Worrying; Very !!

 

 

Hi Mark,

With the coronavirus, we’ve learned how fast a new organism can spread. Imagine genetically engineered mosquitoes designed to inherit their genes at a very fast pace, jeopardise the food chain, and wipe out their natural siblings by making them infertile. [1]

According to scientists, there is a risk the so-called “gene drive” could even spread from mosquitoes to butterflies, killing pollinators en masse, risking crops, plants and entire ecosystems. [2]

Nobody pushing this new technology has a solution that would successfully mitigate these risks, but even so, plans are proceeding to make gene drives a reality. 

Most of the funding to make this happen is being provided by the US military and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. [3]

With your help, we can start the process to put a moratorium on it. Next week, experts and government officials will come together to discuss this new and risky technology. Our partners have secured two seats at this private online meeting and will represent our voices.

If thousands of us sign the petition calling for a moratorium, what our partners say will count much more. Add your name to ensure we don’t release any genetically engineered organism without properly assessing its severe risks.

 

Sign the petition at:

https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/gene-drive-moratorium-uk?action=sign&utm_source=civimail-31162&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20200629_EN

The billionaire Bill Gates is excited about the potential of this new technology. [4] He hopes to get rid of mosquitos that pass on diseases, but until now no scientist has been able to assess the risk. [5] We don’t want to solve one problem only to create another bigger one. [6]

Imagine we eradicate one species of mosquitoes, but what happens to frogs, birds and fish feeding on mosquitoes and their eggs? How will the behaviour of other animals change when mosquitoes disappear? Deer may not hide in the mountains to protect themselves against their bites, instead staying in valleys and feeding differently.

The biggest imaginable risk is the collapse of whole ecosystems happening with the release of even a handful of gene drive mosquitoes. With what we know about gene drives now, their effects cannot be predicted, stopped, or reversed. We want to support the great system that is nature and understand it before we mess with it. A moratorium will give us the time to work out what we need to do next to protect nature and life.

The upcoming meeting of experts is to inform EU and global decision makers about the risks. This is the moment we need to be heard. Unfortunately, we don’t know yet who will participate and we cannot address them directly, but only two of us will join the meeting – and we need them to be powerful.

 

Sign the petition at:

https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/gene-drive-moratorium-uk?action=sign&utm_source=civimail-31162&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20200629_EN

Our signatures show people power from all over Europe. We have shown time and time again how, starting with a simple petition, we can achieve big wins: just a few weeks ago we shared how together we stopped barley, brewing, and ultimately all beer production from being patented. It started with a simple petition.

If we act now, we can have a moratorium before it’s too late.

David, Jörg (Lübeck), and the entire WeMove Europe team

 

PS: Before we release a new technology, we need to make sure we don’t risk destroying entire ecosystems by making the world an experimental laboratory. Please sign and share widely to put a moratorium on gene drives.

 

References:
[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191219142646.htm
[2] There is evidence from insects that a bacterium called Wolbachia can transfer genes between different insect species. So, it is theoretically possible that Wolbachia genetic transfer could take place between mosquitoes and pollinating insects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882834/
[3] “Total funding for gene drive development is currently estimated to exceed a quarter of a billion US dollars. The largest single government funder of gene drive research is the U.S. military (DARPA).” https://www.etcgroup.org/content/gene-drive-files
[4] https://www.geekwire.com/2020/bill-gates-thinks-gene-editing-artificial-intelligence-save-world/
[5] The first disease the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to tackle is malaria. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/25/gm-mosquitoes-released-burkina-faso-malaria-gene-drive Malaria was once widespread in Europe as well and was eradicated. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria
[6] https://www.stop-genedrives.eu/en/gene-drives/

 

WeMove Europe is an independent and values-based organisation that seeks to build people power to transform Europe in the name of our community, future generations and the planet. To unsubscribe from WeMove Europe, please click here. To unsubscribe from WeMove Europe, please click here.

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