In the 1990s, environmental activist Mark Lynas helped start the anti-GMO movement, fighting against genetically modified food crops. But now he's done a complete 180, telling the Oxford Farming Conference earlier this month that he was wrong to "demon[ize] an important technological option which can and should be used to benefit the environment." He now believes genetically modified foods can help us be more sustainable, and can help feed the world and increase health in developing countries. In a new interview, he tells NPR it was science that changed his mind.
"When I started off as an anti-GMO activist, it was very much an ideological position. I was scared of the new technology, you know, it just seemed to be messing with the basic building blocks of life," he explains. But as he studied climate change and the scientific method, he realized he was "actually being anti-science in the way I was talking about GMOs." He now believes we need "more biotech crops because they can potentially be an enormous boon environmentally," and specifically mentions controversial vitamin A-enhanced rice that could be used to save lives in South Asia—if only activists would allow it to be produced. Click for his full interview. (Read more Mark Lynas stories.)