I have great respect for James Haught, but I must disagree with him about genetically modified crops as a solution to the twin problems of a growing population and climate-change-induced shrinking of farmable acreage.
GMO tech has proven to be a swindle, so far as increased yields are concerned. GMO technology is used to sell pesticides via crops genetically modified to tolerate them. That benefits chemical companies, but not farmers and not food consumers.
While yields from established organic farming operations are roughly comparable with conventional GMO-based agriculture, the climate effects are completely different. Organic farming stores carbon in the soil, while conventional farming releases tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via production and use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
It’s just beginning to be understood how a “living soil,” teeming with microorganisms, fosters high yields and carbon storage, but conventional pesticide/GMO based farming destroys these microbial communities.
In patenting new lifeforms, we risk creating “harmful exotics” — a new vegetable gypsy moth, wooley adelgid or emerald ash borer (all Asian imports) for every company that markets its own GMO.