Tag Archives: technology

Role of Modern Biotechnology in Sustainable Development; Addressing Social-Political Dispute of GMOs that Influences Decision-Making in Developing countries

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) technology has been widely used in agriculture in the last years in several regions, and has diverse potentials in addressing the challenges of sustainable development such as pest and diseases, drought, malnutrition and food insecurity, in developing countries. However, controversies surrounding the possible risks of GM technology have also spread on public concern. Despite potential risks, no reported case has been documented regarding negative impact from GMOs in the country since 1996 when GM crops were first commercialized (James, 2014). This is consistent with a recent study based on 15 years of intense research and risk assessment, that GM crops do not pose greater risks for human health or the environment than traditionally bred varieties (Fagerstrom et al., 2012). Moreover, analyses have shown substantial socio-economic and environmental
benefits of GM crops (Brookes and Barfoot, 2012; James, 2014).

GM technology has yet to make any visible impact on food security almost two decades after the first GMO products were released, partly due to lack of consensus as to how to regulate GMO products and controversy surrounding the adoption of GMOs (Adenle et al., 2013). For example, the genetically modified rice called ‘Golden’ rice, developed 20 years ago, aimed to address the problem of vitamin A deficiency in developing countries including countries in Africa, has suffered another huge setback due to a recent destruction of rice field trials in the Philippines as vandals claimed that the GMOs represent a threat to health and biodiversity.

Social-political dispute between developed nations (e.g., the US and Europe) has influenced the regulation and decision-making on GMO issues in many developing countries. This dispute has spilled over to international regulation of GMOs, with the US aligning its GMO policy with the World Trade Organization (WTO) whilst the EU strictly applies precautionary principle of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (Dibden et al., 2013).

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Environmental Solutions via Buoyant Flake Fertilization

An opportunity exists to combine three sustainable or waste materials, and to deploy the resulting product in such a way that it: increases sustainable fish stocks; reduces surface ocean acidity; sequesters carbon; and cools the globe profitably, effectively, quickly, and by means closely matching how Nature has done this safely for millennia.

Sustainable Development can come from solutions that replace fossil fuel consumption with sustainable resources, or from solutions that address environmental threats. Some solutions do both. One such prospective solution combines natural and waste materials to form ultra-slow release, buoyant flakes that provide the essential nutrients necessary to make the nutrient deficient half of ocean surface waters productive. In food production terms, this is nearly the equivalent of having another Earth, such is the productivity of nutrient-rich waters. At the same time, the flakes deliver four other key benefits: the dark blue of the less-productive high seas is replaced with the milky-green hue of productive seas, thereby cooling the world by reflecting more solar energy back into space; chemicals released by the additional microscopic phytoplankton contribute to marine cloud brightening, thereby also increasing global albedo (reflectiveness) fairly
evenly and hence reducing diverse regional effects; the additional photosynthetic phytoplankton offset ocean acidification by converting the carbon dioxide dissolved in the ocean surface waters (carbonic acid) into neutral biomass and oxygen; and part of this biomass sequesters carbon in the cold ocean depths and sediments when it sinks, leaving the surface waters able to take up more atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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