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Steering Committee

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International Steering Committee

The Campaign to STOP GE Trees is a national and international alliance of organizations that have united toward the goal of prohibiting the ecologically and socially devastating release of genetically engineered trees (GE) into the environment.

Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates, administrates and fundraises for the campaign. World Rainforest Movement, based in Uruguay, is the Southern Contact for the Campaign and has materials in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

 

Members of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees Steering Committee

Winnie Overbeek, World Rainforest Movement (International)
World Rainforest Movement has been involved in addressing the threats of GE trees since 2004, when it produced the report: Genetically Modified Trees: The Ultimate Threat to Forests.

In 2007 WRM produced an updated report entitled Transgenic Trees.

WRM keeps abreast of GE trees developments around the Global South, and has a network of hundreds of organizations throughout the Global South with whom it works to stop deforestation and monoculture timber plantations. In 2008 it produced “GE Trees: A Country by country Overview” detailing current developments with GE trees.  After a first review in 2014, this publication is currently being updated.

Besides asking attention for and collecting information about the growing problem of GE trees in the global South, WRM and Global Justice Ecology Project, jointly with national organizations, have been promoting in the past few years coordinated actions and exchanges of resistance experiences among communities and organizations in Brazil and Chile. Brazil was the first country in Latin America to deregulate a GE eucalyptus for commercial planting in spite of widespread national and international protests, and new company requests are under analysis. Chile has been doing research with pines and eucalyptus some years ago and Argentina is also doing some research with eucalyptus.

Winnie Overbeek, the International Coordinator of World Rainforest Movement, sits on the Steering Committee of the Campaign. Winnie is a long-time Brazil-based activist in the support of and networking among community struggles against industrial eucalyptus plantations in the Global South. He has long been closely connected to the anti-plantation Alert against the Green Desert Network in Brazil.  He speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese.

BJ McManama, Indigenous Environmental Network (North America)
Brenda Jo McManama has been involved with Indigenous and environmental issues for the past 20 years. For the past nine years she has and currently works with IEN in different capacities ranging from graphic design/ web administration to media coordinator. BJ was also a member of two IEN delegations who traveled to the jungles of Peru and central Mexico to meet with Indigenous community leaders. The focus of these exchanges was to share cultural information and current shared mitigation, restoration, and subsistence challenges centered on forest and aquatic regions. When not working on national and global environmental issues, BJ participates with local environmental and social justice organizations whose focuses include maintaining food security and safety, and protecting water resources and forests from encroaching extractive industries.

The Indigenous Environmental Network has brought together 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.

Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (Canada)

Lucy Sharratt works as the Coordinator for the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and has worked in research and action on genetic engineering for many years. She formerly coordinated the international effort that strengthened the global moratorium on the commercialization and filed testing of “Terminator Technology” GE sterile seed technology through the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity. Lucy was on the original Steering Committee of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees in 2004 and monitors 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 examining GE fruit trees, in particular the GE “non-browning” apple (developed by a small Canadian company). CBAN is a collaborative of 16 organizations that campaign for food sovereignty and environmental justice, on the shared platform of Tides Canada. 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)
P.O. Box 25182 Clayton Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3M 4H4
Phone: 902 209 4906
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Dr. Rachel Smolker, BiofuelWatch (U.K. and U.S.)

Dr. 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 use crops and trees as feedstocks in the manufacture of so-called renewable energy.  The massive amount of land needed to produce sufficient quantities of this alternative fuel, however, is driving massive deforestation and land grabs around the world.  GE trees are being engineered to facilitate production of these fuels.

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

Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher, EcoNexus (Scientific Advisor)(England)

Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher is the Co-Director of EcoNexus, and organization of scientists in Europe. 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 GMOs, their risks and potential consequences on health, food security, agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystems, with a particular focus on GE trees, 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 Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility.

Claire Bleakley, GE Free New Zealand

Claire Bleakley is the Coordinator of GE Free New Zealand.

GE-Free New Zealand in Food & Environment is a non-profit organisation.
We are proud to say that all crops grown and sold in New Zealand are GE Free. There is no commercial industrial growing of GE crops.
We have a five member board and a large membership. Our members come from all sectors of the community. We have been actively raising awareness around the scientific and practical problems that genetically engineered organisms (GMO) cause. (www.gefree.org.nz )
Verónica González, OLCA (Chile)
OLCA, the Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts, is an organization that supports communities facing socio-environmental conflict, caused by the predatory economic model imposed in the rural territories.

OLCA promotes participation and collective activism, the systematization and exchange of experiences and knowledge, the articulation and development of processes of identity assessment, with a gender and rights perspective. In this way, OLCA promotes alternative development models, which are at the service of life, ecosystems, and the communities and peoples that inhabit them.

Theresa Church, GE Trees Coordinator, Global Justice Ecology Project (U.S.)

Theresa Church is the Assistant Director for Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) and is on the Campaign to Stop GE Trees Steering Committee. She works to ban genetically engineered trees from commercialization globally, nationally and locally.

Church is a 2019 graduate of Naropa University’s M.A. Resilient Leadership program with a concentration in Climate Justice studies. She is from the Finger Lakes Region of New York and is currently located in Buffalo.

Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project and Langelle Photography (U.S.)
Orin Langelle is a documentary photographer and activist who studied communications in St. Louis, MO and photography at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan. 

 

In 2003 he Co-founded Global Justice Ecology Project and continues today as Strategic Communications Director and Photographer.

 

Langelle previously served as Media Director for Global Forest Coalition.

 

In 2000 he Co-founded the first campaign to stop GE trees and in 2014 Co-founded the new Campaign to STOP GE Trees.

 

His first photography assignment was covering anti-war protests during the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, FL in 1972. 

 

Langelle’s photography deals with social, economic and ecological injustice. He has been published in print and online publications, books and book-covers, and exhibited in the U.S., Europe, Mexico and Paraguay.

 

He chose the non-profit rather than the corporate media sector and has photographed on five different continents. 

 

In 1988 and 1989 he received awards from Environmental Action Magazine for “…recognition of photographic excellence in exploring humanity’s effect on the earth…”

 

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