Common Ground, June 2015
by Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network & Steering Committee Member, Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees
GMO Inquiry 2015 is proceeding and has now investigated the environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Genetically modified – GM, also called genetically engineered – crops have been a 20-year open-air experiment in Canada.
Most of the GM crops grown in Canada are herbicide-tolerant and the rest are insect-resistant; some are both. Growing these crops has had consequences for our environment that are now documented in Canada for the first time.
The widespread cultivation of GM herbicide-tolerant crops has pushed up the use of herbicides in Canada, as well as in other countries. Glyphosate-tolerant crops, in particular, have driven up the use of glyphosate-based herbicides. In its latest GMO inquiry report, Are GM Crops Better for the Environment?, CBAN found the following: Herbicide sales in Canada rose by 130% between 1994 and 2010 – from 21.9 million kilograms to 50.3 million kilograms. Glyphosate is the top herbicide ingredient sold in Canada, followed by 2,4-D and glufosinate ammonium. Glyphosate use tripled between 2005 and 2011.