In a startling revelation this spring, the University of California announced a $500 million dollar deal with BP (British Petroleum). The agreement would partner industry and academia to solve the problem of global warming. The plan involves building a large research complex in Berkeley’s sensitive Strawberry Creek Canyon, behind the barbed wire of the Berkeley Lawrence Lab. There they will pursue research on genetically engineered (now politely called “synthetic biology”) crop plants to try to coax an energy surplus out of them that will provide for America’s fuel needs.
This deal would convert California’s public educational institution into a research arm of a large, immoral, profit-seeking mega-corporation. Much of the research on campus lands would be classified, and BP would co-own the intellectual property rights. The direction of public research would be dramatically turned away from studies of conservation, public transit, changing public habits and government responsibilities, and against precautionary research about the dangers of genetically engineered plants and industrial agriculture on the environment.
If the public cannot rely on our University to tackle crucial issues with scientific objectivity, we will have lost our means to do so. Just Say No. And say it fast, because BP has a lot of funds to slick their way into turning our future into quick profits and certain environmental devastation.