GMO stands for “genetically modified organism”, it is any naturally occurring living thing that we remove from our environment and manipulate the genetic makeup of. Generally GMOs are intended to increase shelf life, resistance to herbicides or more tolerant of weather (such as frost or drought) in the foods that we buy in stores. A lot of the produce in Canada and the US is genetically modified in some way, how every in many other developed countries such as Japan or the European Union, these types of foods are banned. GMOs are controversial due to the fact that they cause unnatural mutations in the natural environment, economic imbalances and changes in the human body.
These mutated organisms are altering natural ecosystems by creating organisms that are able to withstand mass amounts of toxic pesticides. The fact that these organisms can withstand the increased use of pesticides allows farmers to yield more crops, giving them the ability to generate more profits. This means that there is more produce available for purchase, produced within the same space and time frame as non-GMOs. This is especially beneficial in developing countries where resources for growing crops are scarce, GMOs empower farmers to create more resilient crops. However, the higher use of toxic chemicals to control weed and insect populations is also causing these organisms to mutate into “superbugs” or “superweeds” which have formed on account of the drastic increase in unnatural chemicals to control the consumers and competitors of the crops. These superbugs and superweeds now require even more toxins to be killed, causing a never-ending cycle of crops with high resistance, providing their competitors with the ability to adapt to have a high tolerance.
Contrarily, these organisms can be modified to resist competition, viruses and other threats causing them to help eradicate destructive diseases and control harmful populations.