The genetically engineered food experiment has been taking place for over 20 years, ever since President George H.W. Bush visited Monsanto headquarters and vowed to help ease the bureaucratic and safety hurdles preventing the company’s crops from making it to market.
Since then, the lab created crops have proliferated unlabeled into our food supply, without our consent.
While GMO foods can be avoided at the store by buying organic or certified Non-GMO, the corporate monoculture system is hurting non-GMO farmers through cross contamination and pesticide drift.
Now, a U.S. biotech lab is seeking USDA approval for what critics say could be the most environmentally damaging GMO yet: genetically engineered trees.
Petition Launched Against Genetically Engineered Eucalyptus Trees
A new petition from the website Rainforest-Rescue.com has hit over 100,000 signatures, with the goal of getting President Donald Trump to prevent the approval of GE eucalyptus trees.
The goal for the petition is 500,000 total signatures, and it can be viewed and signed by clicking on this link. The first Web petition is aiming for 150,000 signatures.
Among the concerns the group has with GE trees are the following:
-Eucalyptus trees consume high amounts of water and contribute to forest fires; they also use large amounts of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides (good for the chemical companies’ bottom lines)
-They are an invasive species that can damage natural forest ecosystems if grown in large amounts in one area
-They may be part of monocultures that are bad for biodiversity
-Plantations destroy land and livelihoods of indigenous people
-The genetic engineering of this new GMO eucalyptus tree has made it so that the plant’s achilles heel, cold weather, is not a factor, potentially making it even more invasive
“The approval of ArborGen’s freeze-resistant eucalyptus would endanger forests in the United States and worldwide,” said Anne Petermann of the Global Justice Ecology Project.
The goal of the GE eucalyptus tree is to feed growing demand for eucalyptus to create a type of “green” fuel through biomass, the petition states.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting comments on ArborGen’s application until July 5th. “We want to collect 500,000 signatures to prevent the approval,” said Petermann.
In Chile, forest fires from similar plantations have been destroying natural forests and even homes, the petition also states. But the new GE trees haven’t been adequately tested for long term safety, critics say, especially considering the wide array of unintended potential effects unleashing such a genetically engineered tree can have on an ecosystem and the creatures and plants within it.
For more information on the GE trees and the specific traits engineered into them in order to change the nature of the tree itself, you can check out the full article and petition by clicking on this link.
Geneticist David Suzuki has also been expressing concerns about the trees, which he shared in a short documentary titled A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees (2009).
You can watch the documentary below: