A Remarkable Lack Of Perspicacity From The Guardian


Sure, we know, The Guardian, wrong about everything. All the time. And yet it’s still possible to wonder, marvel, at the ability to get things so wrong in just the two paragraphs. Here the subject is farming. There are going to be more people around and thus we might desire to increase the output of food. OK, that’s fair enough. Although the actual background here is that just the normal and ongoing increase in farming productivity will take care of the extra mouths. It’s that we expect these mouths to be in richer societies, ones that have more than turnips as a diet, which leads to the real future food problem.

Where will richer people get that richer diet that richer people get from? That is, it’s a problem stemming – in so far as it is even a problem – from our having got everything else right, peeps are climbing up out of that peasant destitution.

Still, even given all of that this is remarkable so we shall remark:

So we need to find more land to cultivate then? Bringing more land under agricultural production is one answer to filling this gap, but it cannot solve the problem alone. Finding that amount of land in suitable conditions would spell the end for many of the earth’s remaining forests, peatlands and wild areas, and release the carbon stored in them, hastening climate change. Intensive farming has already had a huge effect on biodiversity and the environment worldwide. Pesticides, which have helped boost cereal and fruit production, have also killed bees and myriad species of insects in large numbers.

How dingbat do you have to be to either write or publish that?

No, I’ve not been unfair, I’ve not compressed the piece, excised paragraphs or pages. That really is how they’ve put it.

We need more food, we can’t have more land, but intensive farming is bad? Umm, if we need more food and can’t have more land then how can we have more food if we don’t farm that land we’ve got more intensively? That’s what it actually means, intensive, getting more food from the one piece of land. As opposed to extensive systems like organic which require more land for the same output of food.

Sure, we can have interesting discussions about how we intensify our use of the land, that’s true. But to be against the very concept? While at the same time insisting we must have more output and yet cannot use more land?

So dingbat only in The Guardian.