"What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

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alan refail
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"What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Postby alan refail » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:50 am

This looks like a very promising series coming up next week on Channel 4. It should provide an opportunity for unthinking, dogmatic environmentalists (I used to think I was one) to get real and discover what the real issues are and how they might be solved.

"What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Mark Lynas who is mentioned has a website http://www.marklynas.org/ which is well worth visiting if you want to discover reality.

Here's a taster article:

Why we greens keep getting it wrong 28 January 10

Environmental politics in an age of reason. First published in the New Statesman.

If, as I think almost certain to be the case, the environmental movement made a grave mistake in opposing nuclear power, the question naturally arises about what else the greens may have got wrong.

First, it is worth reminding ourselves of some of the things environmentalists got right, and for which humanity owes them a major debt of thanks. Climate change is top of the list; acid rain, too, now largely under control in North America and western Europe. The ozone layer also qualifies as a disaster mostly avoided, thanks to determined campaigning.

In all these areas environmentalists were successful because they followed science – both in understanding the dangers and designing solutions. It is where greens part company from science, as with nuclear power, that problems arise. I have now concluded that all the main objections raised against nuclear power are bogus, or overhyped, or solvable, yet the established environmentalist position – because of a herd mentality as well as deeply held ideology – remains opposed. As a result of three decades of successful anti-nuclear campaigning, tens of billions of tonnes of carbon have accumulated in the atmosphere, thanks to proposed nuclear plants being replaced by coal.

Admitting mistakes is difficult, especially when one’s claimed position is the moral high ground. Although for years I believed in the anti-nuclear cause, I was never an active anti-nuclear campaigner. Genetic engineering, on the other hand, was something I spent years of my life campaigning against. And yet here, too, a science-led assessment of the likely risks and benefits suggests that I was wrong.
There is, for example, zero evidence that any genetically modified foods in existence today pose a health risk to anyone. Millions of people in the US and Canada have eaten GM corn and soya for years now. As the leading botanist Peter Raven puts it: “There is no science to back up the reasons for concern about foods from GM plants at all. Hundreds of millions of people have eaten GM foods, and no one has ever gotten sick.” Raven is quoted in a splendidly written book by the American environmentalist Stewart Brand (see last week’s NS). Whole Earth Discipline nails the issue in just two chapters (the others are concerned with cities, geo-engineering and – importantly – nuclear power), but the book as a whole is this year’s must-read for anyone who considers himself an open-minded green.

Admittedly, many activists I knew were never that convinced by the “Frankenfoods” argument: instead, their concern was that new, genetically engineered seeds would allow big corporations such as Monsanto to monopolise the world’s food supply, to the detriment of poor countries. However, this should not be an argument to oppose the technology. It would more rationally suggest the need for an open-source approach, where the benefits of GM technology could be developed within, and for the benefit of, poorer countries (drought-tolerant, more nutritious and nitrogen-fixing subsistence crops are some examples under development).

What have I learned? Make sure your dearest principles can be reassessed in the light of changing evidence. We cannot criticise global warming sceptics for denying the scientific consensus on climate when we ignore the same consensus on both the safety and the beneficial uses of nuclear power and genetic engineering.
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Re: "What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Postby Johnboy » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:49 am

Hi Alan,
Sounds good to me. I like this paragraph because it is what I have been advocating for years to get people to accept it as a part of science.
We do not have the right to stand in the way of scientific research of any kind!

"Admittedly, many activists I knew were never that convinced by the “Frankenfoods” argument: instead, their concern was that new, genetically engineered seeds would allow big corporations such as Monsanto to monopolise the world’s food supply, to the detriment of poor countries. However, this should not be an argument to oppose the technology. It would more rationally suggest the need for an open-source approach, where the benefits of GM technology could be developed within, and for the benefit of, poorer countries (drought-tolerant, more nutritious and nitrogen-fixing subsistence crops are some examples under development)."
JB.
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Re: "What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Postby John Walker » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:17 pm

The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

Thanks to WikiLeaks, we get an insight into the real goings-on in the world of genetically modified (GM) crops. If GM crops are so good and the safety issues are so well investigated and transparent, you do wonder why the USA feel it necessary to launch a 'military-style trade war' against those who choose to be more cautious.

Full article in The Guardian, 3.1.11:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/ja ... u-gm-crops
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Re: "What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Postby richard p » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:18 pm

so millions of people inthe usa have been eating gm food for years......the usa is of course renouned for its generally fit and healthy population... none of them are clinically obese or suffering from degenerative diseases ,......... :lol:
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Re: "What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Postby madasafish » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:57 pm

US embassies in the past have been noted for idiotic advice and comments to Washington.
See Joe Kennedy in 1940 who said Britain could only last 6 months.

Some embassies have members who have #### for brains...and it shows..
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Re: "What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Postby John » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:10 pm

Not much point in giving Joe Kennedy as an example. He was always an intensely controversial figure in the U.S. because of his suspect business credentials, his Roman Catholicism, his support for Joseph McCarthy and his anti-semitic views.

John
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Re: "What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Postby peter » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:17 pm

The USA will always back US owned businesses and if said businesses want to sell GM their government will do everything it can to assist, in the "national interest".
If American businesses can corner a market the US government is happy, they do the same for weapons sales.
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Re: "What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

Postby Johnboy » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:44 am

John Walker,
Do you really expect us to believe that your approach to GM is "more cautious."
As well you know, even the mention of the two dreaded Letters "G" and "M", sends you into a frenzy of condemnation of anything to do with GM. Honesty is all I ask for.
Like most "Greens" who will use even the most petty of comments to condemn GM. Anything that threatens Organics must be an evil force!
I do not agree with the comments made in the Wiki Leak about waging a military type trade war on countries that will not have GM but certainly the ignorance displayed by the "greens" towards GM in this country needs to be altered.
GM is a part of science which is more than can be said about "Modern Organics."
JB.
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