Friends of the Earth (FoE) International is the world’s largest and fastest growing federation of environmental organisations, with established groups in 77 countries and over 2 million individual members. FoE Australia is itself a federation of grassroots groups that have worked tirelessly on an extensive range of environmental justice issues since the early 1970s. FoE has a long history of working on technology issues, including nuclear power, toxic chemicals and genetic engineering.
We strongly support many new technological developments, particularly in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. However, we believe technology development needs to better serve community needs – not simply corporate and military interests. We also see a need for public scrutiny of the environmental and social impacts of new technologies, and for community involvement in technology assessment and public policy development.
In early 2005 FoE Australia established the Nanotechnology Project in response to the rapid development of the nanotechnology industry with little or no critical debate or regulatory oversight. In 2014 we expanded the scope of the project to include other emerging technologies. These include synthetic biology and geoengineering, which both operate in a similar regulatory vacuum, and pose grave potential threats to human health and the environment.