Harthorn Quoted in "Nature" Article about Anti-Nano Violence in Mexico

CNS News

August 30, 2012--Barbara Herr Harthorn, CNS-UCSB Director and IRG3 leader, discusses her research group's findings about non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and public awareness of nanotechnology in the journal, Nature. In a report called Armed Resistance, Nature's International Development Research Centre fellow Leigh Phillips investigates the wave of bombings since 2011 directed at Mexican nanotechnology researchers by an eco-anarchist group calling itself Individuals Tending Towards Savagery (ITS), and reviews non-violent opposition to nanotechnology from NGOs in other countries.

Harthorn is cited discussing preliminary findings from IRG3's ongoing study of 125 NGOs from the U.S. and abroad. These indicate that most of NGOs have focused on environmental health and safety issues rather than more speculative catastrophic scenarios posited by groups like ITS. She also notes that although IRG3 surveys show that the public is generally undecided about nano or not adverse to it in the same ways they are to genetically modified foods, this may change depending on the types of scenarios that become part of the public discourse. 

The article also cites UC Santa Barbara sociologist Richard Widick's concerns that the global economic crisis and growing perceptions of imminent ecological catastrophe will fuel increasing numbers of violent actions related to issues beyond nano seen as impacting the environment.