Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Three Arrested Blockading Bus at Genetically Engineered Tree Conference

Energy

Global Justice Ecology Project

Three demonstrators were brutally arrested yesterday at the controversial Tree Biotechnology 2013 conference in Asheville, NC. They attempted to use genetically engineered (GE) caution tape to wrap a bus full of conference participants headed for an upscale dinner at the Biltmore Estate. Dozens more groaning zombie "franken-tree" protesters banged pots and pans and chanted anti-genetically engineered tree slogans.

A local organizer with Katuah Earth First! is thrown to the ground and arrested in front of the bus. Photo courtesy of Langelle/
photolangelle.org for Global Justice Ecology Project.

Will Bennington, a campaigner with Global Justice Ecology Project and the Campaign to STOP GE Trees, was one of those arrested for blockading the buses. "We're blocking the buses because these conference attendees are on their way to dinner at the Biltmore Estate," said Bennington. "Built by the Vanderbilts, the Biltmore is a symbol of the wealthy and powerful, and one of the birthplaces of industrial forestry in the U.S., which wiped out forests from coast to coast. The tree biotechnology industry is continuing this destructive legacy. They plan to cut down native forests and replace them with GE tree plantations grown solely for the profit of the elite at the expense of local communities and biodiversity."
 
Protesters are demanding a ban on the release of GE trees into the environment. South Carolina-based ArborGen, a major conference sponsor, has a request pending with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release millions of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees annually for planting in vast plantations across the U.S. South.

Zombie “Franken-tree” demonstrators bang on pots and pans and chant anti-GE tree slogan as arrests continue. Photo courtesy of Langelle/
photolangelle.org for Global Justice Ecology Project.

On Monday, two Asheville residents were arrested after invading the conference and disrupting the opening day. On Tuesday, hundreds of people marched through the streets and rallied outside the conference hotel as conference participants took part in a workshop on the future of forest biotechnology. It was the largest anti-GE tree protest to date.
 
Wednesday, the conference organizers had planned a field trip for conference participants but it was canceled due to the threat of protests.

"Trees should not be burned for fuel—this is a false solution to climate change," said a local woman with Katuah Earth First! who was arrested yesterday. "Monoculture plantations for bioenergy are already displacing Indigenous Peoples and local communities all over the world, and they will have a major impact on rural livelihoods and biodiversity here in the U.S. South."
 
"GE trees like ArborGen's highly flammable, water-intensive and invasive eucalyptus would be especially devastating to our communities in the face of drought and extreme weather due to climate change."
 
The Tree Biotechnology 2013 conference, taking place in Asheville from May 26 May to June 1, is the premier international conference on GE trees, organized by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Derrick Jackson

By Derrick Z. Jackson

As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.

Read More Show Less
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable meeting with energy sector CEOs in the Cabinet Room of the White House April 3 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

An Important Note

No supplement, diet, or lifestyle modification — aside from social distancing and practicing proper hygiene ⁠— can protect you from developing COVID-19.

The strategies outlined below may boost your immune health, but they don't protect specifically against COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Zak Smith

It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Hector Chapa

With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.

But can these masks be effective?

Read More Show Less