Wednesday 10pm – 11pm, Channel 4
George Monbiot is no stranger to confronting issues he believes in, some may remember his attempted ‘citizens arrest’ of former US ambassador John Bolton in May 2008, Monbiot believed Bolton was an instigator of the Iraq War, something he was vehemently against. While attempting to arrest a former ambassador was a ‘one-off’, his activism and drive to improve the environment spans decades, in fact in 1995 he was presented with a United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement by Nelson Mandela. It is fair to say that when he has an environmental message to pass, it might just be worth listening to, regardless of your beliefs on the matter.
In this documentary Monbiot takes a direct stab at the meat farming industry and how it is destroying the planet, while Liz Bonnin also targeted a programme of a similar nature, this one is different – it focuses on the issues at home in the UK. From the outset he is stark, stating “If we all go on as we are, we’re going to run out of planet”.
Exploring in depth the impact farming has had on the landscapes, Monbiot examines the effect the UK’s 23 millions sheep has had on trees in upland areas, stating that much of the public does not recognise this, further detailing the reality he says “We’re blind to the problem: some of what we think are Britain’s most beautiful landscapes, such as the Lake District, are treeless, sheep-wrecked deserts”. He also looks at the impact agriculture has had on the River Wye, revealing a high level of pollution and how a Scottish farm is trying to ‘re-wild’ by culling deer. It is not just the ‘normal’ farming (if you can call it that) that takes a bashing from Monbiot, the righteous who believe in organic and free range farming does not have an impact on the environment are in for a shock – the vast amount of land they take up devastate the planet according to him, and that’s before you factor in millions of chickens droppings on the land each day!
While the programme is very ‘doom and gloom’, Monbiot does offer some hope, he looks at possible alternatives to industrial farming, he offers lab grown meat and a firm who have developed an entirely new protein-rich flour which has been made from microbes. He believes these processes will “still feed 10 billion people and bring the natural world back from the point of collapse”.
While the programme may have a very strange name and a late showing, it is definitely worth a watch.
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