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From the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered (GE) Trees, Global Justice Ecology Project, Earth First!, Dogwood Alliance, Biofuelwatch, Global Forest Coalition, REAL Cooperative

For Immediate Release: 25 May 2013

Opponents of genetically engineered (GE) trees join March Against Monsanto

Organizations gear up for week-long protests and events against GE trees

Asheville, NC (US)-Groups and participants from the Campaign to STOP GE Trees rallied and marched in today’s March Against Monsanto in Asheville, which drew over 1000 people.  Millions of people in hundreds of cities internationally protested the GMO food and chemical giant, Monsanto, condemning their unethical and dangerous practices.

Anti-GE tree demonstrators have converged in Asheville to confront the bi-annual Tree Biotechnology conference of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) that starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday, 1 June.  ArborGen, one of the sponsors of the IUFRO conference, wants to commercially sell millions of GE eucalyptus trees in seven southern states from South Carolina to Texas.

Thomas Llewellyn, who helped organize the Asheville March Against Monsanto, spoke to the thousand plus crowd before the march, stating, “It’s important to make the connection between companies like Monsanto with their GMO food and ArborGen and their GE trees.  When you look into it a little farther you can see that many Monsanto employees have gone to ArborGen and Monsanto was even an early partner in the venture that became ArborGen.”  Llewellyn continued, “Our food supply has been threatened with genetic contamination for a long time but we have a chance to stop these GE trees before it’s too late.”

Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees also addressed the crowd prior to the march, “The US South is on the front lines of the fight to stop genetically engineered trees.  Companies like ArborGen want to see GE eucalyptus and other trees in vast plantations across the South, but this is still one fight we can win.  GE trees have not yet been legalized, so we can still stop them.  And if we stop them here, we can stop the disaster of GE trees from being exported all over the world.”

ArborGen claims GE trees can be used for climate change mitigation. The groups protesting the IUFRO conference say GE trees are a false solution to climate change and will actually worsen it.

Protests are planned throughout the upcoming week against the IUFRO Tree Biotechnology conference. Educational events are also scheduled that will discuss the dangers of GE trees, biomass electricity and other forms of extreme energy false solutions including nuclear power, fracking, tar sands and coal mining.

Keith Brunner, Communications Associate, Global Justice Ecology Project, keith@gjep2020.local +1.201.906.4484
Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director, Dogwood Alliance, scot@dogwoodalliance.org, +1.828.242.3596

Also see: List of Experts Available For Interview

For details on the week of events against GE trees, visit treebiotech2013.org