Jim Thomas has been actively campaigning on technology issues since 1994 when he co-founded the ‘New Luddites’ in the UK – an ad hoc network of activists and academics questioning corporate agendas in science and technology. Subsequently a co-founder of GEN (the UK’s network of groups against genetically engineered crops) as well as a campaigner for Greenpeace International on GMO and food issues, Jim played a key role in the grassroots, direct action and consumer campaigns that halted GM foods and crops in the UK at the end of the 90’s. He subsequently worked with grassroots movements on several continents to help advise and establish GMO campaigns elsewhere. In 2002 Jim began working with ETC Group and as Program Director of that organisation has spent the last decade pioneering critiques of emerging technologies particularly Nanotechnology, Synthetic Biology and Geoengineering. He has helped develop international campaigns addressing these technologies as well as common civil society initiatives for technology oversight and assessment. Jim was the organizer of the first ever international conference on the societal impacts of nanotechnology (held in the European Parliament in 2003). He was lead author on several ETC publications about emerging technologies and is a regular participant at international negotiations relevant to new technologies including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity where civil society action has resulted in moratoria on geoengineering technologies and terminator seeds as well as work on Synthetic Biology. Currently Jim is particularly tracking developments in Synthetic Biology and geoengineeirng and in the new flexible manufacturing technologies of robotics, drones and 3d printing. He is a co-founder of the Synbiowatch.org initiative and of the International Civil Society Working Group on Synthetic Biology. He has written for several publications including The Guardian, The Times, BBC online, Grist and wrote a regular technology column in The Ecologist.
For more information about the Teach-in, visit: ifg.org/techno-utopia