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Campaign to Stop GE Trees

Sign our petition to the USDA demanding a ban on the planting of Genetically Engineered Trees! Click here to go to the online petition.

The effort to permanently stop GE trees is reaching a critical stage: It is essential to have a broad network of organizations, grassroots groups, alliances, and coalitions that are informed and mobilized to spread the word about the GE tree threat to their constituencies and activate them on the issue. The Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered Trees was started to do just that.

The mission of the Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered Trees is to protect forests and biodiversity, and to provide support to communities threatened by the dangerous environmental release of genetically engineered trees.

The Campaign is an alliance of national, international, regional, and local organizations, the goal of which is a global ban on the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment.

GJEP coordinates the Campaign, and the Steering Committee includes: BJ McManama of Indigenous Environmental Network, Dr. Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch, Winnie Overbeek and Teresa Perez of World Rainforest Movement, Lucy Sharatt of Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and Orin Langelle of GJEP and the Critical Information Collective. Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher of EcoNexus and the Federation of German Scientists and Dr. Marti Crouch, both geneticists, are scientific advisors to the Campaign, and George Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety and Marc Fink of the Center for Biological Diversity are legal advisors to the Campaign.

Members of the Steering Committee

[toggle title=”Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project and Langelle Photography“]

Orin Langelle is a photojournalist and the Director of Langelle Photography.

Since 1972, Langelle has documented peoples’ resistance to war, corporate globalization, ecological destruction, and human rights abuses as a concerned photographer.

He also co-founded both the Global Justice Ecology Project, and is now the chair of its board of directors, and the Campaign to Stop GE Trees.


[toggle title=”BJ McManama, Indigenous Environmental Network“]

BJ McManama is Seneca and has been involved with Indigenous and environmental issues for the past 20 years, working with IEN for the past 8 years.

The Indigenous Environmental Network has networked and organized with Indigenous Peoples and communities globally on issues related to Indigenous land rights and autonomy. Most recently IEN has focused on the impacts of energy corporations on Indigenous communities in North America; and on the impacts of land grabbing and forest carbon offsets schemes on Indigenous communities in North America and globally.


[toggle title=”Winne Overbeek & Teresa Perez, World Rainforest Movement“]

World Rainforest Movement has been involved in addressing the threats of GE trees since 2004, when they produced the report: “Genetically Modified Trees: The Ultimate Threat to Forests.”

In 2005 WRM, Global Forest Coalition, and Global Justice Ecology Project organized a joint workshop on GE trees for activists and Indigenous Peoples from across South America.  The workshop was held in Victoria, Brazil and included field trips to Indigenous Guarani and Tupinikim communities who were taking their land back from industrial eucalyptus plantations operated by Aracruz Cellulose.

In 2007 they produced an updated report entitled Transgenic Trees.

They keep abreast of GE trees developments around the Global South, and have a network of hundreds of organizations throughout the Global South with whom they work on deforestation and stopping monoculture timber plantations.  In 2008 they produced “GE Trees: A Country by country Overview” detailing current developments with GE trees.

Winnie Overbeek, the Executive Secretary of World Rainforest Movement, sits on the Steering Committee of the Campaign. Winnie is a long-time Brazil-based activist and is an expert in the dangers of industrial eucalyptus plantations.  He has long been closely connected to the anti-plantation Green Deserts Movement in Brazil.  He speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently.


[toggle title=”Lucy Sharrat, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network“]

Lucy Sharrat, who works as the Coordinator for CBAN, is a long-time genetic engineering activist who formerly coordinated the international effort that won a moratorium on the commercialization of so-called Terminator Technology through the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity.
Lucy was on the original Steering Committee of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees beginning in 2004 and monitored developments with GE trees in Canada. Due in part to CBAN’s efforts, GE forest tree research in Canada became highly controversial and largely ended. CBAN’s current focus is on GE fruit trees, in particular the campaign to stop the GE “non-browning” apple (developed by a small Canadian company).
CBAN is a collaborative of 17 organizations that campaign for food sovereignty and environmental justice. Together, they promote democratic decision-making on science and technology issues in order to protect the integrity of the environment, health, food, and the livelihoods of people in Canada and around the world by facilitating, informing and organizing civil society action, researching, and providing information to government for policy development.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator 
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) 
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5 
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506 

[toggle title=”Dr. Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch US“]

Rachel Smolker, co-director of Biofuelwatch (BFW) is an active member of the Campaign to Stop GE Trees Steering Committee. Smolker has a Ph.D. in biology.

Biofuelwatch works to oppose GE trees as part of their effort to resist industrial and commercial scale bioenergy, which seeks to engineer crops and trees for feedstocks.

BFW aims to provide a bridge to science that is useful to activists.


[toggle title=”Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher, EcoNexus (Scientific Advisor)“]

Dr. Steinbrecher is the Co-Director of EcoNexus. She is a molecular geneticist and developmental biologist. She has a PhD from the University of London, UK, and a first class honors M.Sc. from the University of Kiel, Germany (1985).

Since 1995 she has been working on genetically modified organisms, their risks and potential consequences on health, food security, agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystems, with a particular focus on GM trees, GM mosquitoes and terminator technology.  She co-authored several reports and documents on GE trees which are found on the EcoNexus website.

She is advisor and consultant to many national and international organizations and processes and has acted as scientific expert in governmental and public consultations and court cases. She collaborates and works alongside civil society organizations, women’s organizations and farmers’ groups in the global North and South, in particular Asia.

She has been closely involved with the UN-led international negotiations and implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety of genetically modified organisms since 1995 and serves on its Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Risk Assessment and Risk Management of Genetically Modified Organisms.

She is a member of the Federation of German Scientists and a founder member of the European Network of Scientist for Social and Environmental Responsibility.


[toggle title=”Ruddy Turnstone, Global Justice Ecology Project’s GE Trees Coordinator“]

Ruddy Turnstone is a GE trees campaigner for Global Justice Ecology Project, working to ban genetically engineered trees from commercialization globally. When she is not fighting mutant trees she loves tree climbing. Ruddy provides direct action climb trainings for the Earth First! Climbers Guild, Greenpeace, the Backbone Campaign and at Trans and Women’s Action Camps, and tree climbing to the public as recreation.

Ruddy has also been an Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) community organizer since 2007. Through EEF! She provides direct action trainings for and is organizing with Seminole Tribal Members and Independent Traditional Seminole Nation supporting their efforts to fight one of the largest fossil fuel power plants in the country, which is slated to be built right next to the Seminole Tribe’s Big Cypress Reservation in south Florida. Since 2010 through EEF! and the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition she has also been working to stop a 682 acre forest from turning into a biotech city in South Florida. She is also on the Campaign to Stop GE Trees steering committee.



Campaign Coordinator

[toggle title=”Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project“]

Anne Petermann is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project. She is also the Coordinator of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees; the North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition; and a member of the Board of Directors of the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series.

She has been involved in movements for forest protection and Indigenous rights since 1991, and the international and national climate justice movements since 2004. She co-founded the Eastern North American Resource Center of the Native Forest Network in 1993, and the STOP GE Trees Campaign in 2004. She also participated in the founding of the Durban Group for Climate Justice in 2004 and Climate Justice Now! in 2007 at the Bali UN Climate Conference. In 2008, Global Justice Ecology Project spearheaded the founding of the North American Mobilization for Climate Justice.

Anne speaks around the world about climate justice and against socially and environmentally destructive “false solutions” to climate change. She is also a foremost expert on the destructive social, ecological and climatological impacts of genetically engineered trees, and also speaks about the impacts of second generation biofuels made from wood.

She presents on these subjects at capacity-building trainings for indigenous peoples, and at conferences including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Forum on Forests, and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

She is the author of several reports detailing the dangers of genetically engineered trees, and second generation cellulosic biofuels agrofuels, including their impacts on forests and forest dependent peoples. She is also a frequent contributor to Z Magazine.

She was adopted as an honorary member of the Saint Francis-Sokoki band of the Abenaki in 1992 due to her work in support of their struggle for state recognition.

In 2000 she received the Wild Nature Award for Activist of the year.



Media Coordinator: Kip Doyle