Environmental activist Mark Lynas generated substantial buzz this week by boldly explaining his conversion from staunch opponent of genetically modified crops to firm supporter of the technology’s safety and importance for global food security. Below, we’ve compiled some media highlights from those who weighed in on Lynas’ remarks:
"…he has displayed an encouraging — and still rare — capacity to shed dogma in favor of data."
— Andrew Revkin, "New Shade of Green: Stark Shift for Onetime Foe of Genetic Engineering in Crops"
"Another note that Lynas struck in his confessionary speech echoes a frequent refrain of the climate debate. He knows that people will wonder what led him to switch his position on GM crops. ‘Well, the answer is fairly simple,’ he says. ‘I discovered science.’ "
— Keith Kloor, "Greens on the Run in Debate over Genetically Modified Food"
"Mr. Lynas makes the point that greens are happy to accept scientific findings when it comes to climate change, but dismiss them as biased when they attribute benefits to GM."
— "Poacher Turned Gamekeeper"
"Lynas has written widely, and thoughtfully, about climate change, and he came to realize that he would need to rely on science to bolster his positions in a world filled with skeptics. As it turns out, it’s hard to limit a firm belief in science to one discipline. So he began to look at the science of agriculture, too. What he found changed his position and his life; and if a sufficient number of environmentalists listen to him, it may help change the lives of millions of others."
— Michael Specter, "An Environmentalist’s Conversion"
"At his core, Lynas remains a staunch environmentalist and someone deeply concerned about global warming. What’s interesting and notable about him is that he has unflinchingly reassessed his stances on biotechnology and nuclear power, two of the biggest environmental issues of the day. After digging deeply into what science says about the safety of GMOs and nuclear power, Lynas says he now finds both technologies essential to the planet’s sustainability."
— Keith Kloor, "The Anti-Science Tent"
"What Mark Lynas realized is that it is just as detrimental to the future of humanity to ignore the scientific consensus on crop biotechnology as it is to ignore the scientific consensus on climate change. The fact that there are groups successfully blocking rational action on both these fronts presents a synergistically dire threat to efforts to feed humanity."
— Steve Savage, "Counting the Cost of the Anti-GMO Movement"
"One of the most outspoken critics of the GMO movement in both the UK and around the world now believes genetically modified food is safe… ‘You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food,’ he said."
— Tamar Aubur, "‘Death by asteroid more likely than death by GMO food’ says former activist"