Environmentalism

Environmentalists analyze powerful new technologies, including genetic modification of crops, livestock, and potentially human beings, with close attention to their ecosystem and social effects. They highlight the need for caution and responsible social governance in the face of high-risk technological innovation, and often support regulating markets and corporations in order to ensure public health and well-being. Environmentalists have pioneered the precautionary principle, an approach that assigns responsibility for demonstrating the safety of risky new technologies to those who would benefit from them, rather than those likely to be harmed. These tools of technical, policy, and social analysis hold important insights for understanding and evaluating human biotechnologies.


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BOSTON—Out on an old Navy dry dock, a biotech company called Ginkgo Bioworks is growing genetically modified organisms by the billions, and it would very much like to tell you about them.

“I think people should love GMOs,” Gingko’s CEO...

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In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the green light to a version of the plant Camelina sativa, an important oilseed crop that had been genetically engineered using CRISPR to produce enhanced omega-3 oil. What was interesting about this...

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What “Frankenstein” and the golem tell us about the power and responsibility of science.

January 1 marks the 200th anniversary of...

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The easiest way to undermine good science is to demand that it be made “sound.”

Science is being turned against...

Image of a possum climbing a small tree over a snow-covered ground.

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Lettuce plants grown indors in white containers.

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Image of a woodland mosquito resting on a leaf.

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Close-up view of microscope lens

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Silhouette of a tractor in a crop field. Against its background is a sunset, and blue skies with clouds

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Gray scale image of a Frankenstein character.

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A woman scientist is turned away from the camera, and faces a laboratory desk filled with equipment.

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A corn plant springs up from the soil.

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