Green Revolution and GMOs

Emily Thompson

Causes and Results of Bengal Famine

The Bengal famine was the worlds worst food disaster ever recorded. It began in 1943 in Brtitish-ruled India because of a short fall of food production when the hysteria of WWII made food supply a low priority for the British government. Indian traders hoarded food to sell it at high prices making it almost impossible to buy food if you were not wealthy. As a result about four million people died of hunger.

Three basic elements in the green revolution in India

There were three basic elements in the green revolution, the first was the continued expansion of farming areas so they can plant more crops. The second element was double-cropping the existing farmlands in order to cut the time of crop production in half. The third element was using genetically modified seeds so they produce a larger amount of bigger crops.

Positive results of the green revolution in india

  1. Record grain output of 131 million tons (made India one of the world biggest agricultural producers)
  2. Yield per unit of land improved by more than 30% between 1947 and 1979

Positive economic sociologic or politicl results of the green revolution in india

A positive economic result of the green revolution was that India paid back all its loans from the world bank and its associates that were used for beginning the green revolution. Also India's creditworthiness improved in the lending agencies eyes. A Sociological result was that it opened many jobs for agricultural workers and industrial workers due to the creation of factories and hydro-electric power stations. Lastly a political result was that India went from a starving nation to a food exporter. This brought India admiration in the comity of nations and in then Third World.

Limitations of Green Revolution in India

Some limitations of the Green Revolution in India are number one, India did not spread the concept of genetically modified seeds to all crops or regions. India remained greatly restricted to grains only, not all kinds of agricultural produce. Only two states in regional terms, Punjab and Haryana, showed great results from the Green Revolution. Also the eastern plains of the River Ganges in West Bengal showed good results but the overall results were less impressive. Secondly Even today India's agricultural output does not always meet the demand. The Green Revolution was impressive however impressive did not succeeded in making India totally self-sufficient for food. Also in 1979 and in 1987, there were severe drought conditions because of minimal monsoons and in 1998 they had to import onions. Recently India imported suga but in today's economy 100 per cent self-sufficiency is not considered as important as it was when the green revolution began.

Human Health Risks from gmos

Although he genetically modified organisms are approved by the government, they can have harmful effects on us like the development of new food allergies, increased toxicity, decreased nutrition, and antibiotic resistance. 5% of children and 2% of adults are effected by food allergies Although GM foods have not yet caused a new allergen, scientist believe it is possible due to a protein in a GM food that comes from a source know to cause allergies in humans or a source that has never been consumed as human food. They are concerned that the protein could bring out an immune response in humans increases. Many plants produce toxic substances but most of these toxins are such low levels that they don't harm humans. Scientists are worried that inserting an alien gene into a plant could make it produce higher level toxins that can be dangerous to humans. GMOs can also have lower nutritional values. For example, phytate is a compound common in seeds and grains that binds with minerals and makes them unavailable to humans. When an gene is inserted it could cause a plant to produce higher levels of phytate, therefore decreasing the mineral nutritional value of the plant. in the past health professionals have had a growing concern about the development of antibacterial resistance. Bacteria develop resistance by making the resistance genes through mutation. It is still not clear what risks this presents because no one has ever used new DNA from the digestive system under controlled conditions. The two types of antibiotic resistance genes used by biotechnologists already exist in natural bacteria so the process would not introduce new antibiotic resistance to bacteria.

Environmental impact

A GMO is an organism whose DNA has been altered in a non-natural way. The toxicity is a huge issue in chemical pesticides and herbicides which are commonly used with GMOs. Also GMOs are toxic to the non-target organisms, bees and butterflies being the most talked-about examples currently. Bees are so important to the world. Almost all of our food crops are pollinated by bees, but these bees are endangered by our modern agricultural techniques, like genetically modified crops. Monarch butterflies are also at risk from GMO corn plants. So are birds who work as biological control agents and pollinators, again, like bees. Although the targeted pests will adapt to this poisen, the non-targeted organisms will not and the toxicity of the GMOs will remain the same. These only some of the effects of GMOs, which just goes to show how dangerous and toxic they are to our environment.
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