All of us at Global Justice Ecology Project wish you and yours a peaceful and healthy holiday and New Year!

Looking forward to 2021 GJEP is planning to continue to build our work to defend forests, address the roots of the biodiversity and climate crises, support Mapuche and people’s struggles for freedom in Chile, and expand our role to help small nonprofits more effectively pursue their missions.

Please consider a donation to GJEP today to continue this important work. This holiday season, a donor will double your generous donation up to $5,000!

Protecting Forests, Stopping GE Trees and Advancing Climate Justice

In September of this year, the USDA published a petition seeking permission to release a new, unproven genetically engineered Darling 58 (D58) American chestnut tree into eastern US forests. If approved, this GE tree would be allowed to spread uncontrollably in wild forests with no follow up, monitoring or regulation.

A detailed analysis of their petition has revealed extreme shortcomings. First, this new GE tree has only been tested in the field since 2017–hardly sufficient to understand how it will behave for decades in the forest. Second, the risk assessments that were done were completely invalid–one study on the impact on pollinators used pollen from non-GE American chestnuts! This is an irreversible experiment with our forests with no clue as to the long-term risks.

Our work this past year gathered an historic number of names and groups registering their opposition to this dangerous scheme and in 2021, this movement building work will continue as we also continue our crucial public education program.

But it is not just US forests that are at risk. D58 GE tree is at the leading edge of the effort by industry to expand the disaster of industrial forestry around the world. If the D58 is approved, precedent will be set to approve GE trees for use in industrial tree plantations in the Southern US and Global South. They displace local communities and obliterate biodiversity. Adding GE trees will make these impacts even worse.

GE trees would also exacerbate climate change. Converting forests to water-greedy plantations greatly exacerbates the risk of horrific wildfires. And studies show that wild forests store 4x the carbon of tree plantations.

2020 saw unprecedented climate-related catastrophes, from hurricanes to massive fires. So we are doubling down in our commitment in 2021 to stopping GE trees and tree plantations.

Supporting the Struggle for Freedom in Chile

Mapuche man marches in Santiago, Chile during the Peoples’ Uprising in December 2019.

Toward the end of last year, GJEP and our partners at Biofuelwatch were in Chile. We were documenting a massive public uprising that was demanding a new constitution and the elimination of the crushing Neoliberal economic model that had created the largest income gap in Latin America and handed over huge swaths of Indigenous Mapuche territories for timber plantations. We are continuing to support the struggle for justice in Chile.

On October 25th of this year, one year after the uprising began, 80% of the people in Chile voted for a new constitution to replace that written under the bloody US-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. This is an opening toward a future with justice, but there is much work to be done. The government working with transnational corporations in the country to undermine the peoples’ victory and try to pit social movements against each other.

We are staying in touch with groups and contacts in the region to do what we can to  support their efforts for social justice, economic transformation and Indigenous rights.

Enabling Small Non-Profits to Focus Their Energy on Their Important Work

In 2021 GJEP will continue to expand our role as fiscal sponsor for groups doing crucial work for ecological and social justice, forest protection and human rights. This helps them minimize bureaucracy so they can focus on their missions. The groups include BiofuelWatch, North American Megadams Resistance Alliance, Vermont Street Medics, A Center for Grassroots Organizing, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, and REDD-Monitor.


You make our cutting edge work possible. Please send a DOUBLED donation today.

Thank you for all you have already done to make this important work a reality.

Have a warm and peaceful Holiday,

Anne Petermann
Executive Director

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

The Role of Eucalyptus in Brazil comes under the Crosshairs of the International Anti-Transgenic Tree Network (June 2, 2023)

Impact of monoculture in territories was the subject of visits led by FASE in Espírito Santo


Note: FASE were co-organizers of the tour to the communities of Espírito Santo.

The article (included below in full) is written by Claudio Nogueira (FASE Communications Coordinator) and originally appeared June 2nd, 2023, on FASE’s website. It is available in both Portugese and English through Google Translate.


The pulp industry writes a sad story in Brazil. Its role in land occupation with eucalyptus monoculture imprints a perverse logic that suffocates traditional communities and goes far beyond false ideas of reforestation and environmental concern. This was the scenario encountered by members of the campaign “Stop GM Trees” (No to Transgenic Trees) and the Alert Against Green Deserts Network, in a tour organized by the FASE Espírito Santo team, visiting locations in the north of Espírito Santo and the extreme south in Bahia, between the 24th and 29th of May.

In all, around 25 people, including popular educators, quilombola and landless leaders, environmentalists and foreign researchers from Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Ireland, Argentina and Chile were able to verify the impact of eucalyptus plantations on the way of life of family farmers and traditional communities in the region. For three days, the group got to know the experiences of agroecological practices in areas taken over by the Landless Workers Movement (MST) at the Egídio Brunetto Training School and at the Índio Galdino settlement, in addition to hearing reports of the difficulties faced by the quilombola communities of Volta Miúda and Angelim 2 with monoculture plantations. After the visits,

eucalyptus espirito santo

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

For Beto Loureiro, educator at FASE in Espírito Santo, the tour was important for the researchers to realize that the impacts are already terrible, and the transgenic trees are going to be one more aggression in the historical series that monoculture causes in the territories, “since the expulsion of traditional communities, passing through the depletion of water resources and the enormous amount of poisons that they apply now, even by air”. “They are spraying the monocultures by drone, and this poison is spreading, falling on the communities’ plantations, falling on their homes, on their schools. In short, a real chemical war, which takes place here in the green desert, ”he explains.

Transgenic trees, a new threat

Brazil was chosen to host the meeting due to the extension of activities in the paper industry and approval by the company Suzano, in 2021, for the planting of genetically modified eucalyptus trees to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate. This follows the previous approval, in 2015, of FuturaGene’s fast-growing transgenic eucalyptus tree, which was not planted commercially. The country is the only one in Latin America where field tests seem to be taking place today with genetically modified trees.

Genetic engineering directly changes the genetic makeup (DNA) of an organism, bypassing normal plant or animal reproduction to create new traits. Genetic engineering includes techniques that make changes to DNA by inserting genetic material from the same, similar or wholly unrelated organisms, or, with genome editing (also called gene editing), by introducing genetic material that acts as “editor” to change the DNA. Genetic engineering applied to trees is a technical challenge fraught with serious environmental and social risks.

Photo: Claudio Nogueira

Most research is focused on increasing the productivity of planted trees for various industrial purposes. These objectives include pulp, paper and wood production; as well as the use of trees as “bioenergy” crops – to produce biomass and liquid “cellulosic biofuel”. There is also some interest in genetically modifying trees to produce other industrial materials such as pharmaceuticals, using the trees as “biofactories”, as well as experiments to sell carbon credits and proposals to release these trees into the wild to “restor” endangered species. of extinction.

“It made us realize that it is another problem that we will have to deal with”, ponders Beto. “These transgenic eucalyptus trees grow very quickly. Therefore, they must also suck water very quickly, they are resistant to poisons. We can imagine that the burden of poisons in monocultures will increase, and that is what we expect from these researchers: that they return to their countries also understanding that non-transgenic eucalyptus is already a tragedy”, he concludes.

The foreign delegation continued its tour of Brazil with audiences at UnB and Esplanada dos Ministérios, in Brasília, and will continue to Mato Grosso do Sul, also to verify the role of eucalyptus plantations in the environmental imbalance in the state.