Thursday, September 19, 2013
No, Sir David Attenborough, Adolf was wrong
It is amusing to see how consistent Leftists are in their follies. Greenies following Fascists is a regular phenomenon. Does anybody remember why Hitler sought "Lebensraum" for Germany in the East? It was because he was just as ignorant as David Attenborough. Hitler looked at the population increase in Germany and the prospects for increases in German farm production and concluded that Germany would soon be unable to feed itself. So it needed to grab land off its neighbours in the East if it was not to starve. Hitler knew as little about agricultural science and economics as Sir David did but was nonethless certain that he was right. Socialists such as him are like that. And just as Hitler didn't care about starving Russians, Sir David doesn't care about starving Africans. Sir David should learn from history -- but since when did any Leftist do that? They are too arrogant to learn. They "just know" -- JR
Malthus is shaking his hoary locks. The old seer does it every so often, and no amount of being proved wrong will keep him in his coffin. His latest manifestation takes the unlikely form of Sir David Attenborough, one of television’s otherwise warmest personalities. Sir David thinks that the population of the planet has reached capacity, and that we had better tell the world to stop making babies. For good measure, in his interview with The Daily Telegraph yesterday, he added that getting the UN to send sacks of flour to famine regions was “barmy” and that famine in Ethiopia is about “too many people for too little piece of land”.
He is not alone. Jonathan Porritt, the environmentalist – and like Sir David, a patron of the lobby group Population Matters, which argues for “living within the constraints of renewable resources” – has written about famine in the Horn of Africa and put the blame squarely on the failure of women to control their breeding habits: “It’s no good blaming climate change or food shortages or political corruption. Sorry to be neo-Malthusian about it, but continuing population growth in this region makes periodic famine unavoidable – as many have been pointing out since the last famine.”
At the end of the Second World War, many farmers in Britain still ploughed with horses and recoiled from using “artificial”, as they called fertiliser at the time. Fields are now harvested by machines as big as houses and inputs such as fertiliser are applied using computer and satellite technology. Simply applying these techniques across India, Africa and South America would fill the bread baskets of the world to overflowing. That is without even mentioning the miracles that could be wrought by GM, by enabling drought-resistant crops and blight-free potatoes to flourish.
If this revolution doesn’t take place, an accusing finger will point at those people who stopped it. Robert Mugabe has destroyed the agriculture of Zimbabwe for political ends. The European Union sucks in food from the rest of the world because it doesn’t want its inefficient peasant farmers to go bust. Oxfam now recognises that “The romanticisation of 'the peasant’ and rejection of new technologies and trade have the potential to lock farmers into poverty.” Aid charities haven’t always.
Sir David is a master communicator: he knows how to make a point and is not averse to shock tactics. No doubt that is why he disparages sending sacks of flour to the starving. But the phrase contained an undoubted truth. It isn’t sacks of flour that are needed. Until recently, the United States undermined the agriculture of the developing world by dumping its subsidised food surpluses at below market prices. This prevented local farmers from making money, discouraged enterprise and entrenched food dependency.
Far better is to export improved techniques and new ideas. This is recognised by innovative charities such as Excellent Development, a beneficiary of the Telegraph charity appeal in 2009, which encourages communities to build sand dams that provide clean water. Innocent Smoothies supports a charity that teaches farmers to build little rings of mud around the shoots they plant; this simple technique means that water is maximised rather than lost.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).