When Rice is Worth Gold: Legalization of Golden Rice in the Fight against Poverty

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Golden Rice was declared safe for consumption by Canada recently. This has huge implications for the rest of the world, where Golden Rice can be vital resource in tackling vitamin A deficiency and malnutrition.

Genetically modified (GM) crops are engineered to display traits that are otherwise absent or subdued in natural crops. For example, gene modification results in crops that are highly resistant to diseases and more accustomed to extreme weather conditions. Sometimes, these crops also contain increased nutritional value.

Golden Rice, also known as Provitamin A Biofortified Rice Event GR2E, has strikingly higher levels of Provitamin A than other commercially available rice varieties. The name may have been derived from its golden yellow color, but it is certainly more valuable to our food security than gold.

Being a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin A plays a key role in growth, reproduction, eyesight and immune system health. Vitamin A deficiency is more prevalent in developing countries, where it causes preventable childhood blindness and amplifies the risk of death from other common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea.

Golden Rice can certainly reduce the magnitude and frequency of Vitamin A deficiency as it acts as a Vitamin A supplement. The rice can thus act as a preventive element against the death and disease due to vitamin A deficiency in developing countries.

However, GM crops such as Golden Rice face constant opposition from anti-GM crusaders who accuse these crops of being dangerous to human health.

The claims of anti-GM groups are false and baseless. Particularly, their accusations on Golden Rice lack scientific credibility, besides acting as a major hurdle in the fight against malnutrition and global food insecurity.

On March 16, Health Canada—the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health—approved the genetically engineered Golden Rice as safe for human consumption.

It was a pleasant coincidence that Golden Rice was approved just a week before the birthday of Norman Borlaug—the man who revolutionized the use of GM crops, eventually helping billions of people afford a daily meal and sustaining billions of lives to this day.

This approval comes after a robust scientific assessment done by scientists with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry, and nutrition.

The assessment complied with scientific principles approved internationally by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the regulatory bodies in the United States, the European Union, Australia, and Japan.

The assessment results showed that Golden Rice had the same nutritional property as other commercially available rice varieties, except for the increased provitamin A levels. Further, it displayed no new risk to human health and has no potential to create or amplify allergies.

Unlike Health Canada’s robust scientific assessment, the claims of anti-GM advocacy groups fall short of credibility, as they have been in the past.

The approval of Golden Rice by Health Canada is a lethal blow to one of the many myths that are propagated by anti-GM activists. Developing countries should seize the momentum by declaring Golden Rice safe for consumption in their respective countries.

This article was originally published on Townhall.com.

 

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Gallup: Left Became More Militant About Global Warming Under Trump

From Gallup News: Global Warming Concern Steady Despite Some Partisan Shifts
by Megan Brenan and Lydia Saad

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Partisan gaps across global-warming measures slightly wider than in 2017
Democrats view global warming seriously; Republicans view it skeptically
69% of Republicans, 4% Democrats say global warming is exaggerated
This story is part of a special series on Americans’ views of the environment, global warming and energy.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ concerns about global warming are not much different from the record-high levels they were at a year ago. However, the views of some partisans have shifted, creating larger gaps than what Gallup saw last year across all questions about global warming.

Gallup’s annual survey about the environment, conducted March 1-8, found that Americans’ opinions about global warming, like many other issues, have increasingly become politically polarized.

In general, Democrats view global warming seriously, while Republicans view it skeptically:

Ninety-one percent of Democrats and 33% of Republicans say they worry a great deal or fair amount about global warming, but 67% of Republicans worry only a little or not at all.

While 82% of Democrats think global warming has already begun to happen, only 34% of Republicans agree. Rather, 57% of Republicans think it will not happen in their lifetime (25%) or will “never happen” (32%).

About seven in 10 Republicans (69%) think the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated in the news, 15% think it is generally correct and 15% say it is generally underestimated. Democrats, however, are much more likely to think the seriousness of global warming is underestimated (64%) or correct (32%), and just 4% say it is exaggerated.

Eighty-six percent of Democrats versus 42% of Republicans think most scientists believe global warming is occurring. The percentage of Republicans who say most scientists believe this is down 11 percentage points since last year.

Almost nine in 10 Democrats say increases in the Earth’s temperature over the last century are due to human activities more than natural changes in the environment. Just 35% of Republicans agree, while 63% attribute the temperature increases to natural environmental causes.

Four in five Republicans do not think global warming will pose a serious threat to them in their lifetime; two-thirds of Democrats think it will.

Full report here

Mike Bastasch at The Daily Caller observes:

“With Trump reversing many of his predecessors’ policies aimed at curbing global warming, Democrats are feeling a greater sense of urgency about the issue, while Republicans have either remained as skeptical as they had been in the past or have become more so,” reads Gallup’s poll analysis.

For example, the percentage of Republicans and Independents who believe global warming is caused by human activities fell 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively, from 2017 to 2018. Democrats, on the other hand, increasingly saw global warming as man-made.gallup-globalwarming-2018-2

Tomorrow’s Grim, Global, Green Dictatorship

Tomorrow’s Grim, Global, Green Dictatorship The Carbon Sense Newsletter, April 2018.  To view or print the whole newsletter plus images click here.

Produced with the assistance of our volunteer editors. Please help to spread some climate sense.

Greens hate individual freedom and private property. They dream of a centralised unelected global government, financed by taxes on developed nations and controlled by all the tentacles of the UN. No longer is real pollution of our environment the main Green concern. The key slogan of the Green religion is “sustainable development”, with them defining what is sustainable.

Greens hate miners. They use nationalized parks, heritage areas, flora/fauna reserves, green bans, locked gates and land rights (for some) to close as much land as possible to explorers and miners – apparently resources should be locked away for some lucky distant future generation. And if some persistent explorer manages to prove a mineral deposit, greens will then strangle it in the approvals process using “death by delay”.

Greens hate farmers with their ploughs, fertilizers, crops and grazing animals. They want Aussie grazing land turned back to kangaroos and woody weeds. They plan to expel farmers and graziers from most land areas, with food produced in concentrated feedlots, factory farms, communal gardens and hydroponics.

Greens hate professional fishermen with their nets, lines and harpoons. Using the Great Barrier Reef as their poster-child, they plan to control the Coral Sea using marine parks, fishing quotas, bans and licenses, leaving us to get seafood from foreign seas and factory fish farms.

Greens hate foresters and grass-farmers. They want every tree protected, even woody weeds taking over ancient treeless grasslands. Red meat and forest timber are “unsustainable”. Apparently they want us to live in houses made of recycled cardboard and plastic and eating fake steak and protein powder made from methane generated from decomposing rubbish dumps.

Greens despise the suburbs with their SUV’s, lawns, pools, rose gardens, manicured parks, ponies and golf courses. They prefer concentrated accommodation with people stacked-and-packed in high-rise cubic apartments, with state-controlled kindies in the basement, and with ring-roads of electric trams and driverless cars connecting apartments, schools, offices and shops.

Greens hate reliable grid power from coal, nuclear, oil, gas or hydro generators. Their “sustainable” option is part-time power from wind and solar with the inevitable blackouts and shortages needing more rules and rationing.

Greens lead the war on fracking and pipelines. The victims are energy consumers. The beneficiaries are Russian gas and Middle-east oil.

Greens think it is “sustainable” to uglify scenic hills with whining wind towers, power poles, transmission lines and access roads, and to clutter pleasant estuaries and shallow seas with more bird-slicing turbines. They think it is “sustainable” to keep smothering sunny flatlands under solar panels and filling the suburbs with extra power lines and batteries of toxic metals. Greens think it is “sustainable” to clear forests for bio-mass to feed large wood-fired power stations, or for establishing biofuel plantations. They think it is “sustainable” to keep converting croplands from producing food for humans to producing ethanol for cars.

Greens hate free markets where prices are used to signal changing supply and demand. There is no room for fun, frills or luxuries in their “sustainable” world. They want to limit demand by imposing rationing on us wastrels – carbon ration cards, electricity rationing meters, water rationing, meat free days, diet cops and bans on fast foods and fizzy-drinks.

They also favor compulsory recycling of everything, no matter what that process costs in energy or resources. Surveillance cameras will keep watch on our “wasteful” habits. None of this vast green religious agenda is compatible with individual freedom, constitutional rights or private property – and none of it makes any economic or climate sense. To view or print the whole newsletter plus images click: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/green-dictatorship.pdf

The Despotic Green New World is coming. Climate alarm is the stalking horse, “sustainable development” is the war cry, and global government is the goal.

Further Reading: “Sustainable Development” is the UN code for total reorganization of human society:  https://newswithviews.com/the-code-for-reorganizing-human-society-is-sustainable-development/

Climate policies governed by groupthink: https://mailchi.mp/1a014f9b3e23/press-release-climate-groupthink-leads-to-a-dead-end-171361?e=e1638e04a2

The UN Plan Itself: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf

Easter Island myths and realities

The island’s demise was a human and Little Ice Age tragedy, not “ecological suicide”

Dennis Avery

In a recent New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof misleads us about the awful history of Easter Island (2,300 miles west of Chile), whose vegetation disappeared in the cold drought of the Little Ice Age. In doing so, he blinds modern society to the abrupt, icy climate challenge that lies in our own future.

Kristof repeats the archaeological myth that Easter Island’s natives committed “ecological suicide,” by cutting down all their palm trees. They supposedly used the logs as rollers to move their famous huge statues. Afterward, they could no longer build canoes to catch the fish that were their key protein source. Worse, he says, clearing the trees resulted in so much soil erosion that most of the population starved and/or killed each other in famine-driven desperation.

This myth disguises the impacts of the Little Ice Age on Easter, and ignores the inevitable reality that our coming generations could relatively soon face another icy age that will harshly test our technologies. The cold centuries may even make man-made global warming look positively attractive!

Easter Islanders never cut their palm trees at all! According to their cultural legends, when the Polynesians’ canoes reached Easter about 1000 AD, the island was covered in grasses. There were only a few palms. Modern pollen studies confirm this, showing that the island did have palm trees in the ancient past – but most died in the cold droughts of the Dark Ages (600–950 AD). The few surviving palms died during the Little Ice Age after the Polynesians colonized the island. The last palm died about 1650.

Kristof seems not to understand the killing power of the cold, chaotic, carbon dioxide-starved climate in those “little ice ages.”

The islanders wouldn’t have used palm logs for canoes in any case. The Polynesians knew palm logs are far too heavy. Canoes need to skim on top of the waves, even when carrying heavy loads. The Polynesians made their canoes out of sewn planks from the much-lighter toromiro trees, whose seedlings they’d brought with them from the Marquesas Islands to the west.

Soil erosion? The Easter Islanders didn’t need to clear trees from their land to grow their crops of taro, yams and sweet potatoes. They planted the tubers between the stumps of smaller trees cut for occasional house-building. The cut trees re-grew from their living stumps; their root systems remained alive and continued to protect the soil. In fact, the islanders’ agricultural techniques protected soil even more effectively than mainland farms did until the advent of modern no-till farming.

No fish to eat? A U.S. Navy lieutenant, who visited Easter in 1886, shortly after the Little Ice Age ended, reported that the natives ate huge amounts of seafood! Most of the fish were caught from small inshore canoes, with rockfish a favorite. The natives also speared dolphins in the shallows, after confusing the animals’ famed “sonar” by clapping rocks together. Crayfish and eels abounded in the shoreline’s rocky crevices, and flying fish flung themselves onto the beaches. Turtles and shellfish were plentiful.

Nor did the islanders kill each other off in hunger wars – although the sweet potato crops were scanty and population numbers dropped during those chilly Little Ice Age droughts.

What did happen to the Easter population? The truth is a sickening look at exploitation of some of the most vulnerable people on earth by some of the most powerful of the day. Peruvian slave-raiders took most of the men to Peru in the 1800s, to dig shiploads of seabird dung (guano) from offshore islands to fertilize Europe’s fields. Terrible conditions, overwork and European diseases killed most of the kidnapped slaves.

Peruvian citizens’ outrage over their mistreatment eventually forced the authorities to return the few who had survived. Unfortunately, the survivors carried smallpox back to Easter. Only a few natives lived through the ensuing epidemic. Later, well-meaning missionaries brought tuberculosis.

The final disaster was Peru’s leasing of the island’s grasslands to absentee landlords for sheep-grazing. The sheep destroyed the last of the toromiro trees, while the surviving natives were (unbelievably) penned behind barbed wire – until 1960 – when worldwide condemnation finally intervened.

Kristof, who may have gotten his Easter Island myths from Jared Diamond’s misguided book Collapse, demeans the sustainable traditions of the South Pacific’s Polynesian settlers. Their insightful tradition was not to use up a resource more rapidly than they could see it restoring itself.

Mother Nature, not the Polynesians, destroyed the trees. She did it over and over: in the Iron Age Cooling, during the cold Dark Ages and then again amid the Little Ice Age. Nor was Mother Nature being “careless.” She was responding to the age-old commands of the sun, the gravitational fields of the four biggest planets, and the other powerful natural forces that have always governed Earth’s climate.

Those same planetary patterns also govern our future, whether we like it or not. Another “icy age” will inevitably replace our current and relatively supportive climate warmth and stability. That probably (hopefully) won’t arrive for another several centuries. Our current warming period is only 150 years old; the shortest Dansgaard-Oeschger warm phase on record was the Medieval, which lasted 350 years.

The Easter Islanders were technologically capable enough (if barely) to sustain their society through Nature’s climate cycles. Elsewhere, nomads from the Black Sea region survived the Last Glacial Maximum (in temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit) by inventing mammoth-skin tents to survive the cold as they followed migrating mammoths. Those huge furry beasts were themselves forced to move frequently as the Ice Age turned the grass into less-nourishing tundra.

Our ancestors also made the most important discovery in all human history farming, only about 10,000 years ago. Farming finally allowed humans to become more than scattered hunting bands, carrying their babies and scant possessions on their backs. They could support larger populations, create languages, build temples, cities and trading ships, and launch industries that made copper, bronze and then iron.

Collective learning has now gotten us to the point where we create resources rather than just finding them. Think nitrogen fertilizer, which is taken from the air that’s 78% nitrogen, and then returned to the sky through natural processes. Think computer chips and fiber optic cables made from sand.

We are no longer doomed to thrive, only to collapse again. Our challenge today is not to retreat into a harsh and uncertain dependence on Mother Nature and her deadly “ice age” betrayals. Rather, we can and must prepare for the next “icy age” we know is coming – by continuing our collective learning, using a matured wisdom, and not turning our backs on the fossil fuel, nuclear and other reliable, affordable energy sources that have made our industries, health, innovations and living standards possible.

Mr. Kristof’s mythology would lead us back into ignorance, not forward.

Dennis Avery co-authored the New York Times best-seller Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years with astrophysicist Fred Singer. His forthcoming book is titledClimates of Collapse: the Deadly “Little Ice Ages.” This article is based on those carefully researched treatises.