Workshop descriptions/May 16-17th





This is the final listing of concurrent workshops for Biodevastation 7: A

Forum on Environmental Racism, World Agriculture and Biowarfare.

For each of the three sessions, select one workshop to go to. People attending in groups would get most out of the sessions by having people attend different workshops and discussing them afterwards.

CONCURRENT WORKSHOP SESSION 1 (Fri May 16, 2 – 3:45 pm)

Workshop 1:

The Fluid Genome

2 – 3:45 pm Friday, May 16

Mae-Wan Ho, The Institute for Science in Society, London

One of the most persistent dogmas in western science is genetic determinism,

the belief that our genetic makeup, or our birth, ultimately determines who

and what we are. Dr. Ho will demonstrate why the entire biotech enterprise,

from GM crops and gene drugs to human cloning, is a phenomenal waste of

public finance and scientific imagination, and, most importantly, what it

means to be living with the fluid genome.

Workshop 2:

Is Your School for Sale? – Challenging Corporate Biotech on Campus

2 – 3:45 pm Friday, May 16

Dr Ignacio Chapela, Assistant Professor (Microbial Ecology), UC Berkeley

Sarah Bantz, MORAGE – Missouri Resistance Against Genetic Engineering

Jesse Reynolds, Former member of Students for Responsible Research, UC


Lucy Sharratt, Researcher, Polaris Institute, Canada

John Peck, Executive Director, Family Farm Defenders, Wisconsin

This workshop will examine crucial university-corporate connections and

strategize to end corporate biotech power on campus.

Workshop 3.

The ABC’s of Biotechnology for Students from 10 to 80

2 – 3:45 pm Friday, May 16

Daniel “digger” Romano, Missouri Green Party, Confluence

Suzanne Renard, Catholic Worker, Home Groan Organic Troupe

Learn the basics of genetic engineering and how it can contaminate food,

damage helpful species (such as butterflies), and hurt farmers in Africa,

Asia and the Americas. The workshop will begin with a Mayan myth about the

origin of corn.

Workshop 4:

WTO and the Road to Cancun

2 – 3:45 pm Friday, May 16

Vandana Shiva, Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology, India

John Kinsman, Family Farm Defenders, Wisconsin

The upcoming WTO Ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico this fall will likely

determine the future of corporate globalism and the neoliberal “free

trade” agenda. Agriculture has recently been called the WTO’s “Achilles

Heel.” Shiva and Kinsman will discuss the ways global civil society, and particularly farmers, are playing a pivotal role in challenging “free trade” and

defending the integrity of local communities, and will address participants’ questions about this important event.

CONCURRENT WORKSHOP SESSION 2 (Sat May 17, 1:45 – 3:30 pm)

Workshop 6:

The New Human Genetic Technologies: Social and Political Implications

1:45 – 3:30 pm Saturday, May 17

Jesse Reynolds, Center for Genetics and Society

This workshop explores the new human genetic reproductive technologies,

particularly cloning and inheritable genetic modification, with a focus on

implications on women, people of color, and the socio-economically


Workshop 7:

Resisting GMOs in Africa

1:45 – 3:30 pm Saturday, May 17

Dr. Mwananyanda Mbikusita Lewanika, Lyambayi Institute of Development, Zambia

Lawrence Tsimese, Agricultural Reform Movement, Ghana

Raymond Bokor, Agricultural Reform Movement, Ghana

This workshop will offer an intensive discussion of the potential impacts of

biotechnology on Africa’s food crisis, including questions of agricultural

and economic performance and the effects of GMOs on the continent’s enormous biological diversity. Speakers from Zambia and Ghana will present case studies of the resistance to genetic engineering in several African

countries, focusing on opposition to GM crops and to the multinational

companies that supply GM foods and seeds.

Workshop 8:

Biotech Superbugs: Genetically Engineering Disease

1:45 – 3:30 pm Saturday, May 17

Peter Shorett, Council for Responsible Genetics, Welcome/Introduction and moderator/discussant

Mae Wan Ho, I-SIS, London, UK, Overview of some cutting-edge biotechnologies with application to biowarfare

Edward Hammond, The Sunshine Project, Who drank the anthrax kool-aid?

Pitfalls of biotechnological defense

Workshop 9:

Health Hazards and US Regulation: What the Government Won’t Tell You

1:45 – 3:30 pm Saturday, May 17

Dr. Michael Hansen, Research Associate, Consumer Policy Institute, Consumers

Union, NY

Lucy Sharratt, Researcher, Polaris Institute, Canada

Dr. Michael Hansen will present the latest information on health concerns and

testing as well as expose weak US regulation. Equip yourself with information

on how the government really regulates and what this means for people in the

US and around the world — get your questions answered here! Lucy Sharratt will add an important Canadian perspective.

Workshop 10:

GMOs and Free Trade in Mexico and Central America

1:45 – 3:30 pm Saturday, May 17

S’ra DeSantis, Institute for Social Ecology’s Biotechnology Project

Ignacio Chapela, University of California at Berkeley

Ana Ruiz Diaz, Permaculture Network of M�xico

Workshop presenters will discuss the current status of genetic engineering in

Mexico and Central America. They will highlight the discovery of genetic

contamination in Mexico and the relationship between free trade agreements

and GMOs, and discuss ways activists in the US and Latin America can more

actively collaborate.

CONCURRENT WORKSHOP SESSION 3 (Sat May 17, 3:45 – 5:30 pm)

Workshop 11:

Organizing Farmers in North America

3:45 – 5:30 pm, Saturday May 17

Bill Wenzel, Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering

Felder Freeman, Federation of Southern Co-operatives

Percy Schmeiser, Canadian farmer in legal battle with Monsanto

George Naylor, National Family Farm Coalition

A number of farm groups have organized effective farmer-driven campaigns

against GMOs. This workshop will feature farmers and farm group leaders who

will discuss the strategies that they have used in grassroots campaign


Workshop 12:

Organizing against Environmental Racism

3:45 – 5:30 pm, Saturday May 17

Dr. Mark Mitchell, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice

Percy Green, ACTION Reunion 2003

This workshop will look at the corporate habit of locating the most toxic

production and waste disposal facilities in communities of color and the

disproportionately higher rates of disease that result. It will emphasize

how communities have successfully fought for their right to safe and healthy


Workshop 13:

Confronting the Biolabs: Grassroots Organizing and Coalition-Building

3:45-5:30 pm, Saturday, May 17

Building Local and National Dialog on the Hazards of Biological Weapons


Steve Erickson, Citizens Education Project, Opening Remarks

Inga Olsen, Tri-Valley CAREs with Colin King, Nuclear Watch of NM, Citizens’

responses to Department of Energy biological weapons research

Nancy Price, Stop the UCD Biolab Now!

Organizing and activism on the Western National Center for Biodefense

Workshop 15:

Round Table on Local Organizing Against GE

3:45 – 5:30 pm Saturday, May 17

Mitchel Cohen, No Spray Coalition, Green Party USA

Brian Tokar, Institute for Social Ecology

S’ra DeSantis, Institute for Social Ecology’s Biotechnology Project

Others TBA

Activists from across the US will discuss some of the diverse strategies

being employed to oppose genetic engineering, while furthering the

empowerment of local communities around food security, public health and the

advancement of directly democratic alternatives. Panelists will briefly

discuss their own recent experiences, followed by a wide-ranging discussion

of ways this movement can continue to grow and develop in an effective and

creative manner.