environmental racism Archive

Who’s Googling Your Genes?

March 28th, 2006

In their biannual Captain Hook Awards for Biopiracy, the Coalition Against Biopiracy has dubbed Google Inc. Biggest Threat to Genetic Privacy for teaming up with J. Craig Venter to create a searchable online database of all the genes on the planet so that individuals and pharmaceutical companies alike can ‘google’ our genes – one day bringing the tools of biopiracy online.

From the nomination:

Google’s motto, “Don’t be Evil,” may soon take a backseat to a new mission statement unveiled by CEO Eric Schmidt in early March 2006: “We want to be able to store everybody’s information all the time.” Already causing concern over the way it uses (or could use) the vast amount of Google-user information it has collected and stored over the years, the company has now set the sights of its all-seeing eyes even higher. Google’s massive computer power and cutting-edge data-mining capacity make it a logical partner for Craig Venter and his ever-expanding collection of DNA samples taken from humans, animals and microbes living in soil, sea and air.

We Won

March 24th, 2006

The governments assembled at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meetings in Brazil today reached an agreed to stop the push towards commercialising so called ‘terminator’ (sterile) seeds – a huge victory for the safety of the world’s food supplies:

“This is a momentous day for the 1,4 billion poor people world wide, who depend on farmer saved seeds,” said Francisca Rodriguez of Via Campesina a world wide movement of peasant farmers, “Terminator seeds are a weapon of mass destruction and an assault on our food sovereignty.

Read the full article on banterminator.org

Climate Justice

November 19th, 2005

Just a few years ago, it seemed that ‘Climate Justice’ — the analysis of climate change as an issue of social justice as much as an environmental one — was a concept being recognised only by grassroots community groups, and indigenous rights campaigners on the forefront of community fights against the oil industry. Now more than ever, more mainstream environmental groups are taking up the fight in solidarity with communities already feeling the worst affects of climate change. Friends of the Earth International has focussed their climate change campaign around issues of Environmental Justice, and networks such as Rising Tide and Energy Action within the developed countries are adopting EJ principles and working to ensure that the voices of those most alienated by continued unjust energy policies are heard at the forefront their campaigning work.

Today, though, I read something that surprised me. A paper published in Nature this week by group at University of Wisconsin and reported in The Guardian details what many of us have been saying for a long time — that the impacts of climate change will disproportianately impact those who are both least responsible for causing the problem, and have been most affected by the injustices of the oil production cycle. Given the failure in recent times of the scientific community to stand up for the science of climate change in the face of increasing numbers of oil industry-funded “skeptics”, it’s great to see this kind of important analysis now being published.



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