At the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) convention earlier this month in Chicago, former President Bill Clinton sent a message to those in attendance: the biotechnology industry has a job to do.
In his speech, the former President discussed the importance that biotechnology has in food security and health issues in the developing world. He said the first obligation of society is to feed people and that biotechnology can help individuals feed more people while addressing environmental concerns. He also stressed the need for interdependence in the world today as well as the unsolved problems that biotechnology is uniquely suited to face.
Clinton also discussed the need to efficiently manage agricultural production. He mentioned several key aspects of environmental health that agricultural biotechnology can address, including climate change and top soil erosion.
“All of these applications of biotechnology have the potential to lift people out of poverty,” he said.
The former President also asserted that scientific evidence should rule any debate over issues such as genetically modified foods. He said that in America, we “should be driven by science, evidence, and argument, not by assertion and fear.”
Former President Clinton called upon the biotechnology industry to work to reduce the spread of a variety of diseases, including infectious diseases, guard against pandemics, create genetically engineered foods that will feed more of the world’s hungry, tap into sources of renewable energy, and confront global warming head on.
“When we empower individuals to feed and care for their families,” he said. “It is a good thing.”
As President, Bill Clinton supported the development of biotechnology and its practical applications in American life, as well as the development of genetic engineering and agriculture, and since he left office in 2001, President Clinton has dedicated almost all of his time to support causes, from raising funds for Hurricane Katrina victims in the United States to helping individuals with AIDS receive the drugs they need. He has seen first hand the needs that biotechnology can address around the world and the good that genetically modified foods can bring to developing nations in feeding the poor.
I agree with what former President Clinton said in his speech. Modern biotechnology holds such an importance in the world today and these continued developments should not be driven by the fearful beliefs that those opposed to biotechnology and genetically modified foods continuously try to impose upon the general public.
The world needs to support biotechnology, genetically modified foods, and the innovative developments the technology can bring in order to ensure a better future and life for all.