Note: Anne Petermann is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and the Coordinator of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees. Orin Langelle is the Board Chair of GJEP and the Director of Langelle Photography. You can sign the petition calling on the USDA to deny ArbrorGen’s application to deregulate cold-tolerant genetically engineered eucalyptus here: http://bit.ly/axNIjq
-The GJEP Team
By Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle, July 1, 2013. Source: Z Magazine
Hundreds of activists from across the country converged on Asheville, North Carolina from Sunday, May 26 to Saturday, June 1 to protest the Tree Biotechnology 2013 conference, hosted by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). They came to raise vocal and determined opposition to genetically engineered trees (GE trees). The conference occurs every two years and brings together leading tree engineers, students, and corporate representatives to discuss the science and politics of genetically engineering trees.
The conference was disrupted or protested by activists even before it began and almost every day it took place. On May 25, more than 1,000 people joined the March Against Monsanto in Asheville, with a vocal contingent protesting GE trees. On Monday morning, two Asheville residents were arrested after invading the conference and disrupting the opening session of the day. On Tuesday, the largest protest yet against GE trees took place as hundreds of people marched through the streets and rallied outside the conference hotel. A conference field trip on Wednesday was cancelled due to the threat of protests. On Thursday, three activists were arrested while blocking a conference bus headed to an exclusive dinner at the Biltmore Estate.
To read the entire article, go to Z Magazine.
By Will Bennington, May 28, 2013. Photos by Orin Langelle and Will Bennington. Source: Global Justice Ecology Project
Just a day after two Asheville, NC residents were arrested for interrupting a talk at the Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference, hundreds of demonstrators descended upon the conference center, throwing the biggest industry event of the year into utter chaos.
The demonstration – the world’s largest ever against GE trees – lasted four hours, and included speakers, singing, chanting and street theatre.
As part of a international movement against extreme energy extraction, demonstrators included members of Earth First!, Tar Sands Blockade, Mountain Justice and anti-mountaintop removal activists. Local farmers, grandparents, children and students also participated.
GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann addresses a crowd of over 200 on the dangers of GE trees. Photo: Langelle/photolangelle.org for GJEP
The demonstration is a major milestone in the international Campaign to STOP GE Trees. The USDA is currently considering an application from GE tree company ArborGen to deregulate cold-tolerant GE eucalyptus in seven states in the southeastern US. Industry and activists alike recognize that massive public opposition is a major threat, influencing the USDA’s decision as well as the willingness of investors to sink cash into a highly controversial sector.
May 28, 2013. Source: Global Justice Ecology Project
Protestors sent a clear message to the GE tree industry and its investors – expect resistance. Photo: Langelle/photolangelle.org for GJEP
Asheville, NC (US)-Hundreds of demonstrators marched on an international forest biotechnology industry conference today, demanding a ban on the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment.
The protest, the largest yet against GE trees, occurred one day after two Asheville residents were arrested while disrupting a presentation titled “Engineering Trees for the Biorefinery.”
Following the arrests and the threat of protest today, the conference went on high alert. Police maintained a presence inside and outside the hotel conference center all day, participant badges were scrutinized, conference doors were locked during sessions, and hotel access restricted.
Two of the major conference sponsors, FuturaGene and ArborGen, are moving forward with plans to commercially release GE eucalyptus trees in Brazil and the US.
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project is excited to be working with Katuah Earth First!, Croatan Earth First! and other partners to show the GE tree industry a great time in Asheville. Click here for more info. We hope you’ll join us at the end of May!
-The GJEP Team
By Tricocca/Katuah Earth First!, May 2, 2013. Source: Earth First! Newswire
Photo: Anne Petermann/GJEP
There is still a month to go before activists hit the streets of Asheville, NC to protest the 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference, but the industry is already showing signs of retreat. Apparently fearing that protestors will follow them wherever they go, the conference organizers recently cancelled a group trip to a test plot of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While the counties in which these test plots are planted are publicly known, the exact location of these mutant trees is a closely guarded secret. It seems they don’t want a mob of Earth First!ers to find out where they are!
The 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference is an international gathering of scientists, forestry corporations and university researchers with a major focus on genetically engineered tree production. GE trees pose an unprecedented threat to native forests. Timber and utility corporations want to plant millions of acres genetically engineered trees throughout the South to burn for electricity, as well as to continue supplying the unsustainable lumber and paper industries. These trees would be engineered to produce their own pesticides, grow straighter and faster, tolerate manufactured pesticides, produce sterile seeds, and reduce lignin content (this is what makes the wood in a tree strong enough to stand up). If these traits escaped into native tree populations, the effects would be devastating and irreversible.
In another setback for the GE tree industry, the USDA just announced the results of their public comment period on the proposed approval of commercial plantings of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While over 30,000 people spoke out against the commercial planting of these Frankentrees, an underwhelming, four, yeah that’s right four, people spoke out in favor of planting GE trees. Though this public comment period shows that there is next to no support for GE trees, it is no time to let our guard down considering that government agencies regularly ignore the public opinion.