Eco-friendly, Environmental Hazards, Environmentalist, FDA, Green, Health, Nature, Science

A Tale of GMOs, by Nathanael Johnson

GMO controversy
To GMO or not to GMO? That’s the question for many people around the country.
Image: Shutterstock

If you’re looking for an honest look into the issue of GMOs, consider taking a look at Nathanael Johnson’s 26-part series, “Panic-Free GMOs.” A writer for The Grist, Johnson takes what appears to be an honest journey through the controversial topic of GMOs.

“It’s easy to get information about genetically modified food,” reads the series’ introduction. “There are the dubious anti-GM horror stories that recirculate through social networks. On the other side, there’s the dismissive sighing, eye-rolling, and hand patting of pro-GM partisans. But if you just want a level-headed assessment of the evidence in plain English, that’s in pretty short supply.”

According to NPR, Johnson was hired by Grist last year as a food writer for the publication, whose readers have garnered a reputation for being adamantly opposed to the use of GMOs.

“I was born into the cult of organic,” Johnson said in one column. He was no stranger to the idea of GMOs as a horrible thing, but he also wanted to take a levelheaded approach—one not affected by emotion or bias. So, he took a risk and didn’t take a stance one way or another; instead, he challenged both sides’ beliefs.

Doing so incited many readers, who were frustrated that Johnson wasn’t being what they saw as a “reliable” source. Trying to find a balance between the two, very passionate, sides of the GMO argument has proven difficult, and Johnson didn’t expect the reactions he got.

“I was unprepared for the ugliness,” he said, referring to the many personal attacks he was confronted with. “I’d never felt anything like that before.”

Whether you’re pro- or anti- GMO—or somewhere in between—Johnson’s pieces are certainly worth a read, if for no other reason than they offer an alternative perspective that’s often hard to find amid the two major opposing opinions.

What do you think about the GMO debate and of Johnson’s miniseries?


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