Greenpeace Golden Rice stance baffling

The introductory paragraphs of an op-ed by Patrick Moore, the former head of Greenpeace:

It was 43 years ago when I boarded an old fishing boat named the Phyllis Cormack in Vancouver on the first Greenpeace campaign to stop nuclear testing in Alaska. 

I never dreamed that 43 years later, Greenpeace would be arriving in Vancouver on a $32 million ship, and that this time I would be going down to protest against them.

I’m still proud of the work Green-peace did during the 15 years I was in the leadership. I left because it had drifted from a humanitarian effort to save civilization from all-out nuclear war to an organization that sees humans as the enemies of the Earth. How else could it justify its opposition to Golden Rice?

Two humanitarian scientists, Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer, used their knowledge of genetics to create Golden Rice, a variety of rice that contains beta carotene, the essential nutrient that we make into vitamin A. 

They were aware that two million people, mostly young children, die each year from vitamin A deficiency. Most of them live in urban slums in Asia and Africa and eat little more than a cup of rice each day. 

Conventional rice contains no beta carotene, resulting in 250 million preschool children who have chronic vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is necessary for eyesight and the immune system. As many as 500,000 children go blind each year, half of whom die within a year of becoming blind, according to the World Health Organization.

Greenpeace has made a concerted effort to block Golden Rice’s introduction since it was announced in 2000. 

The organization has waged a campaign of misinformation, trashed the scientists who are working to bring Golden Rice to the people who need it and supported the violent destruction of Golden Rice field trials at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

How does Greenpeace justify this heartless behavior? 


The likely answer to Moore’s question is “Because we can raise more money by opposing than supporting GMO”. The Greenpeace advocacy will reverse when the leadership calculates there is more Greenpeace $$ and growth by supporting GMO (and nuclear, etc.)

1 thought on “Greenpeace Golden Rice stance baffling

  1. It seems to me that the priorities of Greenpeace need to be changed.

    It looks as though Greenpeace is more motivated by doctrine than by practicality. Although I can understand why people would be uneasy with GM foods, opposing the cultivation of golden rice is obviously very wrong considering that it can prevent millions of deaths and greatly enhance health. Thus, in the absence of any evidence showing it to be harmful, its use should not be prevented.

    Sticking to a doctrine no matter what makes no sense and in the case at hand, it is immoral. Human health and life are more important than doctrinal consistency, a principal which Greenpeace and many people fail to understand. Here is a famous quotation by Emerson:

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

    Unless Greenpeace changes its position on golden rice, and on a number of other matters as well, it will lose public support and be impaired in its ability to do anything beneficial which would be unfortunate.

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