chapter  19
19 Pages

Transnational transgenes: the political ecology of maize in Mexico

ByMexico JOEL WAINWRIGHT AND KRISTIN L . MERCER

Few environmental issues today are as hotly debated as those surrounding genetically-modified (or “GM”) food. Although genetic modification remains limited to major crops (particularly cotton, soy, and maize), the total area in the world planted with GM seeds has been increasing steadily since the mid-1990s. By 2007, ~7 percent of the world’s acreage (in 22 countries) was planted with GM seeds (BIO 2006; Hindo 2007), a percentage that continues to increase. While the USA alone accounts for the majority of the world’s GM agriculture (measured by area), other countries are reducing barriers to planting GM crops, including China, India, and Brazil (Miller 2006; Hindo 2007). For many environmentalists, the rapid spread of GM agriculture is a sign of a great failure, a sweeping loss of territory in a global struggle for a more organic, sustainable way of life.