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Eucalyptus plantation in Brazil.  Photo: Petermann

One year ago, on June 18, Pope Francis released his encyclical on the environment. This ground breaking document addressed issues including GMOs and climate change – a first for the Catholic church.

On June 21 of this year, the National Catholic Reporter released the article below which references Pope Francis’ Encyclical and the term “integral ecology,” which refers to how everything is interconnected. The article goes on to relate this to the lives and relations of trees and the “perilous danger” posed to them by genetic engineering.

Author Sharon Abercrombie produced a well-researched piece that gives a good synopsis of the problems with GE trees including the efforts of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees to prevent disaster.

From the National Catholic Reporter piece:

Trees are one of those interconnected nodes in that network inhabiting the universe that know much about integral ecology. Peter Wohlleben, a German forest ranger, has provided us with a wondrous peek into their lives. The extent to which they live it is quite extraordinary.

Trees are beings with social networks that look out and protect one another, Wohlleben reveals in his best-selling 2015 book, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate. The 51-year-old career forest ranger’s book has been an immense hit so far in Germany and continues to sit atop the Spiegel best-seller list for nonfiction. An English translation is expected in September.

Abercrombie reviews the Global Asunción Declaration, which came out of a GE Trees strategy meeting co-organized by Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) in November 2014.  “The statement was put out by an international group of biologists, geneticists, indigenous peoples, community organizers and ecologists, [and] sounds the warning that those trees which are especially engineered to constantly produce insecticides would adversely affect pollinators and beneficial predators needed for food production and the food chain, including songbirds.”

GJEP Executive Director and Campaign to STOP GE Trees Coordinator Anne Petermann is interviewed in the piece, discussing the problem of genetically engineered trees.

“GE tree proponents want to plant them directly into forests with the intention of contaminating wild American chestnuts with their pollen and spread the GE chestnuts further. The USDA has already given ArborGen permission to sell a GE loblolly pine with no government oversight, no risk assessments and no ability for the public to comment or even know what is happening,” she told NCR.

 Check out the full article here.


Kip Doyle, Media Coordinator
The Campaign to STOP GE Trees