The bio-tech industry is the one that propels the expansion of ‘the gmo phenomenon’ (section 1.1.7); as has been seen in the GMO section above, and to a lesser extent in the meat and fish industry section (1.2.6), there are serious ecological consequences for the widespread planting, chemical spraying, and cross contamination of GMOs. Such problems have all been explained and ‘evidenced’ with references in the relevant sub-sections; a list of bullet points summarising the problems will be offered here (references can be found in the relevant sub-section):

  • The pesticides used alongside a given gmo crop, typically glyphosate by Monsanto, is associated with high occurrences of a variety of adverse human conditions

  • ‘Bt’ (Bacillus thuringiensis) crops adversely affect “non-target” and “beneficial organisms that partly constitute what is commonly referred to as ‘the web of life’

  • GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm anbirds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms

  • GMOs reduce biodiversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable

  • Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses

  • GM canola has been found growing wild in various areas, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds

  • Massive monocrops are gm – for example, 94% corn and 88% soy in the US – and such massive crops go hand-in-hand with deforestation, loss of biodiversity, defilement of water sources, and loss of topsoil

The Union of Concerned Scientists1, USA, have the following summative comment to make regarding some of the ecological issues with gmos:

“GE crops do have the potential to cause a variety of health problems and environmental impacts. For instance, they may produce new allergens and toxins, spread harmful traits to weeds and non-GE crops, or harm animals that consume them.”

And:

“At least one major environmental impact of genetic engineering has already reached critical proportions: overuse of herbicide-tolerant GE crops has spurred an increase in herbicide use and an epidemic of herbicide-resistant “superweeds,” which will lead to even more herbicide use.”

Finally, actionbioscience.org2 offers a list of concerns, quoted here, that corroborate and add to the ecological concerns already offered; note that all these concerns place the biotech industry squarely ‘under the spot light’, so to speak, as it is the biotech industry that has unleashed GMOs into the world:

  • the spread of transgenes to related weeds or conspecifics via crop-weed hybridization

  • reduction of the fitness of non-target organisms through the acquisition of transgenic traits via hybridization

  • the rapid evolution of resistance of insect pests such as Lepidoptera to Bt

  • accumulation of the insecticidal Bt toxin, which remains active in the soil after the crop is ploughed under and binds tightly to clays and humic acids;

  • disruption of natural control of insect pests through intertrophic-level effects of the Bt toxin on predators

  • unanticipated effects on non-target herbivorous insects (i.e., monarch butterflies) through deposition of transgenic pollen on foliage of surrounding wild vegetation14

  • vector-mediated horizontal gene transfer and recombination to create new pathogenic organisms