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From: Antony Evans
Date: May 7, 2013 1:34:33 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Request to Cancel the Kickstarter Synthetic Biology ‘Glowing Plants’ project.
Dear Jim Thomas and Eric Hoffman,
Thank you for your interest in our project and taking the time to write to us with your concerns. Please allow me to clarify and expand upon a few key points.
An Israeli startup selling genetically-modified glow-in-the-dark plants over the Web has drawn the ire of environmentalists who are demanding it be withdrawn.
2 May 2013 Dear Antony Evans,
Request to Cancel the Kickstarter Synthetic Biology ʻGlowing Plantsʼ project.
We are writing to express our concern, in the strongest possible terms, about the project you have listed on Kickstarter, which, as currently advertised, will likely result in widespread, random and uncontrolled release of bioengineered seeds and plants produced with synthetic biology techniques. We respectfully request that this project, which poses real world risks to the environment, be abandoned as currently described.
April 30, 2013
1400 Independence Avenue,
SW Room 1147
Washington DC 20250
Ms. Bethany Jones:
155 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002
30th April 2013
Dear Perry Chen, Charles Adler and Yancey Strickler:
Request for Kickstarter to cancel the Synthetic Biology ‘Glowing Plant: Natural Lighting with No Electricity’ project
Frankly it was all a set up. In the delightfully romantic setting of an old Cambridge college in springtime, complete with free drinks and delicious food, the organizers of last weeks 'Future of Nature' Conference smiled on conspiratorially as their contrivances to introduce two awkward strangers played out over 3 days.
The strangers in this case were not so much boy-meets-girl as naturalist-meets-geek and what they purportedly had in common was biology. The Future of Nature had been billed as an encounter between the synthetic biology community (biotech scientists practicing an extreme form of genetic engineering that builds artificial organisms) and the conservation biology community who are still trying to hold back the frontier of wildlife destruction for non-engineered nature.
African Centre for Biosafety, ETC Group, FoodMattersZimbabwe and CTDT
Johannesburg, Harare, Mexico City 15 April 2013
The distracting allure of a technofix is a common trick deployed by those pushing risky technologies. Nuclear power we are told might just solve climate change, GM food could feed the hungry, "DDT is good for you" etc. But the latest eyecatching technofix under discussion at a conference in Cambridge this week is a real dodo: 'Synthetic Biology' we are now told will reverse extinction of species and conserve biodiversity. Really ?
Climate Drift: Geoengineers have a problem. Computer modeling suggests that blocking solar radiation in the temperate zone (to preserve Arctic ice or to forestall massive methane releases) could cool the Northern hemisphere but its impact could also drift South, creating severe climatic disruptions by dampening down Asia’s monsoon while drying out Africa’s Sahel. Not a popular proposition.
Now, geoengineers may hope they have a solution. A new study in Nature Climate Change[i] by the UK Government’s Meteorological Office suggests that some form of solar radiation management could mitigate the conventional vicissitudes of nature. According to the report, volcanic eruptions north of the equator in the 20th century either contributed to – or caused – droughts along the African equator and further South.