Pope Francis heavily criticized GMOs in a draft of his major environmental document that was leaked Monday. You can find the full draft document here (In Italian): https://speciali.espresso.repubblica.it/pdf/laudato_si.pdf

Note: Much of Pope Francis’ analysis below reflects many of the arguments that we have made in support of the outright rejection of all genetically engineered trees (GMO trees or GE trees). Biodiversity destruction, land grabs, displacement of local (and Indigenous) communities, concentration of power, and the lack of independent risk assessments, to name a few.

Here is the most pertinent excerpt of Pope Francis’ comments on GMOs

“In many areas, following the introduction of [GMOs], there has been a concentration of productive land in the hands of the few, due to the gradual disappearance of small producers, who, as a consequence of the loss of cultivated land, have been forced to retreat from direct production.

“The most fragile among them become temporary workers and many farm workers migrate to end up in miserable urban settlements. The spread of these (GM) crops destroys the complex web of ecosystems, decreases diversity in production and affects the present and the future of regional economies. In several countries there is a trend in the development of oligopolies in the production of seeds and other products needed for cultivation, and the dependence deepens when you consider the production of sterile seeds, which end up forcing farmers to buy (seeds) from producers.

“No doubt there is a need for constant attention…to consider all ethical aspects involved. To this end it is necessary to ensure a scientific and social debate that is responsible and large, able to consider all the information available and to call things by their names.

“GMOs is an issue which is complex, it must be approached with a sympathetic look at all its aspects, and this requires at least one more effort to finance several lines of independent and interdisciplinary research… as we have seen in this chapter, the technique is unlikely to be able to …self-limit its power.”

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