Now Online: Climate Crisis, Designer Babies and Pandemics

Biopolitical Times
Screenshot of speakers

In a wide-ranging conversation on September 22, a stellar panel grappled with an ambitious agenda announced by the event’s title: “Climate Crisis, Designer Babies and Pandemics: Challenging the Techno-Utopianism of the Genetically Engineered Age.” You can view and hear the discussion, which has drawn rave reviews, either on the Facebook page of Organic Consumers Association or on YouTube.

The event brought together author and activist Bill McKibben, evolutionary biologist Stuart Newman, social theorist Marsha Darling, and moderator Pat Thomas. 

Their task: to consider the common threads between COVID-19, the looming climate crisis, centuries of race-based oppression, and proposals for "designer babies” – each of which demonstrates how misguided scientific theory and experimentation can create inequalities and disproportionately harm vulnerable populations. The conversation also explored the limitations of “techno-utopianism,” how social movements can redirect science and technology toward a just and sustainable future, and how we can preserve our humanity – and diversity – in a genetically engineered age.

“Climate Crisis, Designer Babies and Pandemics” was hosted by Organic Consumers Association, and co-sponsored by Alliance for Humane BiotechnologyCenter for Genetics and SocietyFriends of the Earth, and International Center for Technology Assessment.

Bill McKibben was also featured in a conversation with john a. powell, moderated by Osagie K. Obasogie, on October 18, 2019, hosted by the Center for Genetics and Society, the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (now the Othering & Belonging Institute), and the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Both video and a transcript are available; excerpts and a description of the extremely successful event are posted on Biopolitical Times.