The latest row surrounding neonicotinoids merely shows how wide of the mark agricultural strategies really are. Written for the Huffington Post and the Campaign for Real Farming website.
The problems of the world in eight balloons
(And the absolute importance of Enlightened Agriculture)
April 10, 2014
Written for the Campaign website.
February 14, 2014
In this article I argue in the teeth of learned objections that the answer to both questions is “Yes”
I weigh up the pros and cons
In my book Why Genes are Not Selfish and People are Nice, I suggest that if we want to put the world to rights we have to re-think all the big ideas that underpin our lives.
December 28, 2012
The commercial-political-scientific momentum is nudging us step by step towards a world of GM crops and livestock. Yet, the fundamental questions remain unanswered. Does GM really solve problems that need solving? Is it really intended to save the world, or to maximize short-term wealth and centralize control? Written for the College section of the CRF website.
Written for The Daily Mail .
Written for the College section of the CRF website.
I wrote this article for Resurgence soon after my book, Feeding People is Easy, was published in April 2007.
Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral: Why Nature is ultimately unfathomable—and why reverence towards it is the only sensible attitude
February 27, 2007
Here is the text of a talk I felt very honoured to be invited to give at St Paul's Cathedral, London, one evensong in October 2006.
October 16, 2005
This is the most recent piece I have written for New Scientist—in the wake of The Secret Life of Trees (published in the US as The Tree).
August 16, 2005
Here is a review published in The Independent of two books I felt were of enormous relevance to our times.
July 12, 2005
In 2005 I was invited to deliver the Eve Balfour annual lecture for Britain's Soil Association on the theme of “Can Organic Farming Feed the World?” I was further privileged to share the platform with the acclaimed Ethiopian agriculturalist Tewolde Egziabher, and his wife Sue. Here is the text of my lecture.
A talk at the Royal Society:
why science and agricultural science in particular need to be rescued and generally re-thought
March 14, 2005
In March 2005 the Royal Society no less invited me to speak to one of its informal evening audiences. I decided to tell whoever would listen that science, quite simply, has fallen into bad company and is being sadly misdirected. I focused my remarks on agriculture where the trend is most obvious, but the principle applies generally.
February 18, 2004
From time to time I have written for The Guardian. Here is a piece from 2004 on the misapplication of genetic engineering.
May 12, 2003
I have written on and off for New Scientist for more than 30 years (having bought the very first edition, I think for the bargain price of seven old pence (about 3p) as a second-former at school). I also worked there for a time in the 1980s. Here is a piece from 2003 in response to a meeting held at Britain's Royal Institution on the Precautionary Principle, as applied to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
December 11, 2000
Written for The Independent in 2000. It questions the standard notion that Neanderthals were thugs and down-and-outs—which seems to me to be a thesis born of racism. More generally, standard notions always need to be questioned. Surprisingly often, the things that everyone takes for granted are founded only in a random guess of some long-gone authority, or in prejudice.
This article was written a few months before publication of In Mendel’s Footnotes. Longleat is a Safari Park in England.
Functional foods, pharmacological impoverishment, and why “nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution”
November 5, 1999
For the better part of a decade now I have been banging on about a concept I like to call “Pharmacological Impoverishment”. Here is how I explained the idea in 1999 at the annual Caroline Walker meeting at the Royal Society in London.
January 4, 1998
I wrote quite a lot for New Statesman when Peter Wilby was editor. This one from 1998 is a variation on the favourite theme of “Pharmacological Impoverishment”. Jack Straw at the time was Britain's Home Secretary and Keith Hellawell had been appointed as the drugs “Tsar”, with task of sorting out the problems.