Our Civic Series event on GMOs: A personal reflection by Laur

Laur Hesse Fisher • February 28, 2016 • Boston, Event Summary

Left to right, photos courtesy of Laur Fisher, Blake Anneberg and Alice Richardson.

For Thursday’s event, we could have brought in someone to speak about the science of GMOs, and pitted the pro- and con- sides against one another.

Instead, we invited Prof. Parke Wilde, a food policy expert. He encouraged attendees — GMO supporters and skeptics alike — to dive into a deeper level of thought as to why we held the views we did about GMOs, and the implications our answers would have on national and international policy and regulation.

Within the first ten minutes, I started seeing my own inconsistencies: I had entered the session worried about GMOs, but relatively unconcerned about food-borne illnesses, which are linked to a far many more deaths. (In fact, no deaths have been linked to the consumption of GMOs.) Already, my thinking was expanding.

Prof. Wilde then presented the reasons why we may be for or against GMOs, and helped us explore which issues were most important to us. I discovered that my biggest concern with GMOs was the poor business practices used by some of the corporate seed distributers. Before the event, I had associated that concern with the practice of gene manipulation generally, and so felt hesitant about the widespread use of GMOs in developing countries. I’m now clear that what matters most to me is ensuring that corporations selling this emerging technology are adhering to ethical business practices.

Want to find out for yourself? Watch the video recording, made possible by volunteer Blake Anneberg. (Thanks Blake!!)

A shout out to the sponsor of our first ever post-event mixer, Roundtown, and the generous attendees who donated when they registered. Because of you, we are able to send a small thank you gift to our speakers, as well as fund the Civic Series expanding to other cities, like Burlington, Vermont. (More details coming soon!)


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