Industries are all about making more money, at any cost. If they can develop something now that will save money and produce more down the road, they will—often tossing ethical concerns to the side. Need proof? Just look at Big Pharma’s sales of harmful drugs, their cycle of side effects and treatments, or even how they want to make genetically modified plants to produce pharmaceutical drugs. Need more proof? Look at Monsanto and environmentally destructive herbicides. The latest movement towards increased production at a lesser cost comes in the form of genetically modified trees.
Further Altering Nature, Now with Genetically Modified Trees!
Genetically modified trees are being developed in the U.S. and around the world. A new paper, circulated at outside of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Convention on Biological Diversity cautions that GM tree research is being done without much oversight and with limited information.
As reported on the Science and Development Network, the industries pushing this research are those that can serve to make money off of the GMO trees. They are testing their genetic alterations in the lab with poplars, pines, acacias, and eucalyptus trees just to name a few.
So far, the U.S. has the most patents with 53% and Brazil follows close behind. In all, 21 countries are working on the GMO trees. So, what are they trying to do? From an industrial standpoint, they are looking to “perfect” the trees—make them more useful and more valuable, not recognizing the value of trees goes far beyond their ability to make nice paper or fancy hardwood floors.
They are working on developing wood with less lignin, for instance, which will make it easier to process. They are also working to develop trees that are more pest-resistant, obviously ignoring the issues of GMO crops and their damage to the delicate natural balance.
Isis Alvarez, of the Global Forest Coalition, cautions that these researchers are being hasty in their projects. She says they are pushing the industry to “escalate without any consideration to the environmental or social impacts, and with little or no oversight or monitoring from governments”.
One has to wonder if they’ve thought ahead, to what would happen, for instance, if the trees were completely pest resistant. What would happen to the pests who no longer had wood for homes and food? When they died off, what would happen to the birds who depend on them for their own food—and so on. Likely, the corporations which are no doubt behind the research are concerned with one thing and one thing only—their bottom line.
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