Friends of the Earth launches Emerging Technology Project

For almost a decade the Nanotechnology Project has been fighting for regulation and environmental, health and safety testing that doesn’t lag behind technology development and commercialisation. Too often new innovations aren’t banned or regulated until after they have been proven to be harmful – and even then corporations frequently and fiercely resist regulation.

A suite of powerful new emerging technologies means that the stakes of such uncontrolled experiments are now significantly higher. The unexpected consequences of some of these technologies could have global ramifications.

It is for these reasons that Friends of the Earth’s Nanotechnology Project has now become the Emerging Tech Project. In addition to continuing work on nanotechnology, we will begin working on other emerging technologies such as synthetic biology and geoengineering. This change means that there will now be an environmental NGO in Australia actively working on these issues. It recognises that many of these technologies are converging in disturbing and risky ways. And it enables us to look more broadly at the structural, political and commercial drivers that these technologies have in common.

This is critical. These new technologies have unprecedented global reach and potential impacts at a time when the unwillingness of governments to regulate is also unprecedented.

If we don’t deal with the structural failings that underpin the manner in which technologies are being developed and rolled out, we will fail to affect the kind of change that is needed.

The Emerging Tech Project will articulate, expose and we hope change the current trajectory that these technologies are on.

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