Date: Sunday, January 31, 2016
Participants (from 11 countries):
USA: Rick | Tunisia: Amin | Bangladesh: Mohiuddin, JA, Ash | Mongolia: Ganaa | Sudan: Seif | Philippines: Lala | Indonesia: Tibi, Mikhael | Argentina: Johny | Iran: Taregh, Melika | India: Haary, Ranjith | France: Djamila
Panel PRO (Team A): Amine, Mohiuddin.
Panel CON (Team B): Ganaa, JA.
Audience (Team C): Seif, Lala, Tibi, Johny, Taregh, Melika, Haary, Mikhael, Ash, Ranjith, Djamila.
Team A summary:
- People need to modify crops so these food sources can grow/endure in non-arable environments, and provide food sources to the countries which need these crops.
- It can contribute to solve the problem of worldwide starvation: modifying genetically some food to last longer, resist harsher climates and endure the hardship of exportation to long distance markets. It can help in solving the starvation problem since these foods without treatment or modification cannot remain fresh or edible for a long period of time after harvesting them.
- Everyone at the supermarket choose the bigger fruits, with better color and good appearance. These fruits are intentionally grown this way due to the market demand, over less "attractive" naturally grown ones.
- Many fruits and plants are being genetically modified in order to survive the insecticides and pesticides which are being spread over them on the crop fields.
- Many vegetables and other foods are being modified genetically to be easier assimilated by the human body and also to contribute and react to the human body in such a way that can strengthen the human immune system.
Team B summary:
- The chemicals being used for genetically modified foods can cause health problems in people.
- The financial cost of growing and providing genetically modified food, including the scientific research, can be used for other higher priorities in some countries.
- Genetically modified products are too cheap.
- There has not been enough research and there is insufficient data to understand the potential long term hazards to human health.
Amin’s question: “If we only rely on natural crops, how will we satisfy the food demand worldwide?”
Ganaa’s answer: modifying genetically the food is not the solution. We need to prefer natural products and spend the money in other areas. Quality over quantity.
Amin’s rebuttal: If we don’t modify them, when we go to the market we will find fewer products and perhaps only products that are not going to last long in our tables and refrigerators. Besides, in order to have good quality and healthier products, we need to modify them genetically because they naturally host viruses and bacteria which can be deadly for our health.
Ganaa’s question: “Which is more important: quality or quantity?”
Mohiuddins’s answer: it is proportionally opposite. When there is a lack of quality we need quantity and vice versa. Moreover, if we talk about quality, the GM crops are the ones who have more quality since they are modified to endure bacteria, viruses, help the human body assimilate more nutrients, last longer and have better taste.
Ganaa’s rebuttal: Scientists don’t know what they do. Organic foods are healthier.
Team C summary:
- If we modify crops, we could have products which can last longer on the supermarkets shelves and endure the trip of exportation.
- It is true that some crops are being successfully genetically modified to be less susceptible to the attacks of insects which carry diseases.
- Genetically modified crops by itself will not solve the world’s hunger. Some countries cannot produce enough food and it is not because they don’t have foods modified genetically, it’s because they either have economic problems that prevent them from being able to import goods or they lack the fertile lands to grow large crops to satisfy the country's demand. Or simply because their climate do not allow them to grow certain types of crops. Either way, there are other reasons that prevent a country from growing and maintaining the food demand of its people.
- Even with the negative side of it, the benefits outweigh the bad sides of it.
- The way companies make fortunes with modified foods seems to appear that they do it only to get more money. Like if it was just another marketing strategy.
- Johny voted for team A.
- Taregh voted for team A.
- Melika voted for team A.
- Ash voted for team A.
- Ranjith voted for team A.
- Tibi voted for team A.
- Lala voted for team A.
- Seif voted for team A.
- Djamila voted for team B.
- Mikhael voted for team B.
Team A won this debate. Thanks everyone for participating (and for being so patient). Below are the links to listen to this discussion.