More GE Tomfoolery from International Paper

IP is pushing harder than ever for the deregulation of genetically engineered trees…

In a recent article, the implications of genetically engineered trees are explored in relation to and the company’s desire to find ways to continue to expand the use of trees in paper production as our forests continue to be devastated by business as usual practices.  is the world’s largest paper producing company as well as the wizard behind the curtain of forest destruction. The company is a hard-driving proponent of using these genetically engineered trees for paper and packaging production. You can read the full article about IP and biotechnology here: The consequences of GE trees will likely result in devastating depletions of the South’s natural forests as they are replaced with desert-like monocultures.

IP’s recent interest and desire to implement the use of GE trees demonstrates an obvious deviation from their stated commitments to environmental responsibility. According to John Faraci, the company’s Chairman and CEO, “At IP, we’re proud of our legacy of sustainability and environmental stewardship. Demonstrating our ongoing commitment to these efforts through continuous improvement is important not just for our employees but for our customers, shareowners, and neighbors in the communities where we operate”. However, IP’s actions directly contradict this statement as they continue to practice large scale clear-cutting, the conversion of forests to pine plantations and the routine spraying of toxic chemicals. As IP continues to advocate for and fund research to grow more trees on more acres through the industrial-scale planting of GE trees, it fails to consider the very real and serious consequences of doing so.

In the above-mentioned article, Kathleen Bark, IP’s spokeswoman does not respond to scientific research and documentation that confirms potential devastating consequences to forests if GE trees are in fact planted on an industrial scale to meet the demand of a company as large as IP. Instead, she focuses on the motive for using science and technology to further IP’s profit. And, according to IP’s official website, the company claims that it is protecting the ecosystems on which they are dependent on for their resources. Nevertheless, IP continues to use outmoded and devastating forestry practices, and now instead of progressing towards a more responsible and sustainable future, they are turning to Franken-science.

As the article mentions, “one needs look no further than the nearest kudzu-carpeted hillside — and the South has plenty — to be reminded of the devastation even the most well-intended transplant can cause”. The introduction of invasive species to the existing natural forests threatens ecology on every level. The Australian eucalyptus, the GE tree of choice is threatening to replace our natural forests while displacing indigenous plant and animal species, all for the sake of IP profit. According to the Organic Consumers Association, “Opponents fear that biotech trees, to which scientists have added genes from bacteria, chickens and even humans, will provide poor habitats for beneficial insects and birds, transforming biologically diverse woodlands into sterile “Frankenforests.” These foreign species are not only invasive, but they drain on critical water resources and represent the danger of opening nature’s Pandora’s Box. IP’s motives and false statements are an obstacle to positive change and its out-dated mode of operating directly endangers forests in the South and around the world.

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