I agree with George Monbiot that it is necessary we suppress the relentless growth of industrial agriculture into treasured ecosystems if Earth’s lifestyle-assist devices are to endure. What issues me is Monbiot’s solution (Embrace what may well be the most critical green technologies ever. It could conserve us all, 24 November). Close to despair at the failure of the earth to consider successful measures to control this destruction, Monbiot is turning to technical fixes, these as precision fermentation, which can generate food devoid of photosynthesis, virtually from skinny air. This implies that 1,700 instances significantly less land is essential to deliver protein than in the world’s most economical agricultural process.
But this hello-tech solution presents hazards. Even nevertheless Monbiot suggests that he would like lousy international locations all more than the planet to install fermentation tanks less than nearby regulate, this appears to be not likely. The technological know-how, created beneath corporate management, has been patented. Businesses pushed by gains are unlikely to democratise control, and the technologies is possible to be used by them to lengthen their get to in excess of the normal environment.
The only true hope arrives from making a huge world-wide motion of local weather activists, youth actions, traditional peasant actions, Indigenous activists and other folks. They have shown that it is possible to make resilient regional foods devices while safeguarding the ecosystem.
A unexpected transition to the significant-scale world-wide output of low cost foods by a tech fix could threaten the livelihoods of traditional communities when their know-how is necessary much more than ever. While precision fermentation may possibly have a supplementary role to play, it should be monitored and positioned beneath community handle. If not, it could do additional harm than very good.
Every single time we have experimented with to simplify and rationalise the method of making food stuff, it has led to unforeseen and damaging outcomes. Artificial fertilisers, chemical pesticides, crop and grass monocultures, intense livestock farming, herbicide-all set crops, reliance on antibiotics: the list is long. The George Monbiot who has lengthy argued passionately for the defense of the comprehensive complexity of the world-wide-web of lifetime is familiar with all this. But right here is one more George Monbiot who seems to consider we can fix all our issues simply just by messing about with a handful of substances in a lab. George mark one particular – Eco George – has usually argued strongly in favour of the precautionary basic principle. Probably he must have a term with the mark two model – Tech Bro George.
Crossmichael, Dumfries and Galloway
George Monbiot’s brave new planet of precision fermentation evokes a dystopian long term of mega factories churning out 1,001 versions of synthetic foods. The basic problem with this technological know-how is that, supplied a alternative, couple folks would decide on it. The foreseeable future of meals output will require important modifications to safeguard the surroundings. Even so, abolishing farmed and fished meals, and changing them with manufacturing facility-designed substitutes could not work, at least in countries wherever people are free of charge to pick out what they consume. The sort of extremist alternatives proposed by Monbiot would have to have either nightmare, Elon Musk-design capitalism or Chinese-design state manage. Please at the very least go away us some alternative in what and how we consume.
Worthing, West Sussex