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A moonbat vs. moonbat debate

George Monbiot, the original Moonbat, wrote, "Lab-grown food will soon destroy farming – and save the planet," which is odd because he also opposes genetically modified food.

He wrote on Wednesday, "It sounds like a miracle, but no great technological leaps were required. In a commercial lab on the outskirts of Helsinki, I watched scientists turn water into food. Through a porthole in a metal tank, I could see a yellow froth churning. It’s a primordial soup of bacteria, taken from the soil and multiplied in the laboratory, using hydrogen extracted from water as its energy source. When the froth was siphoned through a tangle of pipes and squirted on to heated rollers, it turned into a rich yellow flour.

"This flour is not yet licensed for sale. But the scientists, working for a company called Solar Foods, were allowed to give me some while filming our documentary Apocalypse Cow. I asked them to make me a pancake: I would be the first person on Earth, beyond the lab staff, to eat such a thing. They set up a frying pan in the lab, mixed the flour with oat milk, and I took my small step for man. It tasted … just like a pancake."

Farmers have been growing food for at least 40,000 years in the outdoors.

And of course, the Romans began farming indoors with primitive greenhouses 2,000 years ago.

But history began on January 27, 1963, when George Monbiot was born in a manger in Paddington in London. He sees farming as a threat to the planet.

He wrote, "We are on the cusp of the biggest economic transformation, of any kind, for 200 years. While arguments rage about plant- versus meat-based diets, new technologies will soon make them irrelevant. Before long, most of our food will come neither from animals nor plants, but from unicellular life. After 12,000 years of feeding humankind, all farming except fruit and veg production is likely to be replaced by ferming: brewing microbes through precision fermentation. This means multiplying particular micro-organisms, to produce particular products, in factories.I know some people will be horrified by this prospect. I can see some drawbacks. But I believe it comes in the nick of time."

I am not going to argue with his gloom-and-doom predictions because 1. you cannot convince a doomsayer otherwise, and 2. their predictions never come true.

But his embrace of artificial food is a stark contrast to his opposition 16 years ago to GM foods

In a March 9, 2004, column, Monbiot wrote, "The question is as simple as this: do you want a few corporations to monopolize the global food supply? If the answer is yes, you should welcome the announcement the government is expected to make today, that the commercial planting of a GM crop in Britain can go ahead. If the answer is no, you should regret it. The principal promotional effort of the genetic engineering industry is to distract us from this question.

"GM technology permits companies to ensure that everything we eat is owned by them. They can patent the seeds and the processes which give rise to them. They can make sure that crops can’t be grown without their patented chemicals. They can prevent seeds from reproducing themselves. By buying up competing seed companies and closing them down, they can capture the food market, the biggest and most diverse market of all.

"No one in her right mind would welcome this, so the corporations must persuade us to focus on something else. At first they talked of enhancing consumer choice, but when the carrot failed, they switched to the stick. Now we are told that unless we support the deployment of GM crops in Britain, our science base will collapse. And that, by refusing to eat GM products in Europe, we are threatening the developing world with starvation. Both arguments are, shall we say, imaginative, but in public relations cogency counts for little. All that matters is that you spin the discussion out for long enough to achieve the necessary result. And that means recruiting eminent figures to make the case on your behalf."

Does he think Solar Foods is sinking all this money into research and development just to make its end product public domain?

As for ferming to make Soylent Green, I have no opinion. I may actually like Soylent Green Eggs and Ham. We shall see.

But my question is what happens to the cattle when we no longer milk them or eat them?

Can't we save part of the planet for them?

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