Synthetic Biology?

Topics: Natural environment, Environmentalism, Environmental movement Pages: 4 (1502 words) Published: November 23, 2011
Impacts on the Environmental Movement
David Park, Expos 101, Prassack, 11/15/2011
  The environmental movement, addressed in "Rewilding North America" by Caroline Fraser, focuses on the negative outcomes of human activities in the environment. It is a movement that restores the environment that  humans have damaged. Scientists have addressed the idea, in "A life of its own" by Michael Specter, of using synthetic biology to mend environmental issues. Synthetic biology combines  the "elements of engineering, chemistry, computer science, and molecular biology…to assemble the biological tools necessary to redesign the living world" (Specter 364). There are both positive and negative impacts of a synthetic world on the environment movement.  The environmental issues consist pollution, depletion of natural resources, extinction of endangered species, population, protection of natural areas, etc. Synthetic biology can aid some of these issues, but further deteriorate others as well. A way that synthetic biology could potentially enhance the environment is through the creation of "cheap drugs, clean fuels, and new organisms to siphon carbon dioxide from the atmosphere," but only "if the tools of synthetic biology succeeds" (Specter 265). However, some of the processes that the environmental movements undergo contradict with the ideals of synthetic biology. Therefore, moving towards a synthetic world will hinder some of the environmental movements on several issues such as, the usage of money, habitat and animals, nature, animal cruelty, but the anticipated benefits are without a doubt worth the cost.             Although it is disheartening, money controls many decisions that humans make. Just like every other movement, synthetic biology will need funds for the project to initiate, so it will be spent in one of two ways. Many environmental conservation organizations have already "invested decades and millions of dollars in established programs" to protect endangered...
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