Prince Charles on Technology
Website Reference (if available): http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html
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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”
? Previous message: D.B.Sullivan: “Re: Whole Foods Revenues”
See More of what Conrad says about this….