Image from SynBioWatch
Earth Minute is written and recorded by GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann in partnership with KPFK.
Listen to Anne Petermann’s Earth Minute for this week:
Synthetic biology, or “extreme” genetic engineering, is, without any warning, on its way to a supermarket or coop near you. Yeast and algae have been bioengineered to produce vanilla, stevia and saffron, palm and coconut oil substitutes.
“Green” Companies like Ecover are moving to incorporate this controversial new technology into everyday products even though truly natural alternatives–like coconut oil–are readily available and can be sustainably sourced.
So what is synthetic biology? According to Friends of the Earth, “Synbio involves stripping organisms of their natural genes and replacing them with digitally created DNA codes to create new forms of life.”
Learning from the anti-GMO movement, however, food and biotechnology companies are attempting to replace the terms “synthetic biology” and “synbio” with words like “nature-identical” and “sustainable.”
But with companies like Monsanto, DuPont, BP, Chevron, Cargill and others in the mix–calling synthetic biology sustainable or natural is not only dangerous, it is just plain ridiculous.
For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann, from Global Justice Ecology Project.