Monday, September 29, 2014

Shill or False Prophet?

Al Mussell of George Morris Centre has some alarming ideas as recently quoted in  Better Farming.

The Better Farming articles specifically mentions Al Mussell's paper Four Fallacies in Agricultural Sustainability, and Why They Matter: Part 4- Technology Will Solve All Problems

However, I cannot find the alleged quotations attributed to Al Mussell by Better Farming in Al Mussell's Part 4 paper.  The quotations in Better Farming also seem to be at odds with the general theme of Al's paper.  Assuming that Dave Pink (Better Farming's reporter) did a 1-on-1 interview of Al Mussell, and the quotations are accurate statements taken from that 1-on-1 interview, then here are my comments on the Better Farming version of events.

Perhaps we should start with the definition of sustainability  "Environmental Science: the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance" (see ).

Mussell seems to have distorted the word when he said "Sustainable agriculture – a philosophy that essentially calls on farmers to not take any risks with new technologies".  Mussell then adds that sustainability is undesirable and unobtainable.

First of all, sustainability is not the rejection of change.  Sustainability does not require being a Luddite.

In fact, sustainability calls for huge change, away from our recent deviation into unsustainable practices, calling for a return to a path of more and more sustainability.

If Mussell is against sustainability, where does Mussell's proposed path eventually lead?  If his recommended path is one of unsustainability, then his path eventually leads into a blind alley, a cliff, or a swamp of infinite quicksand.  Either way, if we  follow Mussell's path, we will eventually face severe consequences.

Who in their right mind would follow a False Prophet who recommends the path of unsustainability?

Is Mussell proposing that it's OK to be unsustainable now, provided we suddenly swerve back onto the righteous path of sustainability just before the arrival of the natural consequences of our folly?

To me, that's a recipe for disaster.  Humans develop habits that are hard to change.  Think, what was the last issue on which all of the world agreed?  When it came time to turn the steering wheel at the last second, everybody will be grabbing for the steering wheel simultaneously.  We'll crash for sure.

Is it OK to go on a murderous rampage as long as we eventually stop the rampage, then start behaving ourselves at the last possible moment that will avoid disaster?

Sustainability calls us to think about all of the consequences for our actions, not just the benefits immediately before our face.

Sustainability means that we and the 7 or more generations who come after us will be able to continue doing as we propose to do today.

If we are raping the planet today while dumping the cost for our wayward actions onto future generations, then this is not sustainable.

How can Al Mussell get so confused on such a simple issue?

I can only assume he gets so confused because someone pays him to confuse himself and mislead others.

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

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