The problem with King Charles' unorthodox views on modern agriculture

The problem with King Charles’ unorthodox views on modern agriculture

During his long tenure as successor to the throne, then-Prince Charles was a conservationist. The Prince of Wales’ website highlights the use of “his unique position to champion action for a sustainable future”. , do not eat meat or fish two days a week and give up dairy products one day a week. When the monarch was in charge of Highgrove Farm in the South West of England, all production was purely organic.

King Charles didn’t discover his penchant for sustainability on his own. After Charles met Indian anti-globalization activist and conservationist Vandana Shiva, his focus shifted from raising awareness of climate change to advocating for more extreme measures. Shiva has been repeatedly criticized for her unorthodox claims and methods, most recently when more than 50 biotech experts wrote an open letter to the University of Missouri in Kansas City regarding an upcoming conference. The letter attacks his support for hand weeding – a labor-intensive agricultural practice used in developing countries due to a lack of pesticides; banned in the state of California – his assertion that fertilizers should never be allowed in agriculture, or a Tweeter in which she compared the use of genetically modified crops to rape.

Shiva also views GMOs as “patriarchal” and “anthropocentric,” a view shared by Charles who in 2008 called them a major environmental disaster. That the royal follows advice that translates into his own ideas became evident when he published his book “Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World” in 2011. In it he laments that the industrialized world has turned the back to God. and the harmony of things — that we have divorced “sacred geometry” by implementing global capitalism at the expense of the environment.

A review of the book states, “It views opposing viewpoints as cynicism or blindness. He likes to overlook complexity.

Whether or not Charles ran an organic farm that practiced hand weeding shouldn’t matter in British politics, except it does. The new king, despite being a constitutional monarch, is influential in all nations where he serves as ruler and has the ability to lobby for his views.

Just last year, the British press revealed how Queen Elizabeth had been able to use the opaque channels of legislative procedure to influence laws. Publicly expressed political opinions are also on the table. When a Canadian broadcaster tricked the Queen into a phone prank with a fake Jean Chretien, then Prime Minister of Canada, it became clear how ready the Queen was to go and publicly announce her opposition to Quebec’s bid for independence. .

The policies Charles supports would fundamentally change the global agricultural system, causing significant disruption. Despite innovation in organic farming, the practice produces less food than conventional methods, an average of 43 to 72 percent less. When the researchers modeled a scenario of 100% adoption of organic practices in England and Wales, they found that it would actually increase carbon dioxide emissions because more natural resources are needed to produce the same. amount of goods.

Charles’ views on agriculture contrasted with the priorities of the British Parliament. The House of Commons is considering a bill that would allow genetic engineering in crops. Such a move would be one of the most notable breaks with EU policy, in which legislation prevents the use of modern gene-editing technology. The UK has also avoided the more sweeping agricultural reforms the EU is adopting: while the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy calls for a dramatic reduction in farmland use, the UK government promises plans that will help UK farmers become more productive. The fact that ‘farm to fork’ legislative packages are now being delayed in Brussels due to food shortage concerns further underscores the fact that Charles’ favored sustainability model could lead to disaster.

Whatever your opinion of the royal family, it is clear that we excuse the irrational political prescriptions of Buckingham Palace. It is high time for the monarch to abandon his advisers and his unfounded opinions on modern agriculture.

Bill Wirtz is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Consumer Choice Center, specializing in new regulations in technology, agriculture, commerce, and lifestyle. He recently published “No copy-paste: what not to imitate the European regulation on agriculture.”

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