti-cancer substances. So, on the whole, my opinion upon gmf is that it's harmful and should be stopped. I believe that if by altering the genetic structure of a food material, the amount of produce can be increased and world hunger can be solved, there's no use of actually consuming that surplus food because at the end it's going to affect people's health resulting in either allergies or diseases or even deaths. Also, there's no use of having so much when there aren't many consumers, due to the fact that people might lose their lives because of the toxic chemicals.

6. What are some of the solutions to solve this global issue?
Some of the solutions to solve this global issue are-
1) Protest. People can protest against the companies or supermarkets selling GM foods. This can be done by not buying genetically modified food products like a boycott. Hunger strike can also help.
2) Petitions. Petitions can be presented to the person/ councils in charge of controlling the food products coming to the country etc.
3) March or rally.
4) Getting media attention and promoting the cause.
5) Approach the Prime Minister of the country and explaining the effects of GM.
6) Have a non-violent protest such as by giving out posters, pamphlets and holding campaigns or public meetings. This will enable local people to express their views which will help put pressure on the authorities or companies in charge of the problem.
7) Scientists should undertake more research and find better ways of modifying the genes so that the chemicals used aren't toxic.
8) The farmers using genetically modified seeds can stop using them and adapt the same, old way of planting natural, unmodified seeds.
(Pallavi)

7. Who should carry out the solution(s)?
Primarily it's the scientists who have developed the problem. Along with them, are the people supporting the usage of gmf. The farmers who are using genetically modified seeds for their crops are a part of the problem spreaders as well. Also, the ones selling gmf are sort of dispersing the issue. So I consider that they are the ones who should find the solution to the problem as well. If the supporters deny changing their ways, then the public i.e the consumers will have to take action. Public can take responsibility of majority of the solutions listed above. Besides them, national or international organisations such as Greenpeace, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO) and International Institution for Environment and Development(IIED) and many more will have to take active action before both the future of the environment and human health is in danger.
(Pallavi)

8. Imagine your group is in charge of deciding what the world should do about the issue. Brainstorm the ways that you would solve your global issue. Justify your choice. (You will need to work together on this)
All the steps we'll take will aim at educating people both the positives and negatives of genetic modification of food. However it will make them realise that the negatives outweigh the positives. Here are the ways we would undertake to solve the problem of genetic modification of food around the world.
1) We would approach international news channels like BBC and spread the effects of gmf. Having protests worldwide- in countries where gmf are produced would also spread the word. Alternate protests will definitely catch media attention (news or radio broadcasts). Advertisments illustrating the same cause of gmf i.e. effects on environment and health will boost the spread as people tend to copy and believe what's in the ads.

2) Organising campaigns internationally such as having meetings where local people will be educated about genetic modification and providing speaking opportunities for important people (like researchers from FAO or Greenpeace) who support banning of gmf may help as well. Also the impact of the researchers speaking will be more effective as people see researchers as people who can 'find the truth'.

3) A more bigger step would be going to the international organisations in charge of the food policies etc. and asking them for help. For example requesting the 'check-up' of all genetically modified foodstuffs so that no toxic chemcals are present. Also passing a bill or an act according to which particular gmf that contains harmful substances will be banned would be a good step.

References


(1) (2) http://www.psrast.org/newsheadin.htm
(3) http://www.connectotel.com/gmfood/sd141005.txt
(4) (sustainability NZ -logo picture) http://www.sustainabilitynz.org/default.asp
(5) http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/genetic-engineering
http://www.masternewmedia.org/images/modded.jpg (apple picture)

Cool Links-
Know how plants are genetically modidfied - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/03/sci_nat_how_a_plant_is_genetically_modified/html/1.stm