Project News and Views
Life Beyond Genetics: Science and Power in the 21st Century: Talk by Jonathan Latham, PhD at Cornell University
Jonathan Latham will be speaking on March 22, 2018 at 7pm in Rockefeller Hall, Room 102, on the Cornell University Campus. The talk is free and open to the public. It is the first of the PEACE Talks series, sponsored by the Cornell Students for Animal Rights.
You can download a poster here: https://bioscienceresource.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/JRL-Peace-Talk-Poster.jpeg
Talk synopsis: The starting point for the talk will be the assertion that there is a key unappreciated distinction between Indigenous and Western thought and this distinction is the latters’ preoccupation with genetics. The genetic determinist orientation of Western thought grew out of the sedentist desire to inherit wealth and land in the fertile crescent. This desire developed into an obsession with genetics and lineage—which is very evident in the bible—to become a key attribute of the Judaeo-Christian religion. It was Plato’s “myth of the metals” incorporated into a religion, with all the disempowerment of the populace that that concept entails. Genetics was a key element to the spread of Christianity through Europe and elsewhere because genetic concepts enabled authoritarian political systems based on monarchy, patriarchy, nationalism, racism, as well as the inheritance of wealth, since each of these elements is premised on it. Much later, this same hereditarian fixation became transmuted into a scientific one. Most importantly however, the modern science of genetics is hardly more based on evidence than was its religious counterpart. In the final analysis, all organisms are systems. Organisms are thus not the product of genetic programmes and neither are genes master molecules. Therefore, it follows that science appropriated genetic theories of biological reproduction not because of evidence but for the reason that genetic premises were already so deeply ingrained in Western thought and Western power structures as to be unchallengeable. This thesis has important implications. First, that genetic determinism is the unappreciated driver behind much of modern political power and oppression. And second, since its premise is now readily disprovable, its disproof offers a potential route to redistributing social and political power.
You can download a poster of all the PEACE Talks here: https://bioscienceresource.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Main-Poster.jpg
A Precautionary Tale: How One Small Town Banned Pesticides, Preserved Its Food Heritage, and Inspired a Movement
Published Monday 19th February 2018 in Independent Science News:
A book review by Allison Wilson, PhD, Science Director, The Bioscience Resource Project
Synopsis: The Tyrolean commercial apple industry had begun to expand into the mountain community of Mals, Italy. Two experimental orchards had already been planted to test which varieties best suited the area. More ominously, pesticide drift from its industrial apple farms had been detected at high levels in the area’s schoolyards and on the produce of organic farms. The citizens of Mals realized they needed to act fast if they wanted to pursue their vision of a diversified and sustainable local economy. The story of Mals and its subsequent historic referendum to ban all pesticides in the municipality, and therefore bar “Big Apple”, is the perfect counterpoint to the unfolding drama of the Dicamba drift catastrophe in the U.S. midwest. Philip Ackerman-Leist’s important new book could not have come at a better time.
Mals stands out as a community that decided to create toxic-free food and agriculture systems through real democracy, democracy based on the active participation of citizens. Read the story of Mals to get inspired. And act.
~Dr. Vandana Shiva (Foreward to A Precautionary Tale).
To read the full book review go to: https://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/a-precautionary-tale-how-one-small-town-banned-pesticides/
Published Tuesday Dec. 12th, 2017, by Independent Science News: “How the Once Tiny Waste Management Industry Captured EPA and Became VERY BIG“ was written by William Sanjour.
Synopsis: One of the consistently most popular articles on Independent Science News is “Designed to Fail: Why Regulatory Agencies Don’t Work” by EPA whistleblower William Sanjour. “Designed to Fail” details the internal workings of EPA and how “concentrating all legislative, executive and judiciary authority in one regulatory agency just makes it easier for it to be corrupted by the industries it regulates.” Agencies organised in such a way fail to fulfill their mandates of protecting the public and the environment, even when little or no apparent pressure is applied by industry or politicians, because their incapacities are internalised and hidden. “DtF” is vital reading for anyone who wants to understand chemical pollution and regulatory failure more generally in the United States and elsewhere. In this follow-up article, which he calls a prequel, Sanjour tells the story of waste disposal in the United States and how one branch of EPA let waste be turned into an enormous polluting profit centre at public expense.
Published today, Monday Dec. 4th 2017 by Independent Science News:
“Gates Foundation Hired PR Firm to Manipulate UN Over Gene Drives,” was written
by Jonathan Latham, PhD.
Synopsis: Dec 5th is the opening day of a UN meeting in Montreal whose purpose is to help governments protect biodiversity. That meeting may decide the fate of gene drives, a technology in which the Gates Foundation is heavily invested, especially through its Target Malaria project. Gene drives are an experimental genetic technology intended to cause population extinctions. Freedom of Information act emails obtained from the University of North Carolina and released today, however, show that, in advance of that meeting, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has for months been seeking to secretly influence its outcome in favour of gene drive use. The Foundation has hired a PR consultancy which then recruited large numbers of academics and has been guiding their participation to sway an online forum organised to prepare for the Montreal meeting. This preparation has been coordinated with the insider help of three of the main participants of that upcoming UN meeting.
The entire set of Gene Drive FOIA emails can be accessed here: http://www.pricklyresearch.com/AutoIndex/index.php?dir=genedrivefiles/
Published today, Tuesday, Nov 14th, in Independent Science News, the English translation of “Years Before Vietnam, the Chemical Industry Knew About Dioxins” was first published in German by Petra Sorge in BuzzFeed.
Synopsis: Decades before the herbicide 2,4,5-T was pulled from the US market for containing dioxins, the global chemical giants Dow, BASF, Monsanto, and others, had extensive discussions amongst themselves of whether to sell dioxin-contaminated chemicals. These discussions ranged from chemical analysis of each other’s products to comments on their safety and whether to inform governments that their products contained contaminants of “extraordinary danger”.
This article is a translation from the German. The internal discussions reported in it are now available to the public for the first time thanks to The Poison Papers Project (www.poisonpapers.org). Released in July 2017, by The Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy, the Poison Papers represent 3.5 tons, over 20,000 documents, showing unprecedented concealment by industry and regulators of chemical hazards stretching back to the 1920s. Most of these documents were obtained and preserved by Carol Van Strum, an Oregon mother and activist.
The Bioscience Resource Project provides scientific and intellectual resources for a healthy future. It publishes Independent Science News, a media service devoted to food and agriculture, and their impacts on health and the environment. It also offers resources for scientists and educators and internships and training for students. Through its innovative scientific journalism and original biosafety review articles, the project provides unique and revealing perspectives on issues that are fundamental to the survival of people and the planet. The project does not accept advertising or corporate funding and is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. It is completely dependent on individual donations.
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