Today's Topics in AgBioView
* PowerPoint Presentations in Agricultural Biotechnology
* EU Can No Longer Afford To Lag Behind - Ministers
* Butterfly Balls
* Biotechnology: A Strategic Note for the World Bank
* Journal of Human Development - Biotech Articles
* More on 'Inappropriate Comments'
* Enviro-Group Finances Caught on 'Web'
* Environmental Extremism and Eco-Terrorism: The Costs
* Counterterrorism; Understanding How Eco-Radical Groups Operate
PowerPoint Presentations in Agricultural Biotechnology
Dr. Martina Newell-McGloughlin at the University of California, Davis (the most articulate and passionate communicators I know in this area.....CSP) has posted some of her wonderful slide collections on agbiotech issues at her website: http://www.biotech.ucdavis.edu/ and then click on 'Powerpoint' in the left frame.
You can download her powerpoint files on a wide ranging topics in agricultural biotechnology with some beautiful graphics, appealing photographs, flow charts and with some cartoons. You may find this helpful in your lectures and public forums. Please be sure to acknowledge Martina should you use any of her slides!
Topics include: Bioinformatics, Agricultural Biotechnology, Some Thoughts on
Biotech Communication, Animal Genomics, Plant Biotech Regulations, Plant Genomics, Plant Transformation.
Informal Council Debate Shows EU Can No Longer Afford To Lag Behind Regarding Biotechnology - Position Of Fifteen Remains Fix
- Agence Europe, September 19, 2001
Alden Biesen, 18/09/2001 (Agence Europe) - The debate on the integration of new technologies in agriculture, held during the informal Agriculture Council on Tuesday (during the absence of French Minister Jean Glavany) showed that the EU could no longer afford to ignore the commercial possibilities opened up by genetically modified plants and the need to develop the production of biofood. This at least is what resulted from the presentation of international experts (see yesterday's EUROPE, p.11) and the declarations of the European Commission. On the other hand, as Commissioner David Bryne and Council President Annemie Neyts recalled, the Member States are divided over the question of lifting the moratorium, even if, generally speaking, they did welcome the new Commission stance on the labelling and traceability of GMO (which will be subject to scrutiny at the Internal Market and Environment Councils). We recall that the countries that are most hostile to lifting the moratorium are France, Germany, Austria a
Italian Agriculture Minister Giovanni Alemanno declared on the sidelines of the meeting: 'I confirm my country's traditional tendency to caution without, however, wishing to maintain an ideological blockage and without closing the door on research'. On the subject of the moratorium, he recalled that it was a question of 'emergency measures with a view to overall clarification which is not yet in force'. Belgian Minister Annemie Neyts said she did not share the 'collective psychosis' surrounding GMO questions. Miguel Arias Canet, from Spain, was in favour of authorising the marketing of GMOs, founded on a case-by-case assessment of the risks for human health. Spain considers it necessary to continue research in this respect while following the Community's precautionary principle.
Dutch Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst feels it is necessary to 'set in place conditions that are favourable for developing research, while remaining aware of the risks, and leaving the choice up to the consumers'. German Minister Renate Kunast restated his reticence concerning risk assessment. On the Commission's side, it is said that one cannot envisage lifting the moratorium before the EU has a sound legal basis on authorisation of experimental dissemination and marketing, that is, not before 17 October 2002, the date when the updated directive will be implemented (18/2001 amending Directive 90/2000). Two other proposals are soon expected concerning genetically modified seeds. On one hand, it is a matter of establishing provisions to designate accountability when, for example, a research centre pollutes a field. On the other hand, it is a matter of defining arrangements for environmental risk assessment as well as the labelling of these seeds. EUROPE recalls that, so far, only two varieties of GMO-derived
During the final press conference, Commissioner Franz Fischler made the following three observations: (1) the EU has a choice between deciding on its own policy on GMOs or not doing anything and therefore having outside rules imposed on it; (2) 'we must ensure that competitive conditions are balanced between traditional agriculture and biotechnology agriculture'; (3) 'I am not opposed to the idea, supported by scientists, of moving forward along the road to international harmonisation for research. On the other hand, it is imperative that the EU should preserve the right to keep its own level of risk management'.
During the debate, Mr Fischler pointed out that, 'it is not my understanding of political leadership to echo populist stances and play on fears in order to score cheap political points'. He went on to add: 'We should take a pro-active stance. We must explain to the people out there what they risk if we turn our back on this technology. We must make clear what benefits biotech can bring to them, from hunger-relief by making crops resistant against drought to its responsible application in the field of medicine'. He also stressed that biological farming must be GMO-free. On this last point, he called for the adoption of a tolerance threshold and did not rule out the possibility of one day having to establish preferential geographical areas for biological crops. Commissioner David Byrne felt that the excessive amount of unfounded criticism does not reflect the scientific approach on food safety that he recommends. He invited all parties to hold a rational debate and to adopt a balanced approach.
Concerning renewable raw materials, Mr Fischler told Ministers that the Commission must take a stance over the next few weeks on an initiative that should make it possible to promote the use of biofuel by reserving a share of the transport fuel market for bioethanol and biodiesel. He added that the potential to guarantee a share of the EU market through commercial means or direct payments for growing specific plants are particularly limited under the current WTO rules and therefore the only way open in the future would be to ensure our biomass production was sufficiently competitive against fossil fuels and competitors from outside the EU. He explained that farmers already had a number of measures at their disposal designed to encourage the use of biomass, such as the authorisation of non-food arable farming on frozen land or aid for investment in rural development programmes. He added that the very wide gap between the cost of bioenergy and energy generated from fossil fuels was a major handicap which coul
The CEJA wanted a debate on 'positive technologies' The President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), Hans-Benno Wichert, said on Monday that he was disappointed that the Ministers and experts had not breathed a word about positive technologies (that is technology that can be used to develop more environmentally-friendly farming methods) or about the use of the internet to more widely disseminate scientific information and enter dialogue with public opinion. More generally, the CEJA believes that the use of new technology is one way for farmers to remain cost effective. Mr Wichert said that by increasing the production of biomass for non-food ends to cover some 10% of the landmass currently given over to arable farming in Europe, it would be possible to cut CO2 emissions by 6%. The CEJA commented that before the implementation of reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy in 1999, the Commission had refused to grant direct aid for this purpose on the grounds that the Blair House agreements did n
Butterfly Balls: Genetically Modified Maize Is Not That Bad For Monarchs
- The Economist 22 Sept 2001
Sometimes it takes a hammer to crack a nut. The nut, in this case, is the idea that maize that has been genetically modified to protect it from maize-eating insects poses a threat to non-maize-eating insects. The hammer is a set of six papers, written in collaboration by 29 researchers, and published on the website of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (http://www.pnas.org/papbyrecent.shtml) These papers, paid for in part by the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, an industry body, were coordinated by May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. They were stimulated by work by John Losey and his colleagues at Cornell University that was published two years ago in Nature. Dr Losey (who is one of the authors of the new papers) showed that the larvae of monarch butterflies could be poisoned by maize pollen containing a natural insecticide engineered into the DNA of the plant that produced the pollen. The inference widely drawn by the press and by oppo
The insecticide is a protein called Cry, normally produced by a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (known, for short, as Bt). It affects only the larvae of butterflies and moths, and it is put into maize to ward off a moth called the European corn borer. Cry is produced all over the plant, including in its pollen. Since maize is wind-pollinated, there is a chance this pollen might blow on to other plants and therefore poison benign, or even desirable, insects.
The caterpillars of monarchs - a showy, migratory species that passes through, and breeds in, America's mid-western "corn belt" on its way to and from its winter hibernation grounds in Mexico - were thought to be at particular risk. The caterpillars' food plant, milkweed, often grows near maize fields. When Dr Losey dusted the modified pollen on to milkweed, and fed it to monarch caterpillars, many of them keeled over. No great surprise there. If you force-feed an insect with an insecticide, it may well die. The question is whether that is a genuine indication of a real threat to the wild population.
The answer, monarch-lovers everywhere will be pleased to know, seems to be no. First, the amount of Cry found in maize pollen varies from strain to strain; Dr Losey may have been unlucky in his original choice, and picked a particularly toxic one. The paper in which Richard Hellmich, of Iowa State University, Ames, took the lead, reported that the pollen of only one commercial strain consistently affected caterpillars. That strain accounts for less than 2% of maize planted in America, and is being withdrawn.
Even if the pollen gets on to milkweeds, the paper coordinated by John Pleasants, of Iowa University, showed that it tends to collect on the middle leaves of the plants, not the upper ones - which are where monarch caterpillars tend to feed. To back this up, laboratory and field studies reported by Mark Sears, of the University of Guelph, in Ontario, all failed to show toxicity at the sort of pollen densities actually found in the wild.
Lastly Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota took the lead in pointing out that standard insecticides and weed-control practices, which have been used for decades, are as likely to affect monarchs as any putative GM crops would be. Indeed, the paper by Diane Stanley-Horn, who also works at Guelph, showed that in field trials, lambda-cyhalothrin, a common commercial insecticide, is far more destructive of monarch caterpillars than pollen from Bt-enhanced maize.
The upshot of this tour de force is that butterfly lovers can tuck into their breakfast cereals with a clear conscience. Agriculture is always destructive of wild creatures. However, GM maize seems to be no more so than the ordinary kind.
Biotechnology, the Gene Revolution, and Proprietary Technology in Agriculture: A Strategic Note for the World Bank
Dodds JH, Ortiz R, Crouch JH, Mahalasksmi V and Sharma KK (2001) Biotechnology, the Gene Revolution, and Proprietary Technology in Agriculture: A Strategic Note for the World Bank. IP Strategy Today No. 2 bioDevelopments International Intitute
Abstract: The document provides an assessment of the current impact of biotechnology and future potential to advancing agriculture, and the legal, environmental and economic implications, especially for the developing world. It reviews the role of the private sector and how to strengthen its linkages with public, national and international research efforts. The world bank is encouraged to support the global development of agribiotechnology, e.g. by fostering the dissemination of knowledge and skills, by improving information technologies, and by engageing in the debate on IPR and ethical issues.
The world economy experienced significant growth and transformation, with increases in productivity, product quality, and export base diversification in the 1990s. These advances were mainly driven by the growth of traditional agricultural and industrial sectors, including the natural resource-based sectors. This article outlines how application that New Science offers an opportunity for equitable growth that will assist in further poverty alleviation throughout the world. New Science will impact all poverty areas such as income, nutrition and environmental enhancement. The principal objective of this document was to provide a textual report on the topic of innovation in science and technology, and in particular the way that new science such as biotechnology and information technology serve as factors for increasing the competitiveness of developing nations in the global context. Interwoven into this subject matter the report provides clear positions to consider adopting in the critical areas of Intellectua
*Analyze the major advances and trends in the field of biotechnology. This includes both the animal science and commodity sectors. It focuses on a science-based approach to agricultural development; * present an analysis of the policy framework in terms of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Regulatory frameworks that underpin this research agenda; * review the current and potential legal liability issues that accompany the application of new science to research and development, including both health and environmental liabilities; * examine the current evolving IPR framework and the impact this may have on international national agricultural research in the developing world, especially regarding World Trade Organization (WTO) matters and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as it relates to trade and research;
* discuss the current and future trends in Public-Private partnerships and how these may play a role in enhancing technology development and availability; * scrutinize the current debate on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and suggest a position on science and technology that underpins the risk assessment process; * provide a preliminary analysis of the role of international development investors (e.g. The World Bank) in the development and deployment of International Public Goods; * describe briefly how innovations in this field are likely to affect the competitiveness and growth opportunities of countries in various stages of development, particularly on trade related matters; * illustrate succinctly how innovations in this field are likely to affect the competitiveness and growth opportunities, especially on international agricultural research; * characterize tools to develop international best practices in the fields of biotechnology and IPR management; and * draw conclusions to promote debate on t
This document also provides an assessment of the current impact of biotechnology and future potential to advancing agriculture, and the legal, environmental and economic implications, especially for the developing world. The document reviews the role of the private sector and how to strengthen its linkages with public, national and international research efforts. While addressing each of the selected topics, this document considers the evolution of research in agriculture, its accomplishments, and the potential role of biotechnology but not in isolation from other on-going research in agriculture. While reviewing the current status this article also considers how modern information technology or in other allied sciences are reshaping the framework of future of agricultural research and what new targets are being pursued. The document looks at the future with a clear view of past experiences in research and technology and makes a candid assessment of what should be realistically expected from biotechnology a
Section 2. Biotechnology and Agriculture Further improvements in global agriculture require innovative science and the development of plant derived products with high returns. Given that this type of research is based on a highly skilled workforce and the assembly of multidisciplinary teams: The World Bank should continue to build bridges between available biotechnology tools and their application for the improvement of crops and livestock in developing countries. Competitive funding schemes encouraging research links between advanced research institutes, both in the North and the South, and with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research should be pursued. Furthermore, in order to have a research and development process driven by product delivery: The competitive funding scheme should ensure the integration of biotechnology with classical breeding and other associated technical disciplines. The applicants must be encouraged to develop research proposals in the framework of a holistic app
Section 3. Biotechnology and Information Technology (or Bio-Informatics) Given that bioinformatics databases are International Public Goods that make possible these new technologies and products: The World Bank should provide support for bioinformatics efforts that optimize resources, avoid duplication, and promote a new attitude of sharing in the scientific community. Given the current lack of technical skills in this area, particularly in the developing world: The World Bank should support personnel training. Trained people in bio-informatics are a pre-requisite for this technology to succeed. Institutional links between North and South will not have an effect without skilled personnel in developing countries that can absorb, adapt, and use the information made available to them. In order to maintain public access and use of this data, particularly for the worlds staple food-crops that feed the poor: The World Bank should encourage and provide "seed money" to establish a public facility or consortium for
Section 4. IPR on Research and Agriculture Given the fundamental link between research investment and IPR: The World Bank should actively engage in debate and professional exchange with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to further study the impact of IP on research investment in the developing world.Given the need for more persons with technical and legal skills in these areas: The World Bank should foster more human resource development in the area of IP and particularly in entrepreneurship. The mix of technical and legal skills needed in the new economy is in short supply in developing countries. In order to develop a set of paradigm models, and to learn while doing: The World Bank should encourage well-researched, planned investment in global IP protection for inventions from developing countries. However, given that not all crops, animals, and technologies lend themselves to proprietary protection and market approaches: The World Bank can foster the development of International Public
Section 5. IPR and Trade Given the critical policy and development implications for the developing world: The World Bank should be a key player and actively advocate for the developing world in upcoming WTO discussions on trade and agricultural IP. Given the evolving nature of these complex relationships: The World Bank should continue to monitor the intimate relationship between trade, IP, and research investment in both the public and private sectors. Research is indispensable for maintaining competitiveness in the market; accordingly, the World Bank should continue to foster and enhance its activities in agricultural research, including the CGIAR centers.
Section 6. Genetic Engineering Technology: A Complement to Breeding Because of concerns some sectors of the public have raised about genetic engineering technology: The World Bank should encourage and support public dialogue about the risks and benefits of transgenic technology used to improve agriculture in developing countries. This dialogue must ensure that the voices of the people in the developing world are heard and that their unique needs are considered. Furthermore, given the tremendous potential of these techniques to impact the quality of life for the poor: The World Bank should provide support to innovative improvement programs that combine the best of conventional methods with emerging genetic engineering technology to improve both crops and livestock.
Section 7. Genetic Mapping Technology: Knowing Where the Genes Are The new tools of applied genomics are rapidly increasing our knowledge of biological systems and the tools to manipulate these systems. The commercial implications of these developments are fueling unprecedented scientific progress but at the expense of free access. The World Bank should support initiatives in applied genomics to ensure that important advances will be made available to plant breeders in national programs and in small to medium-sized companies that are supporting the development of staple crops and livestock. As custodian of the world's genetic resources, the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) international system of agricultural research centers now has a major role to play in ensuring the equitable enhancement of the world's staple food crops.
Section 8. Molecular Breeding to Address Global Issues Such as Drought and Heat Stress The rapid development of molecular breeding tools for complex traits will require research projects that bring together large-scale multi-locational field experiments with state-of-the-art high throughput marker screening technologies and strong capacities in biometrics and bioinformatics. Hence: The World Bank should support long-term initiatives to undertake molecular breeding of crop and livestock species important to feeding the developing world. In this respect those CGIAR centers with breeding programs will continue to have a major role to play because they possess in-house capacity in all essential elements.
Section 9. Changing Plant Architecture: New Plants for a New Future Given the need to feed more people on the same land area using less water and nutrients: Through a competitive grant framework the World Bank should encourage and support innovative research (including multidisciplinary approaches) aimed at the development of specific locally adapted prototypes to maximize the yield potential of crops. This investment could be cost-effective by tapping the knowledge and information accumulated by the CGIAR and their diverse partners.
Section Section 10. Biosafety: How Safe are New Agricultural Technologies? Given that a number of other international organizations are already actively working with developing countries in the area of biosafety: The World Bank should support the development of appropriate biosafety guidelines in the developing world by collaborating with other organizations engaged in similar efforts.
Section 11. Food Safety: It Is Safe to Grow, but is It Safe to Eat? Given public concerns and the government's fundamental role in setting food health policies: The World Bank should encourage and ensure science-based debate and decision-making about food health matters. The benefits of technological change, the possible risks of this change, and the consequences of no change should be addressed.
Section 12. Bioethics Given the concerns associated with the development and deployment of genetically engineered organisms: The World Bank (both management and staff) should be aware and sensitive to the issues surrounding GMO's and other biotechnology applications. The World Bank should encourage scientific transparency; this will be the best tool to convince people about the advantages of transgenic crops and other biotechnology applications.
Section 13. The Public Sector and International Public Good Given the tremendous opportunities that exist to leverage publicly available data: The World Bank should increase spending on infrastructure and human capacity building in regards to database management and information sorting and dissemination. Through support to the CGIAR, the World Bank can take steps to improve database management and ownership for many staple food commodities. The World Bank can foster a genome network for the developing world to access databases through the CGIAR and its partners.
Section 14. Public Sector/Private Sector Partnerships: The Need for their Visionary Expansion and Diversity: Given the globalization of agricultural research companies and the current shift in research resources from the public to the private sector: The World Bank should develop additional fora that will bring together the public and private sector in an enabling environment that will allow for the building of mutual trust and a dialogue on research and regulatory issues. The World Bank should continue to support programs to enhance the skills of scientists, lawyers, and policy makers in these new areas of science and law. Skills in science and negotiation are important components for fair partnership arrangements. While proprietary technology will use market forces to drive license agreements in market economies and sectors, provision must be made for those sectors of society that are left behind. Therefore: The World Bank should try to identify areas where private sector proprietary technology developed
Section 15. IPR and Animal Science Given the important economic and nutritional roles that livestock play in rural communities: The World Bank should support special international studies to review the human health implications of genetically modified animal products. Given the costs associated with these studies, harmonization and cross acceptance of data is very important. The World Bank should continue to study the impact of biotechnology and of quarantines on the trade of animal products. There is a special need to study these impacts as they relate to tropical diseases in Africa.
Journal of Human Development
I am the Managing Editor of the Journal of Human Development, and I am writing to you to ask whether you can carry the announcement below in your electronic journal. The announcement focuses on the July issue, which contains some interesting and thought-provoking biotechnology articles.
Thank you for your kind consideration, and best wishes, Nadia Hijab
Vol. 2 No. 2 Issue of the Journal of Human Development is now available. It includes thought-provoking articles on information technology biotechnology, the ethics of technological change, and intellectual property rights. The full list of articles is at the bottom of this
The Journal of Human Development was launched in January 2000 to provide a new perspective on human potential, growth, and markets. The journal publishes original work that expands concepts and measurement tools for human development and that challenges traditional views of economics. Human development is becoming a "school of thought" for alternative
economic approaches, and the journal acts as a conduit for members and critics of this school.
To view sample copies online, visit http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
To order by email contact email@example.com
Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Editor; Nadia Hijab, Managing Editor Journal of Human Development
Volume 2 Number 2 July 2001
- Christian Barry, The Ethical Assessment of Technological Change: an overview of the issues
- Geoffrey S. Kirkman, Out of the Labs and Into the Developing World: using appropriate technologies to promote truly global Internet diffusion
- Joel I. Cohen, Harnessing Biotechnology for the Poor: challenges ahead regarding biosafety and capacity building
- Devesh Kapur, Diasporas and Technology Transfer
- Ha-Joon Chang, Intellectual Property Rights and Economic Development: historical lessons and emerging issues
- Andrs Rodrguez-Clare, Costa Rica's Development Strategy based on Human Capital and Technology: how it got there, the impact of Intel, and lessons for other countries.
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Inappropriate Comments
Thanks for getting back to me. What you and many others have said in response to my posting to AgBioView has, in my opinion, contributed significantly to "the debate" over biotechnology. I am also glad to have the opportunity to clarify my remarks.
I don't believe that biotechnology is the only answer to world hunger; that is far too complex a problem to be solved with any one answer. However, in the current state of the art, it is the best-looking potential answer to one part of the problem, which is simply: producing more food, more cheaply. One of the oddities about this is, though, that the people who use biotechnology (wealthy industrial nations) to increase food production really don't need it for that purpose.
Those who do, on the other hand, need to increase food production should be allowed to use it, or anything else, that works. Because of that, I believe that anyone who blocks those in developing nations from improving their food supply does, indeed, have blood on their hands. This must, however, be qualified by how we consider ends and means.
The ends justify the means, because nothing but the result can justify the means employed in any purposeful activity. That is an inescapable truth.
While acknowledging this fundamental principle, we must also acknowledge another: the principle of equifinality. For any particular end, many different means can be employed. (I don't use the word "can" here in a moral sense, not yet.)
To illustrate this principle, let us suppose someone is confronted with the task of getting the eight-ball into the corner pocket of a pool table. This person can take a cue stick and strike the cue ball with it in such a way that it strikes the eight-ball and drives it into the pocket. Or this person can pick up the eight ball in their hand and place it directly in the pocket. Or, if they are sufficiently strong, raise one end of the pool table so that the ball simply rolls downhill into the pocket.
The end, which is getting the eight-ball into the pocket, justifies all of these means, because all of these means actually work. Means that do not work, i.e., do not achieve the end, can't be justified and are merely wasted effort. For this reason, in the game of pool one is not rewarded for attempting to drive the eight-ball into a pocket, and failing.
However, all of these different means have consequences beyond merely getting the ball into the pocket. Placing the ball in the pocket by hand, if a game is being played, would result in forfeiture of the game. Tilting the table, or even attempting to, might result in a herniated disc and require medical treatment. Accordingly, a wrong choice of means for an end can prove to be counterproductive.
Thus, we are confronted with the task of choosing between different means, and by definition, there will be only one best choice. Choosing ends is, on average, easier than choosing means; but both must be balanced against each other. Laudable ends can be achieved by contemptible means, and vice versa. Our job, the job of each of us, is to choose the best ends, and the best means to those ends.
With this in mind, we can then ask: if biotechnology improves agricultural output for people who already produce more food than they can eat, should we allow it to be used by those by those who are hungry? I would say yes, both the end, and the means, are justified.
Then there is the end of stopping terrorism. Many means are available, and many are currently being deployed, as President Bush pointed out last night. Will those currently being deployed work? If not, they are not justified.
If we have proof that the Taliban was involved in the events of September 11, would bombing them achieve the desired end of stopping terrorism? If not, it is not justified. Might bombing them be terrorism itself (consider Dresden) and merely perpetuate terrorism? If so, it is not justified.
In choosing ends and means, all of us are morally culpable, and the task of choosing is thrust upon us, rather than encountered willingly. We cannot choose not to choose. Whether we allow the hungry to use a technology proven to benefit the well-fed is a choice, and those who choose will be accountable. Whether we use violence to stop terrorism is a choice, and those who choose will be accountable.
We can only hope that these, and all the other myriad choices we are forced to make daily, will prove to have been wisely made. We are not gods, but merely human, and must humbly proceed as best we can with the best of our knowledge. This includes knowing that we are required to seek beneficial ends, while groping within our mortal limitations for the best available means.
Bob Bowden wrote:
Thank you for your response. I did indeed feel that you were making slight of the monstrous events in New York and Washington, D.C. And I thought the public would feel the same way, which is why I wrote my original comments. I am sorry if I misinterpreted your comments.
Another concept in your comments that bothered me is that biotechnology is the best (only?) answer to world hunger and anyone against it is in effect killing poor people. That attitude tends to delegitimize protesters, even nonviolent protesters. I support biotechnology, but I don't believe we absolutely have to have genetic engineering to feed the world.
I agree with you that tolerance for violence is a common threat. I am horrified that some people think this is related to free speech. I think the whole world needs to do some thinking about the ethics of violence. But I have to admit I am confused myself. For example, would a US bombing attack on the Taliban be ethical if we have proof they were involved? There are questions of justice, collateral damage, deterrence, future outcomes. When, exactly, does the end justify the means?
Enviro-Group Finances Caught on 'Web'
- Michael Betsch CNSNews.com, Sept 07, 2001
If you've ever wondered from where environmental activists get their money, you're not alone, and a Washington, D.C. think tank is drawing a map to help follow the money.
The Capital Research Center (CRC) is preparing for its Monday launch of Green-Watch.com, an online database and information service that monitors "about 500 or so different environmental groups, focusing on their funding - where their money's coming from and what they're doing with it," said CRC Director of Communications Andrew Walker.
"It's constantly a work in progress," Walker commented. Currently, the site is focusing on domestic environmental organizations such as the San Francisco, Calif.-based Sierra Club and Eugene, Ore.-based Earth First.
Also included in the database will be information on some international organizations that use the U.S. for their base of operation. "What you see is that a lot of the international ones end up really being based in America or affiliates are connected with American organizations," said Walker, who noted Greenpeace International as an example. The militant environmental group is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Most of the funding information uncovered and reported by CRC is the result of combing through public records. "Nonprofit groups have to file what's called a 990 form with the IRS," said Walker. "That's public knowledge that you can get a copy of that and see who is funding them - where their large donations come from." CRC started building its database for the Green-Watch.com site about 2 years ago, Walker said and now, "it's gotten to the point where we're ready to take it public."
Environmental Extremism and Eco-Terrorism: The Costs Imposed on Americans
- June 13, 2001; Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. A Conference Sponsored by the
Frontiers of Freedom Institute; 12011 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, 3rd Floor Fairfax, VA 22033
(703) 246-0110; http://www.ff.org
Where the Money Comes From
- Christopher Morris, Research Associate, Capital Research Center
My name is Christopher Morris and Iím a research associate at the Capital Research Center. CRC studies philanthropy with a special focus on non-profit, public interest, and advocacy groups. We examine funding sources that sustain these organizations, we examine their agendas, and we examine their impact on public policy and society. I oversee the Green Watch project, which covers the activities of 527 environmental organizations. A searchable database of these organizations is available online at http://www.green-watch.com.
R.J. (Smith) has laid the groundwork in explaining how the environmental movement has begun, and Ron (Arnold) has detailed a lot of the activities of these groups engaged in eco-radicalism. And as Ron has just mentioned, there are several organizations, not just the Rainforest Action Network, that are involved in eco-radicalism. Eco-radicalism can vary from public disruption and vandalism to orchestrated campaigns of bullying corporations. Membership dues and grassroots campaigns no longer drive the environmental movement.
Today there are a small number of wealthy liberal foundations with a narrow agenda funding these acts of eco-radicalism. Giving to environmental organizations reached an all-time high in 1999 of $5.83 billion, as reported in Giving USA. This is an 11 percent increase over the past year, and it has been steadily increasing since the early 1990s. Giving to greens has escalated significantly. This has caused these groups to move away from their grassroots support and rely on the funding of wealthy liberal foundations.
Some groups involved in acts of eco-radicalism are no strangers to this trend. In order to better understand the money behind these acts, I have looked closely at four liberal foundations, as well as four organizations that are funded by these liberal foundations and that are involved in acts of eco-radicalism. The four groups I examined are Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network, and Forest Stewardship Council. The foundations I examined included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the W. Alton Jones Foundation.
First, the MacArthur Foundation, which began in 1978 by John MacArthur who also founded the Bankers Life & Casualty Company, gave Friends of the Earth $40,000 in 1996, followed by $25,000 in 1997, and $46,000 in 1998. And then in 1999, it granted $300,000 to Friends of the Earth. It gave Greenpeace $50,000 in 1998 and again 1999, and it gave the Forest Stewardship Council $575,000 in 1999. This is a grand total of $1,086,000 that the MacArthur Foundation gave to groups engaged in eco-radicalism. The next group I examined was the Pew Charitable Trusts. It gave over $136 million to environmental organizations from 1996 to 1999. The foundation, which was founded by Joseph Pew of Sun Oil, in 1995 gave the Rainforest Action Network $160,000. It was the only grant it made to groups engaging in eco-radicalism; however, it is important because the grant gave the Rainforest Action Network their its bearings to orchestrate campaigns against corporations and against the general public.
I also looked at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Foundation, based in San Francisco. Richard Goldman, who was a descendant of Levi Strauss, was founder of Goldman Insurance. His foundation gave a total of $14.5 million to environmental organizations from 1996 to 1999. In 1998 it gave $100,000 to Friends of the Earth and $250,000 to the Rainforest Action Network. It granted $250,000 and $45,000 to the Rainforest Action Network in 1997 and 1996, respectively, for a grand total of $645,000 to these groups. W. Alton Jones, an executive of CITGO Oil, started his foundation in 1944. When Jones died in a plane crash in 1962, his daughter and grandchildren were left as trustees. From 1996 to 1999 they gave $58 million to environmental organizations. This included a 1996 grant to the Rainforest Action Network for $100,000, and a grant that same year to Friends of the Earth for $75,000. In 1997 it gave another $15,000 to Friends of the Earth, and in 1998 it granted the group $340,000.
The grand total of all of these grants made to groups engaging in eco-radicalism was $3,211,000 over the years 1996-1999. That might seem like a small number when compared with the overall giving of each individual foundation to the environmental movement. However, it is important to remember that the funds have enabled these organizations to lay the groundwork to engage in campaigns of corporate bullying, public disruption, and civil disobedience. The irony is that two of these foundations were founded by entrepreneurs in the exploration and production of oil. After the founders died, the foundations moved away from the original intent of the founder and started giving to environmental organizations that oppose exploratory drilling in the Alaskan natural wildlife preserve and other oil production efforts.
Lastly, it is important to mention these groups are forcefully pushing their agendas onto to the agenda of the environmental movement as a whole, which includes mainstream groups such as the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Earth Justice Legal Defense Fund. And they are doing it through violence and disruption to American society.
Counterterrorism Efforts, and Understanding How Eco-Radical Groups Operate
- Edward Badolato, Executive Director, Counterterrorism and Security Education and Research Foundation
(see website above for this and other papers)