Introduction: my green practice, green purism
Renewable energy: realities
Green orthodoxy: creationists and naturists 
Organic advocates: unwinnable cases
Green lifestyles:an exasperated view
 The preliminary level and the primary level
The green record of the Taliban
The Green Party: wasting a vote
Agriculture, industrialisation and famine
Engels and Manchester
The battery cage
The New Age
Status and self-esteem


 Tom Moss and pond life
 Paul Kingsnorth and green terrorism
 OneKind and animal welfare. Is nature kind?

See also the page

Veganism: arguments against  


Introduction: green purism

My view of orthodox Christianity is presented on various pages of the site. One of them is the page Church donations.  There are many sects with views which are different from orthodox Christian views. My view is that all these versions of Christianity, orthodox as well as unorthodox,  are false, based on illusion - and I give the evidence.


My view of Green orthodoxy is very different. Green orthodoxy is a mix of views which should be taken very seriously - and implemented, in many cases - and views which have been discredited, aren't in accordance with the evidence. Green Party members disagree about many things but I think there's a a rough consensus about a large number of things. There are other green views, the unorthodox views, which aren't part of the mainstream Green Party, but individual members may well believe in them. One example, discussed on this page, is biodynamic gardening.


This page isn't wholly about Green Party green views but a large part of the content is applicable to the Green Party and it's the Green Party which is the main focus of my opposition. Please see also my page South Yorkshire Advocacy for Israel, which contains extensive criticism of the Green Party in the second column.


My practice is much closer to green purism - which I criticize on this page - than its opposite, whatever name it's given. I follow green practices but point out the problems and difficulties of green practice.

I've been a vegetarian since my mid-twenties - a very long time - and I'm a vegetarian for environmental as well as ethical reasons. I've been active in the field of animal welfare over a long period of time, as I explain on my page Animal Welfare and activism.  I'm not a vegan. I explain why on  my page Veganism: arguments against.

The land I rent provides me with a large proportion of the fruit and vegetables I eat. The Home Page of the site gives access to my pages on gardening. The land is close to my house.


My practice. Pollution arising from transport of these is minimal or non-existent. I grow wildflowers there, encourage wildlife - the pond I constructed is used by frogs for breeding and is visited by dragonflies - and I've planted many trees: eight apple trees (cider apple, cooking apple and dessert apple), two plum trees, and a wide range of native trees, including rowan, beech and yew (7 trees) and blackthorn hedging.

The Home Page  gives access to content on construction of buildings, machinery (including hydraulic presses for log-splitting and apple pressing) and other projects. Many of the materials I use are bulky and heavy. I can easily justify the diesel van I own and use.

I've built structures for collecting water from a wide range of surfaces, for composting (including 'solar composting') and for other purposes relevant to conservation of resources.


My practice. My house is a small terraced house. The houses on either side contribute to insulation of the house. There was no garden when I moved in, only a backyard. I created a garden by bringing in compost and other materials and planted another plum tree there.

I've travelled by plane only a few times over the decades - once to Northern Ireland, once to Italy, twice to Germany and twice to North America (I travelled long distances inside Canada and the United States but it was by train or bus. When I travelled to Chamonix for cross country skiing, I travelled by train - and found a campsite to pitch my tent when I got there. For a very long time, I've hardly travelled outside Sheffield, except for brief visits over the county border into the North Derbyshire Peak District. My work here occupies so much of my time.   I'm completely content to stay in this area


The preliminary level and the primary level


I distinguish the preliminary level from the primary level. Recycling, energy conservation, avoidance of waste - these and other green practices are important but insufficient, important but not all-important. They belong to the preliminary level.


We visit a theatre, and find that it separates its waste water, so that 'grey' water isn't discharged into the sewers and wasted. Its energy conservation meets the highest contemporary standards. It's so well insulated that very little supplementary heating is needed. We visit a library, and it's exemplary too. But exemplary in what way? Exemplary in meeting green standards. Exemplary in its stock? That's a different matter altogether. The green activist in the role of activist isn't concerned in the least whether the stock is poor, insufficient and rubbishy. The activist in the role of activist isn't concerned in the least whether the theatre is adventurous or unadventurous. If it plays safe and puts on rubbish that at least is successful at the box-office, then it's a matter of no concern to the activist, in the role of activist. The same with a concert hall which programmes nothing but single movements and parts of movements from hackneyed works, and never ever takes a risk. But libraries, theatres and concert halls are like athletics stadiums and football stadiums in one way at least - strenuous activities, not lazy activities, should take place in them, even if there's a need for relaxation as well. The most important activities of a library, theatre or concert hall aren't at the preliminary level.


It's far easier to judge a book's environmental credentials than its content. Is it printed on recycled paper or unrecycled paper? It's easy to find out and approval or disapproval is mechanical. There's no mechanical method of estimating the book's content. Is the style hackneyed or cliched, is it emotionally rich or not, are there logical errors or errors of fact? These and other questions make vastly greater demands on knowledge and judgment.


This discussion hasn't so far presented the matter as starkly as it should. It has presented the preliminary level as an important stage in its own right, whilst pointing out that the green activist isn't concerned with the fuller level, or unconcerned in the role of activist. The preliminary level isn't necessarily a precondition. Magnificent works of art, to focus attention upon only one sphere of achievement, were created and presented under social conditions which were abysmal. They can certainly be created and presented in conditions which don't meet the best contemporary standards of recycling, reusing and the rest.

The green record of the Taliban


To emphasize green issues without any attempt at factorization, to practise isolation of green issues, is stupidity. The green record of a country is one factor amongst many, and not the most important factor.

'The United Kingdom is one of the world's main ecological debtors, consuming far more of the Earth's resources than we can contribute...Countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Bangladesh are the leading ecological creditors, using up far fewer resources per capita than the global average.' (Report in The Times.) Afghanistan under the Taliban was an ecological creditor, Afghanistan controlled now by the Taliban is an ecological creditor, present-day Somalia, a war-torn failed state (where female genital-circumcision is widely practised, where stoning to death still takes place, to mention just a few abuses of human rights) is an ecological creditor. We can agree that countries should reduce their environmental impact, but environmental impact should be one factor in a complete survey.


A survey of countries ought to include far more than the country's environmental record. It ought to include its humanitarian achievements, its cultural and intellectual achievements, its technological achievements, the 'civic virtues' which support a mature democracy, support for good causes by fund-raising, publication of books, magazines, newsletters and Web-sites, a high level of critical discourse - the constructive criticism of people, organizations and ideas (including green ideology.) Some of these activities cause next to no pollution, make little or no contribution to climate change, use practically none of the earth's resources, but many of them do.

Agriculture, industrialisation and famine


My page Ireland and Northern Ireland: distortions and illusions has two sections on famine and poverty and the importance of industrialisation in overcoming famine and poverty: 'The Great Famine' and 'Late 19th century stagnation and poverty.'


On the back cover of Peter Mathias's 'The First Industrial Nation': 'The fate of the overwhelming mass of the population in any pre-industrial society is to pass their lives on the margins of subsistence. It was only in the eighteenth century that society in north-west Europe, particularly in England, began the break with all former traditions of economic life.'


In the 'Prologue,' this is elaborated: 'The elemental truth must be stressed that the characteristic of any country before its industrial revolution and modernization is poverty. Life on the margin of subsistence is an inevitable condition for the masses of any nation. Doubtless there will be a ruling class, based on the economic surplus produced from the land or trade and office, often living in extreme luxury. There may well be magnificent cultural monuments and very wealthy religious institutions. But with low productivity, low output per head, in traditional agriculture, any economy which has agriculture as the main constituent of its national income and its working force does not produce much of a surplus above the immediate requirements of consumption from its economic system as a whole ... The population as a whole, whether of medieval or seventeenth-century England, or nineteenth-century India, lives close to the tyranny of nature under the threat of harvest failure or disease ... The graphs which show high real wages and good purchasing power of wages in some periods tend to reflect conditions in the aftermath of plague and endemic disease.'


 Larry Zuckerman, 'The Potato:' 'Famine struck France thirteen times in the sixteenth century, eleven in the seventeenth, and sixteen in the eighteenth. And this tally is an estimate, perhaps incomplete, and includes general outbreaks only. It doesn't count local famines that ravaged one area or another almost yearly. Grain's enemy was less cold weather (though that took its toll) or storms, which damaged crops in localities, than wet summers, which prevented the grain from ripening and caused it to rot.'


Desperate poverty in pre-industrial societies and the early period of industrialisation required that 'every member of a family who could work did so, down to young children.' ('The Potato'). And child labour, 'though among the industrial revolution's evils, wasn't restricted to factory or home workshop. Farm workers' six- and seven-year-old children toiled long days too.'


 What ended grinding poverty (the poverty of being clothed in filthy rags as well as the poverty of not having very many clothes), what eventually freed these children from work in mines, factories, workshops, the fields, what gave men, women and children increasing relief from back-breaking work, was greater productivity. For that we have to thank not feminists but above all such representatives of patriarchy as mechanical engineers, civil engineers, instrument makers, labourers, who as a matter of strict fact benefitted women as well as men.


Eventually, the economic benefits of industrialisation became diffused through much of the population of this country and other industrialized countries. 'The average of real wages in Britain is believed to have risen 100 per cent. in the second half of the nineteenth century ... ' (T K Derry and Trevor I Williams, 'A Short History of Technology.')

E A Wrigley, the author of 'Energy and the English Industrial Revolution,' which gives a superb explanation of the importance of coal in the industrial revolution, gives a clear and lucid summary in an important article in the Website of Vox:


' The most fundamental defining feature of the industrial revolution was that it made possible exponential economic growth – growth at a speed that implied the doubling of output every half-century or less. This in turn radically transformed living standards. Each generation came to have a confident expectation that they would be substantially better off than their parents or grandparents ... .




'Every form of material production involves the expenditure of energy and this is equally true of all forms of transport. In organic economies the dominant source of the energy employed in production was the process of photosynthesis in plants. The quantity of energy which reaches the surface of the earth each year from the sun is vast but photosynthesis captures less than 0.5% of the energy in incident sunlight.


'Photosynthesis was the source of mechanical energy which came predominantly from human and animal muscle power derived from food and fodder. Wind and water power were of comparatively minor importance. Photosynthesis was also the source of all heat energy used in production processes since the heat came from burning wood.


'The implications of this situation in limiting productive potential are clear and dire. The land constraint was a severe impediment to growth. It is epitomised in a phrase of Sir Thomas More. He remarked that sheep were eating up men. An expansion of wool production meant less land available to grow food crops. Or again, it is easy to show that, if iron smelting had continued to depend upon charcoal, a rise in the production of iron to the scale which became normal in the mid-nineteenth century would have involved covering the entire land surface of Britain with woodland.


Breaking free from photosynthesis


'Access to energy that did not spring from the annual product of plant photosynthesis was a sine qua non for breaking free from the constraints afflicting all organic economies. By an intriguing paradox, this came about by gaining access to the products of photosynthesis stockpiled over a geological time span. It was the steadily increasing use of coal as an energy source which provided the escape route.


'It was simple to substitute coal for wood as a solution to the problem of increasing the supply of heat energy, at least where the heat generated by burning coal and the object to be heated were separated by a barrier that allowed the transfer of heat but prevented chemical exchange.


'Coal could, for example, readily be substituted for wood to heat salt pans or dye vats. It could also readily be used as a source of domestic heat in an open fire though it was some time before trial and error gave rise to a chimney which could both improve combustion and evacuate smoke. The early expansion of coal production was largely for domestic use, dominated by the supply of coal from coal pits near the Tyne to London. The east coast coal trade expanded so greatly from Tudor times onwards that by the end of the seventeenth century roughly half the tonnage of the merchant navy was devoted to this trade. But it took many decades of trial and error to enable coal or coke to be substituted for charcoal in smelting iron because the transfer of chemical impurities prevented a good quality result.


'Until the early eighteenth century, coal, although used increasingly by the English, offered a solution only to the problem of supplying heat energy. Mechanical energy remained a matter of muscle power and was therefore limited by the photosynthesis constraint. Hence the central importance of the slow development of an effective steam engine that made it possible to convert heat energy into mechanical energy. Once this was possible the problem of limited energy supply was solved for the whole spectrum of material production and transport.'


The Green Party: wasting a vote


 From the Website of Sheffield Green Party:

'Speaking about proposed UK involvement in air strikes against Isis, Jon Ashe (Chair of the local Green Party) said “We totally reject the politics and methods of Isis. But the last few decades have shown that military intervention in the Middle East leads to the deaths of innocent people, is followed by more bitterness and violence, and doesn’t provide lasting solutions. We urge the UK government to rule out any further military action in the Middle East, and instead work with others towards lasting peaceful and political solutions.'

The failure to understand human nature - or brutalized human nature - is complete. Naive people (such as Jon Ashe) unwittingly aid brutalized people, such as ISIS members. Jon Ashe has, in effect, given this chilling, inhuman message to  Yazidis, Christians, secularists, anyone fearing for their lives as ISIS advances on the town where they live, or the mountain on which they have taken refuge - don't expect military action. There will be deaths of innocent people, obviously - you yourselves - but you can rest assured that we will be urging the UK government to work with others 'towards lasting peaceful and political solutions.' The notion that the 'peaceful' solution, the solution which avoids military action, will be useless, no solution at all, is one that he and other green theorists never consider.

Highly recommended to Jon Ashe: a remedial course of study to include Chamberlain and the history of appeasement in the years before the Second World War and the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, France, the Soviet Union, the Baltic States and the plans to invade Britain.


Migration Watch calls for stringent limits to immigration to this country. The page 'Outline of the Problem' summarizes very well the reasons for limiting immigration:


Many of these reasons should appeal forcefully to people with green concerns. This country is grotesquely overcrowded. The building work needed to house immigrants has a severe impact on the environment. The policies of the Green Party in this country amount to a complete failure to address the problem. There are very substantial reasons why green activists should support the objectives of Migration Watch, but, of course, this would harm their self-image, one which is based on evasion. It's ridiculous to assume that only people with extreme right-wing views support strict limits to immigration. I loathe, of course, the British National Party. The reasons for limiting immigration given by Migration Watch are rational, supported by evidence and very important ones.


What of non-economic migrants, such as people fleeing persecution or war? I see every reason for admitting - welcoming - human rights defenders in real danger of death or torture in their own countries. I don't think it's at all realistic to admit significant numbers of those who want to escape war, just as it's not realistic to admit significant numbers of those fleeing famine. If 5 million people are at risk of death from war or famine in a country, then the problem has to be addressed within the country. The assumption that victims of war, or injustice, are always inherently virtuous has to be resisted. They may be fundamentalist fanatics, without the least understanding of the qualities needed to sustain a healthy democracy and no asset at all to this country.


My views in this one area are markedly different from some policies of Amnesty International. Human rights are a strong interest of mine and have been for a very long time. I was a member of Amnesty International for a very long time. I've helped to raise a considerable amount of money for Amnesty International, including the basic method - standing with a collecting tin in all weathers. I've written a large number of letters about abuses of human rights. I've been the driving force behind motions at the Annual General Meeting, and addressed Annual General Meetings to argue the case for some of these motions, and all of them were passed overwhelmingly - on such varied themes as anti-personnel mines, ways of campaigning more effectively against human rights abuse in China, ways of improving campaigning techniques in general.


I left Amnesty International because it was changing fast, and not, I thought, for the better. I think there's evidence that Amnesty International is now a less prominent and effective organization than it used to be but it remains an organization with many humanitarian benefits.


Above, from a page of the Sheffield Green Party's Website.

The page has the title 'Stop the violence now!' and begins, 'Green Councillor Jillian Creasy and other local Greens took part in the  rally in support of Palestinians in Gaza.' This was organized by Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

One of the photographs on the Green Party site shows a placard held by one of the demonstrators. The placard can be seen at a glance, without the least difficulty. The  image above shows the placard. I don't give the whole of the photograph to avoid infringing copyright. The placard obviously reads in full:

You have Become
Like Your

The 'ss' in 'predecessors uses the lettering which was employed by the German SS.

The equivalence of Israel and the Nazis is a claim which is despicable. The Green Party's inclusion of this placard on their Website is despicable. If the party never noticed this placard, they are negligent and should do everything possible to examine far more carefully the material they post  on their Website. They should also examine far more carefully the record and policies of the organization they endorse, in effect, by attending the organization's demonstration. Even a modest expenditure of effort should have revealed that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is not what it seems. See also the arguments and evidence I include on my page Israel, Islamism and Palestinian ideology.
A placard with exactly the same wording was on display at a demonstration organized by Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign on 19 January 2009. Workers' Liberty, a  left wing organization which strongly supports the Palestinians but opposes Hamas, had its anti-Hamas placard ripped up and stamped on. My account of the incident and

the account of the incident on the Workers' Liberty Website.

In the comments section of this Workers' Liberty page, a commenter called Heather makes this point very strongly and very effectively:

'I witnessed (and photographed) a placard that said "Israel you have become like your nazi predecessors" with the "ss" done in the lightning bolt style of the Nazi SS. I found is [sic] disgusting, frightening even. But did I rip it out of the hands of the person holding it and destroy it there and then? I did not. I talked to the people around me, a lot of whom I didn't know and expressed what it was that I felt was wrong with such a statement.'

 Heather on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), fully aware, obviously, of the PSC's many failings, unlike some naive members of Sheffield Green Party (I don't in the least endorse her Marxist views and her views of the class struggle):

' ... we do not support Hamas as the resistance to the occupation, because our analysis is based on Marxism and rooted in class struggle and because Hamas is an organisation rooted in political Islam and violently oppresses women, LGBT people AND the left. [That it places the people that it claims to protect in the line of fire of Israeli tanks and bombs. That it does not recognise the right of the State of Israel to exist and we do. I could not fit all of that on to a placard.

'Since 2005 when I visited Israel and the West Bank I have been involved with solidarity work with the region. I did not join PSC because at their 2005/6 conference I was alarmed by the often sinister undertones of anti-semitism. I am not an anti-semite and that has more often than not set me apart from the people I meet who fly Palestinian flags, attend demos and shout popular slogans. I am a socialist and an internationalist.


'I was not suprised to hear that on the fourth demo the placard [the Workers' Liberty placard, 'No to  IDF, No to Hamas] had met with aggressive responses after spending a good hour at the demo before defending myself verbally against claims that I was "an Israeli spy" "a disgusting zionist provocatur" and being told in no uncertain terms that I was not welcome on this demo.'

I object to the placard, not for its rejection of Hamas but for its naivety. It crams a great deal of political and military stupidity into those few words, 'No to IDF.' An Israel without the Israeli Defence Force, an Israel which can be invaded and taken over at will, by the military wing of Hamas or by any other force so minded. If the occupier is Hamas, then the result would almost certainly be not just repression for the groups mentioned by Heather, such as gay people, but mass slaughter. The fate of the Jews really would remind the world of the true meaning of the much misused word 'genocide.'

There's evidence that many members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign don't endorse Hamas' policies, whilst keeping a discreet silence about their lack of support. Unfortunately for them, unfortunately for Heather, I have to say, there's overwhelming evidence that the majority of people in Gaza fully share Hamas' viewpoint. These people are anti-semitic, want to see Israel wiped off the map and share the radical Islamist views of Hamas - see the findings of the Pew Research Center for further information. The distinction between the virtuous views of the Palestinian people and the obnoxious views of Hamas is an untenable one.

On the same page of the Workers' Liberty site there's a photograph of the Sheffield Solidarity Campaign demonstration of 2009 which includes another despicable placard:

Life and death in the Warsaw ghetto (which can't be compared at all with the so-called 'Gaza Ghetto'):

The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest Jewish ghetto in Nazi Europe. 400 000 Jews were crammed into an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi). The population density was 23 times the present population density of Gaza. Gaza's population density   is similar to that of Chicago, Boston and San Francisco.  

Many, many Jews died from starvation - the food allowed was completely insufficient - and diseases such as typhus. At least 254 000 Jews from the Ghetto were sent to the Treblinka extermination camp in the summer of 1942. Many Jews were killed during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the razing of the ghetto. The number of deaths among the Jews in the ghetto is estimated to be at least 300 000.

Engels and Manchester


I quote from Edmund Wilson's 'To the Finland Station,' where he describes Engels' experience of Manchester, 'the infernal abysses of the city:'


'He saw the working people living like rats in the wretched little dens of their dwellings, whole families, sometimes more than one family, swarming in a single room, well and diseased, adults and children, close relations sleeping together, sometimes even without beds to sleep on when all the furniture had been sold for firewood, sometimes in damp, underground cellars which had to be bailed out when the weather was wet, sometimes living in the same room with the pigs; ill-nourished on flour mixed with gypsum and cocoa mixed with dirt, poisoned by ptomaine from tainted meat, doping themselves and their wailing children with laudanum; spending their lives, without a sewage system, among the piles of their excrement and garbage; spreading epidemics of typhus and cholera which even made inroads into the well-to-do sections.'


It would be very mistaken to interpret this passage about suffering during the Industrial Revolution as an indictment of industrialisation itself, or to claim that the most important factor during the industrial revolution - the factor given pre-{ordering} - was pollution of the environment. If green-minded people can read the passage above and feel greater indignation about the pollution of the environment than the human suffering of the time, then they are lacking in compassion. In my experience, compassion in these people is very often carefully rationed. 'If they hadn't polluted the environment, none of this would have happened...' (But see my remarks about compassion in the page on Industry.)

Of course, rural squalor was comparable, if less intense, but of course industrialisation was the means of ending 'inhuman squalor' in both the cities and the countryside. Inhuman squalor is unbearable squalor - the kind in which human excrement is difficult or impossible to dispose of and in which typhus and cholera flourish. The squalor which blighted the landscape as a result of industrialisation was squalor of a different kind, one which for all its disadvantages began, slowly and surely, to release most of the population from inhuman squalor.


It's a commonplace that the provision of clean drinking water and the proper disposal of sewage have had a far greater effect on human mortality and morbidity than any medical advances. These have required advances in the conquest of nature. 'Working with nature' is sometimes possible but often impossible, if inhuman squalor is to be avoided. (The falsity of the green opinion that nature is benign should be obvious.) In Victorian times, the construction of sewers and reservoirs involved back-breaking work, inhuman work. Now, with the benefit of bulk materials handling, earth-moving machinery, PVC pipes, and so many other developments - all an aspect of the conquest of nature, we can enjoy the benefits of industrialisation.


The battery cage


(See also my page animal welfare and activism.)


Modern civilization, with achievements beyond praise, has its dirty secrets and its horrors. One of them is the battery cage system, which supplied eggs to most schools and hospitals and other public and private institutions in the country. The 'enriched cage' is an advance, but falls far short of the benefits - to the chicken - of free-range conditions.


It would be a very unusual green-thinking person who bought battery chicken eggs. (Less unusual is to overlook battery chicken eggs in convenience foods and take-away foods.) The Green Party has enlightened policies on animal welfare. All the same, policies are not enough. To attend to one thing is not to attend to others. To devote to a cause the time and energy needed to have a chance of success is difficult. There's evidence that many green activists and politicians fail to give enough attention to this matter of animal welfare. To act against the battery cage and other practices of factory farming on purely environmental grounds (issues to do with feeding fishmeal or soya meal, for instance) would be to overlook the central point: that this is a moral issue, to do with the infliction of suffering, the denial of the opportunity for animals to exercise instincts. Compare the argument I give in the section above, Engels and Manchester. Again, suffering and the elimination or reduction of suffering are factors which should be given {ordering} prior to any environmental objections.


Councils throughout the country have never been more concerned with reducing, reusing and recycling, but most of them have done nothing about the cruelty inflicted by their purchasing policies. A large proportion of Councillors are concerned about recycling and the other green issues. The proportion shocked by the fact that free-range eggs aren't used in Council canteens is far, far smaller. Awareness of green issues can go hand in hand with indifference to cruelty. The exceptions, though, are very significant and very heartening. Forty-one Councils have decided to buy only barn or free-range eggs. They include Croydon Council, Hampshire County Council, Wirral Council, Shropshire County Council and Halton Borough Council. The others (such as Sheffield) I refer to as 'Backward British Councils' (BBC).


Compare and contrast these with Microsoft. From 'Farm Animal Voice,' published by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF):


'Microsoft UK's Head of Facilities and Property, Nicholas Willis, was shocked to realise that his company was not using free-range eggs in its canteens.


'When CIWF called him to check on their policy, he was sure they were already cage-free. But after making all the necessary enquiries he realised they weren't and quickly set about rectifying things.


'It is so refreshing to see animal welfare being taken seriously by a company that isn't directly connected with the food industry.'




A green-thinking gardener who is very energetic in digging, transporting compost and manure, in all aspects of gardening, may be mentally lazy, unwilling to make an effort in matters that aren't connected with gardening.


Very often, people have their 'speciality' and devote so much time and energy to acquiring knowledge of the speciality, practising its skills and keeping up with the latest developments. This is no guarantee that what they have to say about the speciality will always reflect this thorough and extensive preparation, but at least they have made the effort. But of course, people's opinions aren't concerned just with the speciality. They usually have opinions about many other things, where their preparation may be completely inadequate. It's perfectly possible for someone to come to instinctive conclusions about an issue which fuller knowledge would support, but it's also perfectly possible for someone to give naive, unthinking support to positions which fuller investigation would reveal as ridiculous.


A liberal, enlightened country with very advanced environmental policies and an outstanding environmental record is likely to be a vulnerable country. All its advantages are lost if the country is invaded. If the country is unable or unwilling to defend itself adequately, it will have to hope that more powerful countries will defend it.


 Green 'thinking' has a strong (but not invariable) linkage with pacifism but I focus attention on the need to investigate the issues of war, pacifism, defence very thoroughly. I see little evidence that people who have investigated thoroughly organic methods, recycling and the rest are willing to make a sustained effort in investigating these issues of war, pacifism and defence.


In fact, this isn't only a matter of acquiring information. 'Green people' are often people of good-will, not at all ruthless or cruel. They are psychologically unable to grasp the ruthlessness and cruelty of a Hitler, Himmler, Stalin or Beria. Unfortunately, if kindly, pacifist views became far more widespread, it's likely that the world wouldn't become far more kindly but that people who are anything but kindly would dominate the world far more easily.


'Green people,' though, aren't always so very kindly. There's sometimes a linkage between green views and very authoritarian views such as fascist views. Green people may view other people as pests not so different from garden pests. Philip Cornford's book 'Origins of the Organic Movement' is a valuable guide to this, and many other, aspects of the organic movement. One of his main arguments is that the early movement had strong links to extreme right wing views. For example, Jorian Jenks, who was editor of the Soil Association journal Mother Earth from the time it was founded until 1963 actively supported the British Union of Fascists. He gives information about a secret society which supported organic farming but also opposed foreign influences supposed to be harmful, such as Judaism.


Green people who don't share in the least these extreme delusions may still have lesser delusions. If they want to be taken seriously when they speak about matters of war and defence, they should be able to give informed and realistic answers to questions such as these (and the familiar practices of organic gardening and farming, recycling and energy saving are no use in answering them):



The New Age


There are many, many people with green commitment who are immune to new age delusions, who see no necessary linkage between composting, building with straw bales or cob, and the rest - and runes, extravagant claims for the spiritual powers of trees, claims that all animals are equal (slugs and nematodes the equal of Mozart.) For green people with a defective sense of reality, the cosmic sphere is particularly congenial. And there are green people who are realistic in one sphere - they recognize the harsh realities of the land, the weather, the limits imposed by the natural world - and credulous in other spheres, recognizing hardly any limits to their delusions.


Modern transportation would be inconceivable without the internal combustion engine and manufacturing the engines and supplying the engines with fuel necessarily demands massive industrial output and massive financial commitment - it demands, in fact, 'big business.'


Green ideologists who smile at this defence of something they might describe as a polluting monstrosity, to be got rid should try to imagine a world without them. They can imagine a world in which transportation of people is by non-polluting bicycle and transportation of goods is by bicycles pulling trailers, but would be vague about the difficulties, which are insuperable. How are bicyles to be manufactured without heavy machinery and electric power? After an earthquake, how is heavy lifting equipment to be transported to the disaster area to rescue survivors? If the bicycle is a practical method of transport in some circumstances, it's completely unrealistic in others, such as areas with heavy snowfall in winter. A small-scale counterpart of the bicycle for use on water might be a small rowing boat, again, non-polluting and a practical method of transport in some circumstances but in most cases not. Although people have rowed across the Atlantic, trans-Atlantic transport will never depend upon rowing boats. Although small shops as well as massive stores can sell vehicle components such as lubricating oil and wiper blades, although small filling stations can sell petrol and diesel, only massive operations with massive financial power can manufacture and distribute the components and the fuels. Manufacturing lubricating oil, petrol or diesel from crude oil can never be turned into a 'human-scale' cottage industry, supplied by earnest cyclists pulling small trailers.


Status and self-esteem


The green movement has achievements that anyone can respect and admire. The harnessing of alternative energy sources often requires massive, sophisticated engineering, particularly, perhaps, the harnessing of wave power. These are the achievements of engineers  rather than of green activists. There are many people who are  active at the level of 'intermediate technology,' and again, their achievements can be respected and admired. Such organizations as the Centre for Alternative Technology and community composting schemes work at this level.


As for the ordinary green-minded person who recycles, re-uses, reduces consumption of materials and energy (and I'm one of them), this is fine, but these activities alone shouldn't enhance anyone's reputation, except marginally. They require negligible skill, knowledge or personal qualities. They shouldn't be a main source of a person's sense of self-esteem. They aren't activities which need take up more than a fraction of the day.


Above, two views of the Port Talbot steelworks, South Wales. The owner, Tata, decided to selling all its steel-making business, including the Port Talbot works.

The response of the Neath Port Talbot Green Party to the decision by Tata to sell the Port Talbot steel works was  very, very weak. The Party's Facebook page does include a 'sharing' of a post by Lisa Rapado of Wales Green Party, which includes this vague hope: 'Short term, mid term and long term solutions needed.' The Green Party has next to no interest in steel and steel manufacture or manufacturing industry in generaly and obviously can't summon up much interest in the dumping of Chinese steel, even though steel is obviously a necessity for the manufacture of bicycles and the manufacture of vehicles for public transport: buses, railway engines, railway carriages, trams, and, of course, a vast range of other products. (I cleared my allotments with a scythe and use secateurs for pruning my apple trees and for many other purposes. I bought ones manufactured in a factory very near to the allotments. I don't suppose that Sheffield Green Party has any interest in the manufacture of scythe blades or secateurs.)

Sheffield Labour Party has much more resolve. We can only be thankful that Sheffield has no majority of Green Party Councillors -  it's very unlikely that manufacturers of secateurs and scythe blades, like massive concerns such as Sheffield Forgemasters, would be supported. This is from the minutes of the Council meeting for 3 February, 2016:

RESOLVED: On the Motion of Councillor Julie Dore, seconded by Councillor Chris Peace, that this Council:-
(a) notes that Sheffield has an international reputation for steel making, and that steel remains a crucial part of the City’s economy;
(b) reiterates the motion passed in November calling on the Government to take action to support the steel industry;
(c) believes that the Government’s response to the job losses around the country have been completely inadequate and believes that the Secretary of State must urgently reconsider his approach;
(d) deeply regrets the news announced earlier this month that Sheffield Forgemasters is to cut up to 100 jobs and extends full sympathy to everyone affected;
(e) welcomes action taken by the present Administration to work at a city region level to try to extend the support packages that have been put together for Tata steel workers to anyone affected by job losses at Forgemasters and to do everything it can to put in place support to get people who are facing redundancy back to work;
(f) reaffirms that Forgemasters is a world class company but needs urgent support and a level playing field with its international competitors; and
(g) supports the Save Our Steel Campaign and calls on the Government to:-
(i) provide support for a business rate cut for the steel industry;
(ii) give the steel industry a break from green taxes and high energy bills;
(iii) take urgent action to stop the dumping of cheap Chinese steel; |
(iv) make a commitment to use British steel for all major infrastructure and construction projects; and
(v) look to use British-made steel in all Government backed contracts.

The river which runs not far from my allotments, the Rivelin, was a very important source of power and a source of power which left the beauty of the area undiminished. The river supplied the dams which supplied the water to turn the water wheels. Water power was used for grinding scythe blades and for many other purposes. From the publication, 'Walking the Rivelin:'

'The mills, workshops and forges supported a wide range of trades, such as grinding and finishing blades of various types, optical glass grinding, paper making (from rags), corn milling, lead smelting, forging metalwork ...wire drawing ... '

Above, the river Rivelin

Water power is no longer used in the valley. The last waterwheel to be used continued until 1939, for scythe grinding.  Water power was intermittent. Water levels in the river were insufficient for extended periods, making scythe grinding and all the other operations impossible. The scythe blade I used came from a nearby factory which uses electrical power, of course. Steam power and electrical power solved this problem, and could be used anywhere, in locations better situated for transportation, the developing canal system, improved roads and later the railways.

From the same book: 'Life in the grinding hulls was tough and unhealthy - often cold and damp and with the air full of stone and metal dust, which caused various eye and lung conditions, including silicosis. In the 1830's life expectancy among fork grinders, who used dry grindstones, was around 30 years, whereas table-knife grinders, using wet grindstones, could expect to live to 40 or 50.' The dust extraction equipment and other safety equipment which transformed the lives of these workers owed everything to technology, nothing to people with green concerns. People with green concerns are often indifferent to technology, indifferent to human suffering, if it's the suffering of such people as grinders, and indifferent to technology's humanitarian benefits.


Tom Moss: pond life

Tom Moss has a view of human life which is  limited and demeaning, like the views of so many other green (immature, unsophisticated or gullible) people. This is a short letter of his which was published in 'The Times:'


'Magnus Linklater claims, inter alia, that "the one species whose survival is essential" is man (Sept 24). This overlooks the fact that for 99 per cent of the world's history, when Man did not exist, it survived perfectly satisfactorily and that, during the tiny sliver of time during which Man has existed, he has caused increasing ecological chaos.

'Surely Mr Linklater should have said "the one species whose survival is superfluous is man".'

Tom Moss, Camberley, Surrey

This is the Green view of humanity as nothing but polluters, destructive, despoilers, not a green view of humanity which recognizes that some pollution and damage to the environment are unavoidable. Even the simple act of walking causes some damage. Multiplied many times it leads to erosion. The massive pollution of the environment which occurred when burning coal was the main source of energy is nothing to be ashamed of in the least. It was inevitable. Tom Moss no doubt showers in warm water, drinks hot coffee not cold coffee, often eats hot food and not just raw food, heats his house or flat in cold weather, doesn't only travel on horseback and makes use of many, many articles which require large amounts of energy to manufacture. During the industrial revolution, the main fuel used to achieve all these desirable ends was coal.

His green view seems not to be one which recognizes the magnitude of the problem but is concerned with intelligent and practical action to reduce pollution and damage and which recognizes that often, high technology is the only way to achieve this. This is a green view which denigrates human achievement and treats humanity as on the same level as pond life. To call Tom Moss 'Tom (Pond Life) Moss' should be quite a compliment to him. What could be less damaging to the environment than pond life?

After doing a little research, I find that someone called Tom Moss of Camberwell is interested in diving, which is reliant upon modern technology for its equipment and for transporting people to the places that interest divers. I wonder if the diver and the letter-writer are the same person. If they are, it may be that he confines his diving to swimming down to the bottom of the local boating lake without the aid of any equipment, causing minimal environmental damage.

His view is, of course, based on a grotesquely limited survey. It has linkages with a Christian view of humanity as sinners, responsible for all the suffering and imperfections of the world, a view which blames humanity rather than the Creator for smallpox, cholera and all the other deficiencies of the world.

When humanity began to use fire for cooking, to give some warmth and cheer in cold rain, sleet and snow, and later for heating in stoves, then wood was used as the fuel. In the developing world, of course, wood is still used on a massive scale. To blame humanity for the fact that the people who chop down trees for these purposes are causing environmental damage is deranged. It would be no more rational to blame humanity for the chemical reactions which occur when wood is burned, releasing some polluting compounds. What are the poor who have no alternatives to the use of wood to do? Stop using it? By using intermediate technology, at least it's possible to make the burning of wood more efficient. When charcoal was used for the production of iron and later steel, it was to make tools and implements which were indispensable for cultivation, the construction of buildings and other uses. The fact that burning charcoal gives off pollutants was no fault of humanity. Later, charcoal was largely replaced by another polluting fuel, coal, vital for transporting people, goods and food, for pumping drinking water, and for any number of other uses - ones which were vital and not luxuries. Waterwheels which powered flour mills used a renewable resource, but when the water level was low, they were useless. Steam engines gave a guaranteed source of power. Back-breaking agricultural work was reduced by the introduction of steam powered machinery.

The industrial revolution led to suffering on an enormous scale but eventually the benefits were far more important. In the celebrated phrase of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, life in a state of nature was 'nasty, brutish and short.' A partial conquest over nature was essential to free humanity from a Malthusian existence where life was shortened by famine and disease, where winter was dreaded and survival was always in doubt. Science and technology have also helped to loosen the grip of superstition, although new forms of superstition are constantly being born, such as the various 'green superstitions.' But the benefits of science and technology are generally taken for granted, as if they are provided naturally and not by ingenuity, creativity and immensely difficult, patient work.

Of course, science and technology are also responsible for overpopulation and overpopulation causes immense damage to the environment. Even environmental fantasists know, surely, that the reason why population is so high is because humanity has been freed from the harsh facts which govern populations in natural conditions: the early death of most offspring, the death of so many young adults and middle-aged adults. As for the future and future dangers, the only starting point available is our present starting point. Speculations like those of Tom (Pond Life) Moss which wish away humanity are of no use at all: pure self-indulgence.

The practical objections to his views are only the start. Practical achievements aren't the only ones which have raised humanity so far above the level of pond life. A very short list of practical achievements and other achievements which reflects, very, very inadequately, some of my own interests from an inexhaustible list of possibilities:

Rembrandt: Isaac and Rebecca (The Jewish Bride). Vermeer, 'The Geographer.' The fan vaulting, the whole interior, of King's College Chapel, Cambridge. Mozart, the Quintet 'Di scrivermi ogni giorno' and the Trio 'Soave sia il vento' from 'Cosi fan Tutte.' Beethoven, the 'Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesen an die Gottheit,' from the Quartet Opus 132. Quantum Theory. Newton and Leibniz and calculus. Linear algebra and topology. Symbolic logic. Huntsman's process for crucible steel. Brunel's work in tunnelling. Human goodness: Nelson Mandela and Raoul Wallenberg, who saved Jews in Budapest.

I don't like such lists at all, but this list doesn't, I think, have the crassness of 'the world's 10 best books' or 'the 10 best paintings.' I make an exception here. Other people would arrive at different lists, and I could easily put together any number of very different lists, but they would all make it clear that whereas pond life has failed to achieve anything beyond mere survival and reproduction, humanity has achieved very much more. For more on the contrast between physical survival and values, in an unexpected context, see the page on smoking.

Paul Kingsnorth and green terrorism

In conjugates, it's often the case that something which can be admired is linked with something which should be criticized, and criticized very severely. The writer Paul Kingsnorth gives a disturbing instance.


In his book 'Real England: The Battle Against the Bland,' he makes an impassioned case for preserving local distinctiveness and countering the threats to local distinctiveness. He writes about the rich but  vanishing world of English orchards. (I've planted an orchard in my lower allotment made up of apple trees, giving culinary, dessert and cider apples, and there are more fruit trees in the upper allotment, apple and plum trees.) He writes,

'Certainly no other country has, over the course of many centuries, created such a stunning and curious diversity of this fruit.

'Every county, every soil type, in some places every village, grew its own variety of apple, in orchards whose twisted trunks and unploughed ground provided havens for wildlife ... Eggleston Styre. Scarlet John Standish. Laxton's Superb. Gravenstein. Kirkston Pippin. Foxwhelp. Lady Henniker. Cornish Honeypin. Keswick Codlin. Yorkshire Greening. These are just a few of the varieties of apple that were once grown across the country: at least 2500 of them, accounting for more than a quarter of all the apple types on earth ... Every region has its own apple-based recipes, from pies to puddings to ciders ...'

'Walk into any of the supermarkets which sell 70 per cent of all the apples bought today, though and the story they tell about the state of the nation won't be a happy one ... They will be grown in vast industrial orchards and packed in factories which will measure their diameter and 'colour ratio' to the nearest millimetre. They will be selected not for taste or seasonality, but for their ability to travel long distances without bruising, and look identical on the shelves. And they will be on the shelves all year round, whatever is growing outside the sliding doors.


'It is possible to drive down roads in Herefordshire or Kent that even five years ago ran between blossoming trees, which today are surrounded by empty fields or sorry, shrivelled stumps. Wiltshire has lost 95 per cent of its orchards since 1945; Devon 90 per cent since 1965; East Anglia 80 per cent since 1950. The amount of land taken up by apple orchards has halved in the last decade alone, and the amount of fruit they produce has halved in the last five years. The reason is simple: there's no living in it any more.'

On his Website, www [dot] paulkingsnorth [dot net he writes

I’ve recently begun reading the collected writings of Theodore Kaczynski. I’m worried that it may change my life. Some books do that, from time to time, and this is beginning to shape up as one of them.

It’s not that Kaczynski, who is a fierce, uncompromising critic of the techno-industrial system, is saying anything I haven’t heard before. I’ve heard it all before, many times. By his own admission, his arguments are not new. But the clarity with which he makes them, and his refusal to obfuscate, are refreshing. I seem to be at a point in my life where I am open to hearing this again. I don’t know quite why.

Here are the four premises with which he begins the book, the common ignorant dismissal of technology but presented with unusual clarity:

'1. Technological progress is carrying us to inevitable disaster;
2. Only the collapse of modern technological civilisation can avert disaster;
3. The political left is technological society’s first line of defence against revolution;
4. What is needed is a new revolutionary movement, dedicated to the elimination of technological society.'


'One day, in August 1983, Kaczynski set out hiking towards his favourite wild place:

The best place, to me, was the largest remnant of this plateau that dates from the Tertiary age. It’s kind of rolling country, not flat, and when you get to the edge of it you find these ravines that cut very steeply in to cliff-like drop-offs and there was even a waterfall there … That summer there were too many people around my cabin so I decided I needed some peace. I went back to the plateau and when I got there I found they had put a road right through the middle of it… You just can’t imagine how upset I was. It was from that point on I decided that, rather than trying to acquire further wilderness skills, I would work on getting back at the system. Revenge.

'I can identify with pretty much every word of this, including, sometimes, the last one. This is the other reason that I do not want to end up being convinced by Kaczynski’s position. Ted Kaczynski was known to the FBI as the ‘Unabomber’ during the twenty years in which he sent parcel bombs from his shack to those he deemed responsible for the promotion of the technological society he despises. In those two decades he killed three people and injured twenty-three others. His targets lost eyes and fingers and sometimes their lives. He nearly brought down an aeroplane. Unlike many other critics of the technosphere, who are busy churning out books and doing the lecture circuit and updating their anarcho-primitivist websites, Kaczynski wasn’t just theorising about being a revolutionary. He meant it.'


Perhaps he's moved on since then and is willing to distance himself from these insane acts without any equivocation. I hope so.


OneKind and animal welfare. Is Nature kind?


A new animal welfare organization with some old illusions and delusions. This is from the OneKind Website, wonderful if the reading is superficial, ridiculous if the reading is well-informed, although not all of it is misguided.


'HumanKind around the world has become detached from nature, and we believe that this is the root cause behind the environmental crises we now face, such as climate change and mass extinctions, and the suffering endured by animals at the hands of humans. We believe that the more we understand animals, how amazing they are, and how similar they are to HumanKind, the more we realise we’re all OneKind. This shift in how we relate to the animals we share this planet with is fundamental if we are to restore our balance with the natural world and end cruelty to farm and wild animals.'


I've been an activist in the field of animal welfare for a very long time. In particular, I've been a determined and uncompromising opponent of factory faring, the fur trade and bullfighting. A page of this site gives a general introduction to my activism and there's also a very extensive page concerned with bullfighting, bullfighting: arguments against and action against


My aim has been to do what I can to reduce cruelty to animals, whilst recognizing that what I can achieve myself is very, very little in comparison with the scale of animal suffering. Not only am I just one person amongst so many others, I recognize that only a proportion of animal suffering can possibly be reduced by human action. Nature inflicts far more suffering on animals than humans.


What is the overall aim of HumanKind? Not, surely, to end all animal suffering Now! That's completely unrealistic, but so is the aim to end all animal suffering eventually. As long as nature has a part to play, and it must, then animals will suffer. The linkage between nature and human nature is very problematic, but human nature, like nature, can only be modified to an extent. It's overwhelmingly unlikely that all people will treat animals kindly, and even less likely that nature will treat animals kindly.


Recommended to the people at OneKind: a study of Thomas Malthus, one of those people who have drawn attention to the harshness of nature and the harshness of reality. In a state of nature, adorable couples -  of dogs, or rabbits, or people or whatever - tend to produce many adorable puppies or baby rabbits, or human babies or whatever. But many more than can possibly survive. The death of so many of these adorable puppies or rabbits or human babies or other progeny is generally inevitable, by starvation or disease. In the Malthusian world, which is also the world of nature, many are born but few can survive.


Human ingenuity and inventiveness has ended this natural cruelty for most people and for many, many animals. Puppies and pet rabbits and the majority of people have benefitted - but the release from this natural scourge is far more than a simple 'benefit.'






















Supply of safe water and the safe disposal of sewage: the scientific / technological way  and 'Nature's Way'

Above, the Cholera Monument in Sheffield, commemorating the 402 victims of the cholera epidemic of 1832. This, and other water-borne diseases, has undergone dramatic declines only since the discovery and application of scientific and technological methods.

Above, the life cycle of the liver fluke (phylum: Platyhelminthes),which cause parasitic diseases in various mammals, including humans. The life cycle includes a free-living larval stage in water. Liver flukes can be ingested in water drunk from natural sources in the countryside.

Criticism of biodynamic gardening and farming

Credit: Wikimedia Commons




Above, biodynamic growing: filling cow horns with manure and cow horns which have been filled with manure


It's very easy to show that biodynamic gardening is ludicrous, and that it's ludicrous for mainstream media to present it as if it deserves to be taken seriously. This section includes some material which was originally part of a comment I wrote which was published on a Guardian page after a piece by Allan Jenkins, a biodynamic gardener, one of the few comments I've added to other Websites.


I respect and admire Allan Jenkins, but I respect and admire him for making so much of his life after a difficult, deeply troubled childhood. I don't find many reasons to respect and admire him for his gardening practice, which I think is deeply flawed.

His book on the allotment plot where he gardens with his friend Howard Sooley, plot 29, has been widely admired. It contains an unflinching account of his childhood.


The review of the book by the Scots writer Cate Devine is a fine one, heartfelt and intensely involving:


The blog where he records his gardening at Plot 29, following biodynamic principles is at


This, to me, is unimpressive. It's a very meagre record. The archives list at the top of the page shows one entry for the whole of 2015, two for 2016 and no entries for years after that.

The content may be very, very restricted in amount but it does contain some significant contrasts. The first section, 'Having your cake and not eating it,' for example, includes not so very profound and impressive writing such as 'So much green, it could never be eaten' and 'Unable to touch, just to look, at the allotment falling.' This is 'creative writing' of a kind which is routine, mechanical, very easy to write and very easy to forget. Anyone who is impressed by it is very easy to impress. There are also statements of the obvious, not so astounding or interesting observation of nature, such as this:


'Summer fading to autumn

The days are definitely getting shorter and the mornings colder.'


The section, 'Stirred,' is different - very practical, at first sight, although grotesque, not in the least practical, if you take into account the background. Howard Sooley writes, 'Allan called to ask if I wanted to meet at the allotment and do a stir. I got in the 46 bus ... we put some 500 preparation into a bucket with water, stirring vigorously with our hands, making a vortex, energizing the Water. we took it in turns [punctuation as in the original]  half an hour each, for an hour ... an hour or so later, made our way to the 46 bus stop.'


Did they use their time wisely? Surely not. gives a very helpful guide to the significance of preparation 500 in biodynamic growing:


'The preparation involves packing cow manure (preferably from a lactating cow) into cow horns, identified by birthing rings.' A photograph of cow horns packed with cow manure is provided at the top of the page. These 'are buried in Autumn on a Root day with a descending moon, and then lifted in Spring, also on a Root day ...  Steiner specified the use of cow horns.  The reason for this is that BD500 specifically works to bring cosmic energies to ground as the earth deeply ‘inhales’ in Autumn.  If you look at a cow, it is certainly an earthy animal.  It is solidly grounded in its stance and gait, and feeds with its head low to the ground.'


 'If you look at a cow, it is certainly an earthy animal.' Cows are also certainly not the most intelligent animals - not nearly as intelligent as dogs or pigs, for example. I don't think that when they are using Preparation 500 at least, biodynamic gardeners are the most intelligent of gardeners.

To me, this practice is 'Jumbo Mumbo Jumbo,' (or, to give dictionary definitions of the words, 'foolish reverence, ritual or incantation on a large scale') and Rudolf Steiner is a deluded charlatan, not a visionary thinker.


The page includes a claim which uses very different langage. 'With regular applications, BD500 will assist with:


There's no scientific evidence that the use of cow horns packed with cow manure has any of these supposed benefits. The supposed benefits are substantial ones and none of the studies I've seen support distinctive biodynamic techniques. Organic methods often do have these benefits, to an extent, but the biodynamic manipulations are accompanied by the use of organic methods, such as the use of compost in substantial quantities, and it's these methods which have the beneficial effect.


The record of Plot 29 does mention a 'root day,' a day which in the cosmic scheme of things is supposed to be propitious for planting potatoes and other root vegetables. In a later section, the not very impressive results: 'We seem to be drawn towards growing potatoes ... Last year with the lack of sun the they [sic] marauded over half the plot, and then repaid us frugally with a few unimpressive tubers.'


There have been disappointing results with another crop, Mizuna: 'The pigeons were busy taking breakfast amongst the half chewed remnants of our mizuna.' Surely biodynamic gardening doesn't exclude such basics as crop protection, even if putting netting in place may be lacking in cosmic resonance?


And with tomatoes:


The biodynamic gardener records that he 'mopped up the mess of tomato plants we let run riot in the centre of the plot. In their unchecked exuberance they produced very little.' If these were cordon tomatoes, then they had to be pruned regularly to give a worthwhile crop, removing the side shoots. If they were bush tomatoes, giving them proper care would have given some sort of worthwhile crop.'

Despite gardening by the moon and stars, despite the advantages of Energized Water rather than the ordinary water used by non-biodynamic gardeners, the results seem very poor. I'm curious. If gardening by the moon and stars is such a wonderful idea, why isn't this wonderful idea more widely applicable? Would arranging voting in the House of Commons according to biodynamic principles have any advantages?

The page which contains my comment and the article by Allan Jenkins is at


It mentions another biodynamic preparation, the 'Three Kings preparation.'

'Epiphany 2019. The high tide has turned, the winter just starting to ebb, though there’ll be dark days to come, of course. It’s an auspicious time in the biodynamic calendar. The day we spray the Three Kings preparation and the plot is scented with frankincense and myrrh.'


He's obviously ready to waste not just his time but his money in pursuit of cosmic satisfaction.

This is from the page


The cost of the preparation, this 'gift to the elemental world,' is £22.80 (it's made clear that this includes Value Added Tax, VAT.)


'Three Kings Preparation




A special preparation that is applied on Jan 6th (Three Kings Day) each year as a gift to the elemental world. Consisting of gold (D2), frankincense and myrrh. Please note these need to be ground to a fine powder, using a pestle and mortar for one hour then stirred in water again for one hour before applying. The grinding of the ingredients can be done on the 31st Jan – 11.30pm and 12.30am is the best time then mixed with water and glycerine to form a paste. It is then this paste which is added to the water on Jan 6th. Alternatively the ingredients can be ground and then stirred all on Jan 6th (time needed 2 hours).

Please note that all preparations are vatable at 20% since Jan 4th 2011'

And this:

'Very different from the other preparations, the Three Kings Preparation was developed by Hugo Erbe, an early biodynamic farmer. It is sprayed on Three Kings Day (January 6th) as a gift to the elemental world. It also has a harmonising effect. A set of ingredients for making the preparation includes 15g each of gold (D2), frankincense and myrrh along with an instruction sheet and 25mls of glycerine. It is usually applied along the perimeter of a farm, garden or village and is sprayed out at 5m interval. One set is enough for 15km of boundary. A 10ha farm with a square boundary (if such a thing exists) will have a perimeter of about 4km.'


Spending the money on this rather than essential gardening supplies - or giving it to a good cause - needs an extraordinary commitment to the cause - a very, very mistaken commitment.


Another article by him is titled


Happy gardeners feel earth through their fingers


I never wear gloves, says Allan Jenkins. I enjoy getting dirt under my nails.


But the happiness of the gloveless gardener is outweighed by the risk - this is an article which was irresponsible and stupid. It was left to readers to make clear the risks, in the Comments section:

'The appeal to authenticity in relation to nature etc, combined with its associated moral-virtue, seems simply smug. I understand it, but it's all too literary.

'Ig you don't wear gloves; you'll get sepsis. And that's just stupid.

'I speak as a sepsis survivor and now wear gloves on the plot.


And this:


' ...  is important to note that handling compost (growing media) puts you at risk of contracting Legionaires' disease and the recommendation is to wear gloves.'


As well as this:


' ... the practicalities outweigh this heady romanticism. If you garden all day, all year, like myself, a horticulturist of 25 years, you make wearing gloves an important part of your job. The earth is wonderful, but I often come across glass, rusty bits of detrius, including nails, sharp pieces of flint, dog and cat poo. If you have to move between jobs, you are then tackling a rose one minute or having to handle a plant that is phytotoxic e.g hogweed or euphorbia or just plain toxic, Aconitum for example. After recently hearing about a very keen gardener who died of an infected wound caused by a rose thorn, and much in the media about sepsis, I give the soil and plants that surround me, the upmost respect.'


This is from my page Religions, a quote from Richard Wollheim's introduction to 'Hume on Religion.' Hume is David Hume, the greatest of all British philosophers. It gives David Hume's attitude to illusion and ignorance and people in the grip of illusion and ignorance:


' ... it might be possible to liberate them from this illusion or that, but it would only be replaced by another. 'In a future age,' he wrote, a propos of the doctrine of transubstantiation [the belief that during the Catholic mass, the bread and wine are transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ, without any alteration of appearances] 'it will probably become difficult to persuade some nations, that any human two-legged creature could ever embrace such principles.' Then with characteristic wryness he added, 'And it is a thousand to one, but these nations themselves shall have something full as absurd in their own creed ... '


But people in the grip of one form of illusion and ignorance may be very clear-sighted about other forms of illusion and ignorance. There are admirable, clear-sighted biodynamicists and admirable, clear-sighted vegans. (See my page Veganism: against. To obtain the cow horns for use in Biodynamic Preparation 500, the cows have to be killed, of course. For anyone in the grip of biodynamic ideology, this is a very important use for a cow horn, with cosmic significance. For the rest of us, killing an animal for this purpose can't possibly be defended. The cosmic significance is non-existent. Fortunately for the biodynamic ideologists, cows aren't killed just to obtain their horns. Vegan biodynamicists may or may not be able to overcome the contradiction. I don't suppose there are many of these people, but I may be mistaken, since people can accept many extreme contradictions. Other vegans, as well as non-vegans, can be united in condemning this stupid practice.


Brecht's play 'The Caucasian Chalk Circle' begins with a dispute which concerns land. Which group should be given the land, to cultivate it? Most of the play is taken up by a play within the play. The governor's wife abandons her child. Grusha, a peasant woman, saves the child and takes care of him. Later, the governor's wife claims the child. A judge, not at all a conventional one, devises a test, the chalk circe, and it's Grusha, not the actual reckless and uncaring mother, who is given the child. The play ends:


'But you, who have listened to the story of the Chalk Circle
Take note of the meaning of the ancient song:
That what there is shall belong to those who are good for it, thus
The children to the maternal, that they thrive;



And the valley to the waterers, that it shall bear fruit.'


Of course, generally, this is impossible to realize. Children can be taken from exceptionally poor mothers but not from other mothers. In general, people who legally own land can't have the land taken away from them and given to people who will take much better care of the land, but there are significant exceptions. Allotments, generally rented, are often taken away from people who don't cultivate them. Land has to be viewed as a precious resource.


Measuring the success of the  allotment cultivated by Allan Jenkins and Howard Sooley by mouthfuls of food produced per year, a unit I tend to use when examining not very productive allotments, then the verdict has to be an adverse one: on the evidence of their site, not nearly enough mouthfuls. Production of food is the primary purpose of allotments, and they don't seem to produce very much: not a good advertisement for biodynamic gardening. Some things on the site have nothing very much to do with allotments: all those photographs of autumn leaves collected on the streets of London.


Many biodynamic gardeners and farmers do make good use of the land they own or rent. One of many examples, Fern Verrow biodynamic farm in Herefordshire,


On a visit to the farm, Nigel Slater, very enthusiastic about the place, noted that

'The stags' bladders are hanging in the yard, drying in the sun, looking for all the world like baby coconuts. Stuffed with yarrow flowers, they are buried each year in one of the fields, along with the oak bark, gently scraped from the tree and buried in a pig's skull ... '


More on the stags' bladders, from the page 'The best vegetables you'll ever taste, an unjustifiable claim,

 'BD 502 is one of the more intriguing compost preparations: yarrow flowers are dried in summer, sewn into stags’ bladders the following spring and then strung up in full sun. Around Michaelmas (29 September), the stags’ bladders are buried in the earth, with other preps. Yarrow has long been associated with reproduction and growth, drawing on the powers of the planet Venus.'


This is an outstanding farm. To create a farm of this quality has needed immense effort and very impressive personal qualities and skills. But the attractiveness of the farm and the quality of the produce owe nothing to the biodynamic practice. They are obtainable without them, maintaining the farm's reputation for growing crops of exceptional quality, in an exceptionally attractive setting, but without using and endorsing those biodynamic practices, the ludicrous use of stags' bladders, pigs skulls and cow horns stuffed with one thing or another.


Jane Scotter and Harry Astler, the owners, claim on their page


'We believe strongly that using biodynamic principles produces the highest quality food, in its taste, nutrition and integrity.'


This is a general claim for biodynamic food, not just the food from Fern Verrow farm.' Allan Jenkins and Howard Sooley could make the same claim for the food that comes from their allotment, although not exactly in large quantities.


It's a claim which owes nothing to any responsible, fair-minded use of evidence. It's often claimed that Stradivarius violins are the best violins ever made. There have been efforts to find evidence to test the claim, by playing violins, made by Stradivarius and modern makers, with an expert panel listening as each violin is played in turn. The violins haven't been visible. The identity of each maker has been unknown to members of the panel. They have come to a decision about the sound qualities of each violin purely by listening.


Blind tastings to compare the taste of biodynamic food and non-biodynamic food can be organized, but of course taste is subjective. There are various preferences in taste, 'different tastes in taste.' For a particular product, some people prefer a milder taste or even a bland taste, some people an astringent taste, a far more intense taste. The claim 'We believe strongly ... ' is not just unaccompanied by mention of any evidence but oversimplified. Similarly for the claim for higher quality nutrition. The evidence in this case is very different in kind, demanding use of analytical chemistry and biochemistry. The claim for greater 'integrity' is so vague that it can't be tested. It's effectively meaningless.


Even if it could be shown that a biodynamic product had the advantage over a non-biodynamic product in some way, the difference is overwhelmingly likely to be marginal rather than very substantial. The slight advantage would be outweighed by the substantial disadvantages in time, money and additional effort which are necessary in biodynamic horticulture. Time spent in obtaining cow horns and stirring the preparation is time not spent in other ways, and there are countless ways to make use of valuable time. Is it to be stirring manure for an hour or caring for others, watching wildlife, looking at wildflowers, campaigning for a cause - the relief of human or animal suffering, for example - listening to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart or non-classical music, reading a novel, re-reading a novel, thinking and reflecting? Is it to be £22.80 spent on Three Kings Preparation or would it be better to spend the money on the necessities of life, given to a good cause, or spent in some other way?


My page Ethics: theory and practice contains a discussion of 'outweighing,' which has a central place in my ethical thinking, although outweighing has importance in many other spheres, including aesthetics and the material sphere. Something which is regarded as a good, as valuable, may be good and valuable in some respects but not others and concentrating attention on some aspects at the expense of others may involve distortion. There may be lesser goods and greater goods, the greater outweighing the lesser.


Another objection to biodynamic views such as the ones held by Jane Scotter and Harry Astler is that these views are in conflict with rational, scientific inquiry at so many different points. Astrology has many linkages with Biodynamics. The Nazi Heinrich Himmler was very fully involved in astrology - I don't in the least claim that present day astrologers are Nazis, of course. Modern politicians who relied upon astrology to decide the date of political decisions would be irresponsible. Modern medicine, with all its massive benefits, has been advanced by rejecting pre-scientific assumptions, or many of them. The doctrine of signatures, for example, was based on the assumption that herbs resembling various parts of the body can be used by herbalists to treat diseases of those body parts. Modern technology is essential for conducting the work of Fern Verrow farm. After the food has been produced using sound agricultural methods and what amounts to superstition, it's transported to distant London, to Skye Gingell's restaurant 'Spring,' using modern transportation, along modern roads, with modern conveniences, in a country defended by very advanced technology, by people who have not the least interest in biodynamics and are none the worst for it. (If they did accept this nonsense and spent too long on it, they would be less able to do their job.)

Any farms which made use of Rudolf Steiner's crackpot methods in France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Poland and other countries up to the outbreak of the Second World War would have found that their workers were subject to arrest, deportation, extermination or other fates, if the Nazis decided. Biodynamics leaves out the all-important context, the vulnerability of people, the harshness of reality.

In  'Organic Farming in Nazi Germany: The Politics of Biodynamic Agriculture, 1933–1945' Peter Staudenmaier documents and discusses some very important aspects of the relations between Nazis and biodynamicists.


Environmental History, Volume 18, Issue 2, 1 April 2013, Pages 383–411



Peter Staudenmaier's exceptionally interesting and very detailed discussion makes clear the complexity of the connections between  biodynamic movement (itself quite complex and, to an extent, heterogeneous) and the Nazi movement. There were Nazi opponents of  biodynamics, some of them prominent, as well as supporters. The paper can be downloaded from the site

Peter Staudenmaier writes in the abstract, 'I argue that the entwinement of biodynamic advocates and Nazi institutions was more extensive than scholars have previously acknowledged.' He quotes from the biodynamic journal, Demeter, including a reference to ‘love for the soil and love for the homeland: This must be our goal and our lofty mission, to fight together with our Führer Adolf Hitler for the liberation of our beloved German fatherland!’

A particularly disturbing fact is that there were biodynamic operations in some of the concentration camps. Peter Staudenmaier writes,

'In January 1939, Himmler created a new SS corporation under Pohl’s supervision, the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Ernährung und Verpflegung (German Research Facility for Food and Nutrition), known as the DVA. A substantial portion of its operations consisted of agricultural plantations located at concentration camps including Auschwitz, Dachau, and Ravensbrück, as well as estates in occupied Eastern Europe and in Germany. Many of these agricultural projects were biodynamic plantations growing organic products for the SS and the German military, with production monitored by the Reich League for Biodynamic Agriculture. Ravensbrück was the first DVA estate to be converted to biodynamic cultivation, in May 1940. Eventually the majority of the DVA’s plantations were run biodynamically. The DVA also marketed Demeter products, cooperated with Weleda, and contributed financially to the Reich League for Biodynamic Agriculture. Pohl recruited several leading biodynamic figures, including Max Karl Schwarz and Nicolaus Remer, to work on organic enterprises at Auschwitz ... The centerpiece of the DVA biodynamic operations was the sizable plantation at Dachau, which produced medicinal herbs and other organic goods for the SS. As at Ravensbrück, the labor on the Dachau biodynamic plantation was performed by camp inmates. From 1941 onward, the Dachau operation was overseen by anthroposophist Franz Lippert, a leader of the biodynamic movement from its beginnings and head gardener at Weleda from 1924 to 1940. Shortly after taking over the Dachau plantation Lippert joined the SS, and in 1944 he received special recognition and a bonus for his work there.'


Further information concerning Professor Staudenmaier, including some of his research interests:










Green orthodoxy: creationists and naturists


Green: 'immature, unsophisticated, or gullible' (Colllins English Dictionary, entry for 'green,' meaning 13.)  I criticize Extinction Rebellion on this page (as well as Animal Rebellion and Insulate Britain).  I criticize some supporters of Extinction Rebellion, such as the people at St Mark's Church, Sheffield (some of the people there - too many of them) I also discuss people and organizations whose delusions are less obvious.


Extinction Rebellion has absolutely no interest in practical solutions. Extinction Rebellion has no interest in rational use of the police force. To be in one place is not to be in another place. Does she agree or disagree with that? If the police are attending to the ridiculously naive, narcissistic posers and self-publicists who make up the membership of Extinction Rebellion, they can't be attending to other problems.

Is claiming a virtue the same as having the virtue. Is hypocrisy impossible in environmental activist circles. (We all know that it's perfectly possible for a Christian to be a hypocrite.) Is it possible for an Extinction Rebellion activist or sympathizer to avoid fossil fuels completely, to have nothing do do with fossil fuels? Obviously, these people realize that petrol and diesel are fossil fuels. Do they refuse to use buses, taxis, all vehicles that use fossil fuels. What do they propose? Bringing back horse-drawn transport? Why do they think that sailing ships aren't widely used? Why do they think that marine engines power ships, running on fossil fuels. What's wrong with non-polluting wind power? Well, when Westerly winds are dominant, travelling in the opposite direction poses problems. The problems can be overcome by 'tacking' but that adds to the length of the journey. Canals can be used and the barges can be pulled by horses - again, non-polluting transport but very, very slow, limited to small loads, not usable when the canals freeze, in short, not a practical solution.


The linkages between some Christian views - not so much 'some' Christian views as the views of large numbers of Christians - and some environmentalist views - not so much 'some' environmentalist views as the views of large numbers of environmentalists haven't been discussed, I think, or not widely discussed. Christians like L S-L take the view that God's creation is good but has been ruined by humanity (or mankind). Environmentalists like L S-L take the view that nature is good but has been ruined by humanity (or mankind.) Christians with these views aren't equipped to recognize the fact that if God created the world, he also created disease-causing organisms and pests. Environmentalists aren't equipped to recognize the fact that if nature is good, nature has given rise to disease-causing organisms and pests. These Christians and environmentalists aren't equipped to understand natural causes.


'God's creation,' so called, the world allegedly created by God, is a hideously problematic place.

If these are two creatures created by God, what kind of God created them? A benevolent God?


Below, a mosquito feeding on a reptile:



Below, Anapheles albimanus mosquito feeding on a human arm. This mosquito is a vector of malaria.  Most species of mosquito require a meal of blood to begin egg development. Many species can ingest pathogens whilst they bite, transmitting them to future hosts, causing a wide range of diseases.  Mosquitoes cause the deaths of more people than any other animal taxon: over 700,000 each year.



The causative organisms which caused this disease, filariasis, were not created by humanity. It's humanity which has devised treatment for the terrifyingly wide range of infectious diseases.



So far as I know, there has never been a Prayer Campaign to combat lymphatic filariasis, although there have been many other Prayer Campaigns (not using this particular name) - prayers for peace, prayers in time of war, prayers for success in war (often coming from both of the opposing sides). The victory over Nazi Germany wasn't won by prayer. A Prayer Campaign could never have achieved the success of the World Health Organization's campaign against lymphatic filariasis, which causes severe disablement. From the site




How do Christians explain - or explain away - the less often mentioned aspects of 'God's creation,' the insect vectors of animal and plant disease, the disease causing microbes, and so much more? The explanations of the Christian creationists will be different from the explanations of Christians who accept, concede, perhaps, that Darwinian or neo-Darwinist evolution explains how the vast variety of animals and plants came about.


There are Youtube videos on any number of aspects of 'creation,' so called, which don't seem to be mentioned in polite Christian circles, I would think. Since God is omnipotent, according to orthodox Christian belief, he could easily have arranged methods of feeding animals not dependent upon tearing prey to bits, or wounding prey without managing to kill it. The behaviour shown in this image


and this Youtube video (the video is far more unpleasant than the image, although the experiences of the duckling and the ducks shown in the image were just as unpleasant.)


of a heron eating ducklings, wasn't in the  least a necessity in the 'scheme of creation.'


Some mildly distasteful images. In all the images of my gardening work, none of them show, or show clearly, plant pests and diseases. Time to redress the imbalance a little. Not shown, the effects of Phytophthora infestans, which causes potato and tomato blight. The Irish potato famine was caused by this fungus.



St Mark's Church, Sheffield



We are living through exciting and fearful times. Fearful in that there is so little time left to protect our planet from irreversibly over-heating. But exciting as people are coming together to demand action from politicians. And coming together in ways that are inspirational, creative, based in relationship, and building on all the things we value in our communities. Our students challenged us to join them on the School Strike on 20 September and hundreds did so in Sheffield city centre, snaking through the streets then gathering to hear impassioned calls to action. I was there with Hope for the Future. Many of the city’s clergy were there too, clearly visible in dog collars, looking for ways their own churches can engage more with the issues. Ordinary, decent, good people are gathering together all over the world and finding a voice.

Greta Thunberg, whose prophetic voice refuses to be silenced, recently addressed Congress about the carbon budget: ‘With today’s emissions levels, that remaining budget is gone within less than 8 and a half years. These numbers are not my opinions. They aren’t anyone’s opinions or political views. This is the current best available science. ‘These numbers are very uncomfortable. But people have the right to know. And the vast majority of us have no idea these numbers even exist. In fact not even the journalists that I meet seem to know that they even exist. Not to mention the politicians.’ And Extinction Rebellion (XR) have been present on the streets at the heart of our cities and Government. Protesting. Demanding. Disrupting. Singing. Dancing. Praying. Feeding babies. Doing yoga. Talking.

Lu Skerratt writes:

‘On 7 October, XR launched its largest worldwide action. In London thousands of rebels joined the rebellion for up to two weeks, spurred on by the need to act now for our climate before it is too late. Myself, and other members of St Mark's, are just some of those rebels. For us, XR speaks truth to power, where a strategy of non-violent disruptive civil disobedience is a way to make effective positive change in order to save this planet from human destruction. ‘My Christian faith felt central to the call from XR to ‘Act Now’, and I spent much of my time in London with Christian Climate Action (the Christian 'wing'), praying, taking part in actions, and doing the daily offices, including Eucharist in front of the police line. Despite the noise, the clamour, the thousands of arrests, the tears, the rain, the fear and the apprehension, it felt like a profoundly holy place. I was shoved, spat at by passers-by, threatened with a night in the cells but kept on, like so many others, joined in union and in partnership that though peaceful action profound change could be made. Christ was present in the mess of it all and with a collective hope (like fresh water) that we were once again renewed in God's call to us, to be stewards of God's creation... And it was good…’

Written by Margaret Ainger


Renewable energy: some realities



Why are most ships not equipped  with sails rather than engines which use fossil fuel? For very good reasons. When winds fail, the non-polluting sailing ship is becalmed and can make no progress, sometimes for long periods.  Often, the direction of the wind is unfavourable. The ship is vulnerable to severe storms. Sailing ships are limited in size, with limited capacity in their holds, compared to ships with diesel engines. Sailing ships could never be a practicable means of transporting crude oil, for example. Crude oil is indispensable, of course, for purposes as varied as the transportation of timber and as a source of organic molecules for the manufacture of plastics and a vast range of other products necessary in medicine and for innumerable other purposes.


 Non-renewable resources are indispensable for many, many uses - without them, life is 'nasty, brutish and short.' In this country, the need for timber, a renewable resource, is far greater than the supply. If timber is to be used, it has to be imported, on ships, and ships which, realistically, have to use fossil fuel.


The Thanet Green Party Council Election Manifesto 2015 begins, 'If elected to the Council, Thanet Green Party Councillors will:


'Promote and support Green industries.'


So Green Party Councillors wouldn't support a manufacturer of marine engines, which are polluting? Do Green Party Councillors imagine that the country can do without trains with diesel engines, lorries with diesel engines, cars with petrol or diesel engines?


Cycling is favoured by Green Party supporters (and many other people, of course) but the manufacture of cycles would be impossible without the import to this country of rubber, a product of tropical agriculture, by ships with engines which use fossil fuels. The manufacture of cycles requires steel. Those green people  unaware of the crucial importance of coal in the manufacture of steel from steel ores, would be well advised to begin an ignorance correction emergency initiative.


I think of one particular cyclist I've seen, an Extinction Rebellion activist who was heavily fined for refusing to give his name and address to a police officer. He claimed he was busy at the time - praying. He may well be an Ex-Extinction Rebellion activist. He may have realized that continuing these futile protests would very likely be very expensive, that paying fines again and again isn't practical.


He rides - or did ride - a modified cycle which allows him to transport small quantities of wood and very small machines. He surely realizes that manufacture of cycles would be impossible if the materials needed for the manufacture of cycles were transported only by cycles or by other uses of human muscle power, by carrying them (or by horse power.) The manufacture of cycles requires a flourishing steel industry as well as so many other advanced technologies - mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and the rest.


There are cycles which can be used in rough terrain, of course, but as a practicable way of transporting people, and, occasionally, very small quantities of wood, tools (but not machine tools, obviously, the tools needed to manufacture cycles), and shopping - but not too many toilet rolls or kitchen rolls at once - cyclists have an absolute need of paved roads. This will be news to Sam Wakeling, most likely, but the construction of paved roads needs materials derived from fossil fuels.


Bitumen is derived from crude oil. It has adhesive properties and is used to bond aggregates used to construct roads. It also makes the road surface impermeable to rain and snow. In general, for most purposes - almost all purposes - without bitumen, no roads, only rough tracks, usable only by all-terrain cycles, not the lorries needed to transport materials in bulk to the cycle factories or the machine tools and other equipment needed by cycle factories.


Below, the polluting but practical engine room of USNS hospital ship 'Comfort' and an image of the ship, used in disaster-relief and humanitarian missions worldwide, whose humanitarian work will not be delayed for days, weeks or months by lack of wind:


Another polluting machine, a helicopter. 'Victims of Super Typhoon Megi unload humanitarian aid supplies from a U.S. Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter.'



Again and again, lorries, polluting vehicles, have delivered humanitarian supplies which have saved the lives of victims of earthquakes. Often, earthquakes have made roads unusable. In this case, humanitarian supplies have been dropped by helicopters, other polluting methods of transportation. But the manufacture of helicopters, like the manufacture of lorries, doesn't qualify as 'green industry.' Many, many Green Party supporters either loathe their manufacture or have absolutely no interest in their manufacture. Responsible, realistic parties do have an interest.




Intermittent power is a major disadvantage of solar panels, used on a small scale on the roofs of buildings and here in a solar power farm. Even a massive solar farm, much larger than this one, makes a surprisingly small contribution to the national grid but the most significant disadvantage is the fact that when the sun is hidden, the contribution to the national grid is far less than when it does shine and at night, the contribution is non-existent, of course.


The small solar farm shown above is between Cambridge and Ely, on the fens - this and other farms on the fens have a major impact on the ecology of this habitat. Returning this area to its original form is out of the question as long as the solar farm stays. Any question of farming the land to contribute to the food security of this country is out of the question.




Above, a wind farm in North Ayrshire. Wind farms are killers of birds, killers of bats, ugly to most people with aesthetic interests, making a very useful - essential - contribution to the power needs of the country, but obviously not at all useful in windless or calm conditions.


Germany has made enormous efforts to promote renewable sources of energy. This shows solar and wind power devices (useful but not attractive at all) at Lisberg Castle in Germany.




From the site


which points out the disadvantages of intermittency. Despite efforts to boost renewable energy sources,  coal unseated wind power as the biggest energy contributor to the German network in the first six months of 2021, according to official statistics released on Monday.

The data comes as Germany looks to speed up its exit from coal-powered plants after years of mounting pressure from climate experts and activists  over the country's dependence on coal and its detrimental impact in fueling the climate crisis.

But the latest figures also reveal the challenges that lie ahead with the country's energy shift.

What did the data show?

Data published by the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) found that the production of electricity from "conventional" energy sources rose by 20.9% this year, compared to the first half of 2021.

In total, conventional energy sources — including coal, natural gas and nuclear energy — comprised 56% of the total electricity fed into Germany's grid in the first half of 2021.

Coal was the leader out of the conventional energy sources, comprising over 27% of Germany's electricity. 


Wind power's contribution to the electric grid, on the other hand, dropped significantly compared to the previous year — from 29% to 22%.


Wind had been the top producer of electricity, but has now logged its lowest figures since 2018.

Why did renewable energy dip?


Renewable energies in total dropped during the first half of this year — going from the top producers of electricity to comprising 44%.


But what led to wind power's sudden fall? Statistics officials said the weather was partly to blame.


A lack of wind from January to March this year sharply reduced the amount of electricity produced by Germany's wind turbines. 


Note: This is a vast and complex field. The information given obviously can't do justice to it. Statistical comparisons are obviously subject to changes with time and the changes may well necessitate new conclusions to be drawn.


  {}  Green Objections: why the Green Party doesn't deserve support