Green godfather delivers shocking and heretical message for the future
News Jan 20, 2010
Posted by Susie Weldon on Jan 20th, 2010 and filed under Events, GREEN BRISTOL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
By Susie Weldon
One of the “godfathers of environmentalism” was in Bristol on Monday with a message that most greens will find both shocking and heretical. Stewart Brand told a 400-strong audience at St George’s, Bristol:
? There was “no hope” of mitigating against climate change;
? Nuclear power was the only way we could provide enough clean energy for the world;
? Cities were greener than the countryside;
? Genetically modified crops were necessary to feed the world’s growing population.
Brand is widely regarded as one of the great visionaries of the environmental movement. Now aged over 70, the American was invited to Bristol as part of the city’s Festival of Ideas.
He outlined the thesis of his latest book, Whole Earth Discipline, in a fascinating and disturbing discussion with the musician and cultural critic Brian Eno at St George’s.
Brand was himself once opposed to nuclear energy and the use of GM. But he says the climate threat is so enormous that we have no choice but to embrace these technologies if we are to avoid a cataclysmic deterioration of the earth’s resources.
On GM, Brand said he was persuaded it was “absolutely the way to go. GM food crops have been the most successful breakthrough in agriculture, maybe ever, and are being adopted everywhere except Europe”.
GM was the only way we could achieve serious gains in yields to feed the world’s growing population, he said, but also brought other benefits such as peanuts which did not create allergies, rice which contained cholera vaccine and carrots with as much calcium as dairy products.
Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand, £19.99, is published by Atlantic Books.
Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and the loss of genetic diversity are the main factors driving the extinction of many wild species, and the few eastern massasauga rattlesnakes remaining in Illinois have certainly suffered two of the three. A long-term study of these snakes reveals, however, that – despite their alarming decline in numbers – they have retained a surprising amount of genetic diversity.READ MORE