Last week, Bjorn Lomborg, the widely published Danish professor and director of one of the world’s leading environmental think tanks, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, published an article about the Philippines’ decision, after 12 years, to allow genetically modified (GM) rice — “golden rice” — to be grown and consumed in that country.
The reason for the delay was environmentalist opposition to GM rice; and the reason for the change in Philippine policy was that 4.4 million Filipino children suffer from vitamin A deficiency. That deficiency, Lomborg writes, “according to the World Health Organization, causes 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind each year. Of these, half die within a year.”
During the 12-year delay, Lomborg continues, “About eight million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency.”
“Golden rice” contains vitamin A, making it by far the most effective and cheapest way to get vitamin A into Third World children.
So who would oppose something that could save millions of children’s lives and millions of other children from blindness?