In the documentary “Food Evolution” (2017), directed by Hamilton Kennedy, the director explores the controversy that surrounds the genetically modified organism. In this documentary, the director and the narrator Neil Tyson look at the most important questions facing millions of people across the globe, the issue of food security and demonstrates the desperate needed for concrete information, common sense as well as calm logical discussions. The film also uses the angry and emotional controversy of genetically modified foods as its entry and demonstrates how misinformation and fear can overwhelm evidence-based analysis and objective. In addition to this, the documentary takes the position that scientists and science hold in relation to solving food problems. In an important scene in the documentary, the director includes important GMO debates of the opponents and proponents of GMO and their claim that science is on their side. Furthermore, the documentary depicts that the debate about GMOs is not just about science, it includes fake news, fear, and financial interest.
In this film, the connection between money and genetically modified foods and GMOs is significant in that it involves the supply of GM foods or organic foods to billions of people across the globe. On the side of GMO sits the Monsanto a widely hated brand in the world. The documentary speaks about the history of this brand and the production of harmful pesticides and the criticisms by people rallying against the company. On the other side, the film depicts the difficulties farmers in countries like Uganda face in gaining access to GMO bananas and the need to combat a deadly banana plant wilt. According to Turan (2017), both side the supporters and opponents stand to gain from either selling GM crops for companies like Monsanto, while Whole Food can benefit by building their brands as healthier or natural by defaming GMO product.
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The aspect of fear as depicted in this film wins the arguments of many people across the globe. Fear is a great weapon for anti-GMO advocates. According to this documentary, the insertion of uncertainty into the debates assists in bolstering the argument for sticking to natural crops and traditional methods of farming. It is evident from the film that opponents of GMO base their arguments on a shaky ground and the climate and barely any studies to support their claims. Through the presentation of such unstable claims, the documentary pokes holes in many of the arguments by the GMO opponents, but at the same time finds partial truths in some of their claims. The opponents put such atrial truths and uncertainties together as science, and use that to scare people.
The third vital aspect depicted in this documentary is the issue of fake news. According to Dy (2017), fake news producers understand that more than most people that anxiety is one of the most moving factors and the fore fear would sell because it pushes TV rankings and online clicks. In this documentary, this aspect is depicted when the scenes where an anti-GMO activist (Honeycutt) argues that organic food is God made. Such scenes are not flattering when compared to scientific confirmation that humans have altered crops since the emergence of agriculture. Such information can be effective in creating fake news in click-bait headlines.
While this film plays a major role in acknowledging that facts and science are not enough to engaged people’s minds. It leaves the audience with a contradiction in that it leaves e no clear answers to convince the doubtful audience. Additionally, in the scenes the GMO supporters win, the directors demonstrates that it is possible to convince people with open minds, but the contradiction lies in the fact that he does not show how to influence the minds of those deeply rooted in the opposing side. In my opinion, GMOs can play a major role in solving the issue of food shortage in the world. There is a need for the world leaders and governments to educate their citizens on GMO in order to instill confidence and gain more support. I believe the film makes some fascinating point regarding human behavior and the ways people make decisions without facts. The film may not alter the views of many, but it might help in making one consider what caused them to decide in the first place.
- Dy, A. (2017). Food Evolution documentary looks at science, money, and fake news around GMOs | PLOS Synthetic Biology Community.
- Kennedy, S. H. (Director). (2017). Food Evolution [Documentary]. USA: Black Valley Films.
- Turan, K. (2017). Documentary ‘Food Evolution’ turns to reason to discuss GMO controversy – LA Times.