GMO cannot both be the saviour and the cause of runaway population growth at the same time. If populations are increasing because crop yields have improved, but those populations are struggling to feed themselves, the answer cannot be more of the same – because that will simply create further people equally unable to feed themselves. We’ll just be watching as the goal posts retreat endlessly into the distance.
“So even with three billion more people, everyone still had more to eat thanks to a production increase of 300% in the same period.”
I’m not volunteering to starve to death. I don’t think anyone would – and that’s exactly the problem. In my view it’s morally much worse to allow unchecked population growth and risk them starving to death than it is to avoid their birth in the first place. It’s certainly mucky putting that in black & white, but I do stand by that.
The caveman image is a strawman. I’m not arguing that R&D should never have been undertaken in respect of agriculture. I am arguing for its responsible application such that (a) the focus on crop yield does not result in runaway and unsustainable population growth and (b) those people who are born as a result of that growth are not then left starving as a result of catastrophic crop failure.
It’s disingenuous to say that GMO is to thank for keeping people alive when it was GMO that led to the risky situation of them being around to potentially starve in the first place.
I hear what you’re saying, but there’s a degree of false equivalence going on here. Had the improvements in biotech you cite above not occurred, the population presumably would not have increased by 3 billion. This is a different sort of moral quandary to a situation where crop homogenisation makes it possible for a single virus strain to wipe out a year’s harvest (or more) because there’s no genetic variety.
What I’m saying is it’s not a simple matter of saying “look at all the good we’ve done” (3 billion more people are now alive and more or less being fed) without also acknowledging the risks this route has posed (widespread starvation).