Doctor Norman Ernest Boria once said, “You can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery.” World hunger is a pandemic that many people struggle with. According to the World Hunger Education, “about 795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2014-2016.” Those numbers have significantly increased in 2017. World hunger is a problem that we can solve. There are technologies that can be used to create drought resistant crops that could theoretically be grown almost anywhere. These crops could effectively end world hunger. However, corporate greed and political bureaucracy would have to be eliminated for it to work.
This article was written in response to a question from a college professor. He asked, “What social problem would you solve through the use of technology if you knew how?” The answer to this question is hunger. Many people go hungry due to factors such as location, poverty, or political instability. But, technology could be used to see world hunger come to an end. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMO’s, are crops that were bred to grow successfully. In fact, many GMO products are already in use. According to writer Marc Brazeau, “The most striking example of the radical impact of human intervention on wild plants is the brassica family.” This family of seed is commonly referred to as mustard seeds. Marc continues by stating, “Starting in the wild as mustard, it has been bred into cabbages, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, cauliflower, rapeseed (canola).” Adding or changing a portion of the crops gnome creates GMO’s. These changes are done specifically to combat issues such as pests, expensive farming practices, and harsh farming conditions. These changes have created crops that have many benefits.
GMO’s have two main benefits. First, they can grow in many locations that were previously considered impossible. Mechanical engineer and columnist Eric Stubben, stated, “enhanced traits include extreme weather resistance or added herbicide resistance.” With the proper understanding of a location’s environmental situation coupled with the knowledge of crops’ genetic makeup, a group of people could create crops in unlikely locations. For example, Eric stated, “ Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) produced a variety of corn that used genetic material from common soil in the corn’s genetic material. As a result, the corn produced 25 percent more in output than before in the same region, even through a moderate drought.” Secondly, GMO crops can be engineered to provide increased nutritional benefits. Scientist worked with the government of the Philippines to create a grain of rice that could combat vitamin A deficiency, the leading cause for poor eyesight. According to author Bruce Alberts, “It took 25 years to develop and test varieties that express sufficient quantities of the precursor that a few ounces of cooked rice can provide enough β-carotene to eliminate the morbidity and mortality of vitamin A deficiency.” With all the benefits of GMO crops, it is strange that they have not already been used on a global scale.
GMO’s are being hindered by fear of corporate greed and political rhetoric. Many anti GMO groups argue that these crops will create a monopoly on the world’s food supply, if provided to nations freely with altruistic intentions these crops could save many lives. Children would not have to suffer from hunger pains and parents would not have to see their children die. Also, those against the use of GMO’s are often part of established governments. For example, according to the Genetic Literacy Project, “Russia is the most populous country to ban both the cultivation and importation of GMO crops.” This ban was more due to political power than concern for the Russian people. America is one of the leading exporters of GMO products. Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvdev stated, “to date, worldwide sales of GM seeds come to $50 million and the owner of the rights to the majority of those seeds is the United States.” These two hindrances have caused GMO’s to not be used to their full potential.
GMO’s could put an end to so many people starving daily. This technology, if used correctly and unselfishly could eliminate world hunger and give millions a chance to live. These people could go on to live productive lives free from starvation and grow as individuals. If I possessed the knowledge and means to address any world issue it is the one that hinders a peaceful world, it is hunger.