Why science finally won in Europe


By Patricia Nanteza

On February 7, 2024, history was written. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted to support what are known as New Genomic Techniques or #NGTs.

These are gene editing techniques of breeding crops that harness the best of human ingenuity to produce crops that can stand up to the challenges of our time – drought tolerance, nutrition enhancement, disease resistance, more carbon capture abilities etc.

However, this win happened not because science and evidence suddenly became true and factual. No, science has always been factual. This win happened because of quality grassroots mobilization and organisation that also targeted the grass-tops. I watched in awe as 14 universities (could be more) and over 1,500 scientists boldly took to physical and social media streets to speak up for the benefits of their work.

No one was in it for personal glory – it was all about the goal: Vote for #NGTs. The Nobel laureates signed the letter because they knew the weight of their names and agreed to use it for good.

Numerous advocates worked underground to mobilize in their communities/countries without the need to be known publicly. Some brought 5 scientists on board, others 20, others 50, others 100. Everyone posted and reposted and tagged their MEP. Others reached out to the media and those of us in Africa cheered on with batted breath and even said a prayer.

This gives me hope, that we can replicate this on our continent when needs arises. We have been given front row to watch and learn. I am in social media groups with most of these passionate science advocates and it is a privilege to watch the coordination of such a momentous win.

Cheers to WePlanet, @GiveGenesAchance and everyone who contributed to this .

Now, onto the next level.

Does it ever end?

Patricia is the Director of wePlanet Africa

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