Why Do They Pay Attention To Monbiot?
By Paul Homewood
Following the deferential treatment handed out to George Monbiot by the Environmental Audit Committee last week, I have to ask why anybody pays the slightest attention to the hack?
After all, it was back in 2002 that he claimed:
This is why biotechnology – whose promoters claim that it will feed the world – has been deployed to produce not food but feed: it allows farmers to switch from grains which keep people alive to the production of more lucrative crops for livestock. Within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.
And the reality?
Cereal production has increased by 38% since then.
Beef production is up 10%.
Overall agricultural output has increased in value by 34%.
And, most importantly of all, agriculture output per capita is also up, by 10%.
Back then, Monbiot recommended we all became vegans:
It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that the only sustainable and socially just option is for the inhabitants of the rich world to become, like most of the earth’s people, broadly vegan, eating meat only on special occasions like Christmas.
As a meat-eater, I’ve long found it convenient to categorise veganism as a response to animal suffering or a health fad. But, faced with these figures, it now seems plain that it’s the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue. We stuff ourselves, and the poor get stuffed.
I wonder if he has stuck to his diet?
To experienced Monbiot watchers, none of this should really come as any surprise. For instance, in 2007 he wrote:
If you are of a sensitive disposition, I advise you to turn the page now. I am about to break the last of the universal taboos. I hope that the recession now being forecast by some economists materialises. I recognise that recession causes hardship. Like everyone I am aware that it would cause some people to lose their jobs and homes. I do not dismiss these impacts or the harm they inflict, though I would argue that they are the avoidable results of an economy designed to maximise growth rather than welfare. What I would like you to recognise is something much less discussed: that, beyond a certain point, hardship is also caused by economic growth.
And in 2004, when he was telling the BBC that there would soon a very serious price crunch in the price of oil as demand exceeded supply, he was quoted as saying:
People don’t riot for austerity; they riot because they want more, not less. We have to riot for less.
In reality, Monbiot is little more than a typical, left wing student. But in his case, he has never grown up.