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GMO Pros and Cons: Europe vs the US

Okay, we all kind of suspect that the oil business is a dirty business, and that lobbyists and wealthy corporations probably have their fingers in a lot of pies, holding up the progress in finding alternatives to conventional cars and fuels as a result. But could you imagine the same kind of tactics going on in the rice businessThe Ethicurian's guest blogger, Greg Massa, reports on the upside and downside to the world of California rice farmers (being hailed as a champion of anti-GMO activism in Germany versus a friend finding his tires slashed and dead animals on his doorstep).

I do think the differences between US and European attitudes about the environment is an interesting subject. Maybe Europeans are more conscious of the effects of their behaviors because they don't have this sense of more natural areas left to spoil, more places to throw things "away" like we seem to in the US. If anyone has any links or opinions about the subject, please share them.

Read his entire post here.

The New York TImes reported on the same issue today,

European Union governments delivered a blow Monday to the biotechnology industry, allowing Austria and Hungary to maintain national bans on growing genetically modified crops from Monsanto.

The vote, taken by European environment ministers, could irritate Washington, which has complained to the World Trade Organization about obstacles to planting bioengineered crops.

What's behind this disparity between European and US attitudes towards GMO farming? Rice farmer Greg Massa has an idea:

German consumers on the other hand, resoundingly reject GMO-tainted food, and there has actually been some research done on the difference between German and American acceptance of biotech foods. It appears that we Americans place more trust in our private and public institutions than do Germans, and we have a lower appreciation for nature. Both of these topics are predictors for acceptance of GM food.

Do Americans really have a lower appreciation for nature? A recent Newsweek article would beg to differ: Greenest Nation A laggard no longer, America could soon out-innovate Europe and Japan. Probably more important than deciding who is greener is for both regions to cooperate in their efforts to become more globally responsible. In a letter to the new US President, EU Environmental Commissioner Stavros Dimas wrote:

We will only be successful if others are encouraged to follow the low carbon route and it is clear that no global solution will be possible without the full and active support of the US.

Tags: Eu, Europe, Farming, Gmo, Monsanto, Organic food

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