To Whom it May Concern,
I am writing to support Global Justice Ecology Project’s STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Campaign. GJEP’s co-founders have been leaders in the effort to end the genetic engineering of trees since 1999. We have no control over the movement of insects, birds and mammals, wind and rain that carry pollen. Genetically engineered trees, with the potential to transfer pollen for hundreds of miles carrying genes for traits including insect resistance, herbicide resistance, sterility and reduced lignin, thus have the potential to wreak ecological havoc throughout the world’s native forests. GE trees could also impact wildlife as well as rural and indigenous communities that depend on intact forests for their food, shelter, water, livelihood and cultural practices. As a geneticist, I believe there are far too many unknowns and unanswered questions to be growing genetically engineered plants – food crops or trees – in open fields. GE trees should not be released into the environment in commercial plantations and any outdoor test plots or existing plantations should be removed. Global Justice Ecology Project is coordinating efforts in North America with the Stop GE Trees Campaign, a network of more than a dozen national and regional groups; and they are facilitating an international alliance of groups working on the GE tree threat all over the world. I support their efforts to end the hasty and far too premature rush to grow genetically engineered trees outside of controlled lab facilities. That is why I agreed to narrate the video “A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat of Genetically Engineered Trees” which Global Justice Ecology Project co-produced. I encourage you to join me in supporting the work of the STOP GE Trees Campaign against genetically engineered trees because it is critical work that too few are doing.
Dr. David Suzuki Emeritus Professor of Genetics, University of British Columbia