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In Context #6 (Fall, 2001, pp. 5-6); copyright 2001 by The Nature Institute

The Great Green Hype
Craig Holdrege

In August, a public radio station in Urbana, Illinois, asked me for an interview after a staff person had read Steve's and my article on genetic engineering and agriculture in Sierra. The station had previously interviewed a proponent of genetic engineering and now they wanted to hear the other side. It was a call-in show and became especially engaged when an Illinois farmer called in who felt that anti-biotech activists (among whom he counted me) were out to ruin farmers. He said, in effect, "Tell me what to do. I grow a thousand acres of soybeans and plant Roundup Ready soybeans [genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant soybeans sold by Monsanto, which also produces the herbicide "Roundup"]. I can't grow a thousand acres of soybeans without herbicide; that wouldn't work. But I use less herbicide than I have previously, which is good for the environment. And I save money. What's wrong with that? I'm demonized for doing this by you activists. You tell me what to do."

I couldn't help sympathizing with the farmer. He was ge