Prince Charles on his reservations about Technology and GE organisms
Quoth Prince Charles on the marvel of technology and the
rush to run with it…….Especially related to genetically altering organisms, and releasing them into our environment…
Technology, its advances and its disasters and side affects. Is it always worthwhile, that new invention? What about Philadelphia going totally broadband? Should we keep a cancer check henceforth for the brotherly love city, and see if there is an increase in this most dreaded disease due to the technology emitting waves of energy that might harm our cells and DNA?
What about genetically modified foods? Are the crops they came from safe to unleash to mate with other unmodified or unaltered crops? Or will there be an horrendous catastrophe waiting for us down the road? Like those GE (Genetically Engineered, though too often the “engineering” is actually just lucky shooting or “gene-gunning” the desired gene complex into a plate of agared organisms.) trees that are being grown in Central America, as a global warming trade of credits. The trees so full of the toxic bacillus thuringiensis in their cells that birds and other animals sense not to live in them or symbiose with them. If you look at the picture of a part of the forest of these trees you will notice that nothing is growing in between the trees. It’s like a sterile forest. Wouldn’t that be terrific if the pollen from these trees bred with other oaks and elms and poplars, and resulted in more toxic trees? And these trees
eclipsed the natural untoxic trees we have become accustomed to? Even sending good healthy needed species into extinction?
Yes, we have those airplanes in the skies, and television, and electron microscopes, and non-breakable plastic containers. But, well, here, think about Prince Charles said….
“At the moment, as is so often the case with technology, we seem to spend most of our time establishing what is technically possible, and then a little time trying to establish whether or not it is likely to be safe, without ever stopping to ask whether it is something we SHOULD be doing in the first place.”
– – – Prince Charles of England
EXCERPT ON GENETIC ENGINEERING FROM THE 1996 LADY EVE BALFOUR MEMORIAL LECTURE DELIVERED BY HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES AT THE BANQUETING HALL.
LONDON 19 SEPTEMBER 1996
(His Royal Highness = HRH)
Here’s more of Prince Charles’ talk. Any comments, please, mail to email@example.com
Perhaps we’ll post a few.
Prince Charles on GE (but GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism).
(Thanks to Cliff Kinzel for distributing this through the Ban-GEF newsgroup)
“Of course, biotechnology, genetic engineering, release of GMOs, call it what you will is a particularly emotive subject, and I do not intend to stoke those emotions tonight. I shall content myself with quoting from the January 1996 report of the government’s Panel on Sustainable Development.
They acknowledge, as I do, that the release of genetically modified organisms COULD lead to major advances in medicine, agriculture and the good health of the environment. Then they go on to say, crisply and clearly, that – and I quote:
“The introduction of GMOs must proceed with caution to ensure that any benefits now are not made at the expense of the safety and well-being of future generations and their environment. Once released …. a GMO cannot be recalled: the action is irreversible. More than in other areas
there is uncertainty about the long-term outcome of human actions and of human ability to deal with the consequences. Introduced genes may over time spread to other organisms with consequences that cannot necessarily be foreseen.
And they end with a stark warning when they say, and again I am quoting their words:
“Unfortunately there are many recent examples of failure to
anticipate problems arising from the use of new technologies (such as CFCs, asbestos, pesticides and thalidomide). Potential consequences are more uncertain where self-replicating organisms are introduced into the environment.
I am not sure I have much to add to that: except to say that I believe that we have now reached a moral and ethical watershed beyond which we venture into realms that belong to God, and to God alone. Apart from certain medical applications, what actual right do we have to experiment,
Frankenstein-like, with the very stuff of life? We live in an age of rights – – it seems to me that it is about time our Creator had some rights too
I am sure that the Government’s response, in the shape of a
consultative process and a national conference, will be a great help. And it is, of course, reassuring to know that in this country we already have one of the most open and thorough regulatory systems in the world for assessing the possible consequences of releasing GMOs into the environment. But that system has not been designed to weigh up the benefits of this dramatic new technology against the risks, nor can it compare the biotechnological approach with more conventional ways of achieving the same ends.
At the moment, as is so often the case with technology, we seem to spend most of our time establishing what is technically possible, and then a little time trying to establish whether or not it is likely to be safe, without ever stopping to ask whether it is something we SHOULD be doing in the first place. I believe that this particular technology is so powerful and so far-reaching that we should seek ways of engaging a wide range of people and interests in a thorough ethical debate about how and where it should be applied.
I know that commissions are not altogether fashionable at the moment, and that they are only as influential as the recipients of their recommendations are prepared to make them, but I do wonder whether there isn’t a strong case for a standing body, like The Royal commission on Environmental Pollution – which itself produced a crucial report on GMO releases, as long ago as 1989. A Public Biotechnology Commission would provide a forum for discussion by people with knowledge and vision of the whole spectrum of possible effects, both good and bad. Such a body would help to bridge the gap that I believe exists between a tiny group of knowledgeable experts and the rest of us. At the moment I fear we are equally susceptible to the arguments of vociferous and plausible vested interests and to the somewhat apocalyptic scare-mongering of those for whom any scientific advance is anathema.”
– – – – Prince Charles of England
Richard Wolfson, PhD might be interesting to contact, or visit the website listed below:
Campaign for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term
Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods
Natural Law Party, 500 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
Tel. 613-565-8517 Fax. 613-565-1596
His website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html
contains more information on genetic engineering.
To receive regular news on genetic engineering and this campaign, please send an email message with ‘subscribe GE’ in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wolfson’s next messages…..
* Erorganic@aol.com: “Organic Farmers and Handlers Peer Certification Process”
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So let’s keep advancing. But view technology as an entity that might not quite fit the godhead throne we put it on. Don’t know if I want my eyeballs lasered so I can read better now. What if there is a crinkling and a shrinking in thirty years, and my sight is permanently doinked?? And I’m only 57 years old?? Are there any long-term studies on the long term effects of this type of surgery for the opthalmologists and their desperate myopic patients??
I do like my DVD’s and CD’s and one day I’ll have an ipod, maybe even do podcasts!
Would you like that?? I was a DJ for 25 years, and I like all kinds of music. Especially rock ‘n’ roll, and the bands of today like Jackpot (on Surfdog Records) and Feable Weiner (out of Oklahoma) and Xink, from Der Nederlands, over in Europe.
If you make more peace, peace will spread and multiply, and ease the hearts of the terrorist-paranoid. If you make more war, the sparks will kindle, and the Earth will live in increased fear and dread, leading to more war, and the destabilization of our civilization, first in pockets, like the Middle East, and then —
these pockets firing off frighteningly destructive salvos, coalescing, and spreading like cancer, widening the scale of war over what could and should be a peaceful planet.
For we live in a tinier and tinier world it seems, and one big reason for that is: TECHNOLOGY!! Shan’t we use it rightly?!?
Peace and Love,