Episode 302. Monbiot, Mansplaining & Urban Arrogance

This is The ChangeUnderground for the 20th of June 2022.

I’m your host, Jon Moore

Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!

Well folks we’ve been through one of those “First World Problems” situations in the last week. A large and very slow moving high pressure system sat off the west coast of Tasmania, funnelling antarctic air onto the state. A little bit of snow on the higher peaks 10 days ago or so. Cooler temperatures and a little breeze reminded us winter was here.

Last weekend, 11th and 12th of June, the weather system unloaded. 45mm of rain in half a day accompanied with increasing winds. They eventually topped out around 140 kph (about 85 mph). Mrs ChangeUngerground was staying in Launceston with her sister and brother in law who had an early flight on the 12th. The night of the 11th was a true test of the structures at home. The power dropped out early but was back up Saturday night until it wasn’t, again. Sunday about 0100 some power came back. Enough for lights, TV and internet but not enough for the fridge, the freezer nor the water pump. 

For four days we were basically camping, indoors. Some 22000 houses lost power and some still aren’t reconnected due to the number of fallen trees. We got off quite lightly but that’s why last week’s episode didn’t happen.

It was my misfortune to catch George “I’m right and anyone who disagrees with me is a simpleton” Monbiot on the BBC’s Start The Week Program: A Revolution on Food and Farming from the 6th of June. Monbiot was on with two other guests: Sarah Langford and Claire Ratinon. Langford comes from a farming background despite leaving to work as a barrister she returned. A hands on perspective to the title of the episode. Ratinon is a writer and food gardener, again with hands-on experience. 

The thrust of the program was to reconnect eaters, that is, people, with food producers, pay the producers a decent return for good food and sequester carbon through regenerative techniques. Monbiot followed the “corporate” line: Bio-vat “meat”, GMO vegetables in glasshouses, shut down most farms and return the land to “Nature”. And how could you argue with the man, he’s read over 5000 peer reviewed articles. Go vegan, end livestock farming and turn every farm that’s left into hydroponic lettuce factories. I exaggerate for effect but not that much. It turns out the other guests had read those self same journal articles and come to different views. Funny how that works. 

This is not the first time I’ve encountered G. Monbiot. Back in Episode 158. Cows aren’t the enemy & let’s reward those doing the job!, 4th of October 2019, I had to face “the all cows are bad” attitude from this individual. Now there may be some truth in what he’s saying. Particularly industrial cattle production, I’m sure if you’re listening to this podcast, you too are appalled at the CAFO system of feedlots and battery hen establishments and piggeries run along the same factory farm logos. And yet the good George simply lumps all livestock production under the industrial banner without considering the alternatives that actually encourage biodiversity. The rotation of stock, the re-planting or even just the planting of hedgerows, the addition of a canopy of trees to also feed the livestock whilst providing habitats for insects and birds and lizards and so on. This idea of a living countryside with food production and biodiversity working hand in glove is not only possible but actually happening as I speak. 

This notion was also dismissed as food for the middle classes. Once we take the full costs of chemical farming into account, the food price is considerably higher than that faced at the supermarket. The rise in cancers, the obesity epidemic in the developed and increasingly, the developing world, the contamination of waterways, soils and urban areas with long lasting systemic carcinogenic chemicals, once factored into the true cost of chemically produced food, place it as far more expensive than the organic. And that extra cost is disproportionately placed upon the working classes of the world because the price is paid through health systems, early deaths, water pollution and so on. These are accounted for in different departments from the department of Agriculture or food, forestry, farming and fishing as this department is sometimes called in some places around the world. So we have an industry, Industrial Food, that creates disease through processed foods at huge profits and socialises the side effects, health, pollution and so on to the taxpayer. Nice lurk if you can work it. Then we have the apologists for the system, the Monbiots, the economists, the lobbyists and so forth flooding the media with the “This is the Only Way To Feed The World” nonsense and most people just accept that as truth because they have no direct connection with food or farming or fishing or forestry. The urbanisation of the species has disconnected so many from the realities of Nature, from food production options and from the sheer riotous wonder of life that we are in extreme danger of battery henning our species for a misguided attempt to “Save The Planet.”

Be alert to the media coming at you, question, critically, everything, including this little podcast. Thanks Nick for the FB message, I really appreciate the feedback and get a thrill to hear people enjoy what I’m sending out onto the interwebs.

Think critically, respond where you can to obvious falsehoods, misdirected good intentions and downright lies. Also plant some food and share some if you have an excess. Flavour and kindness are, I am coming to believe, our two greatest weapons in the fight against disinformation and for climate action.

So let’s all be kind and grow some food, simples.

If you’d like help, the discount is still on for the No-Dig garden Course over at World Organic News. It’s currently selling for $17 dollars not the usual $149 until the world starts to return to a little more normality. 

So if you have been put off in the past, now is the time to jump in and learn. If you know anyone would be interested and the more people we can get growing the better, please let them know. I’ll have a link in the show notes or you can go to the World Organic News.com website and click the course tab. Please spread the word, we need to get as much food happening as possible as close to the people eating it as we can. The best time to move from consumption to production was probably 50 years ago, the second best time is now.

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back next week.



No Dig Quick Start Course



email: jon@worldorganicnews.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1546564598887681


A Revolution on Food and Farming


Claire Ratinon


Sarah Langford


Episode 158. Cows aren’t the enemy & let’s reward those doing the job!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *