Last one for a while on GM.
One of the things I get asked about from time to time is what is commonly called “Genetically Modified” crops and animals – of which the uniformed press and individuals see (commonly said) as having “Frankenstein” risks. It is, in their defence, true to say that all technology is two-edged. Mistakes happen and when GM is done right, but in the wrong hands, it is potentially dangerous and immoral. That, strange as it may seem, is why we should get involved. Genetic Engineering (GE) is dramatically more precise and accurate than “Dolly the Sheep” which was certainly a breakthrough. With GE, we can now have “Gene Editing” and “Gene Snipping” which are dramatically more precise and safer. This means we can speed up the evolution of safer crops which are disease resistant and we will need less pesticides and animals can be healthier with less suffering and needing less veterinary treatments. We also need international agreements and supervision of it development and use, especially when applied to human development – which is already happening.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 1 March 19
Readers will be aware of the frustrations of regulation which I sometimes refer to in this blog and, of course, of their own experience. However, I came across an new one (to me at least) this morning; my local County Council’s “Behaviours framework” – all 12 pages of it, plus several other similar sites for the same Council.
I am sad for my nation; we have come to an over-regulated, uninformed bureaucracy, consuming enormous manpower and resources with avoiding making a mistake or being thought to have made a mistake, this producing less “bangs for our bucks”. The words “respect” and “common sense” appear to have been lost in education by parents and schools. If each and every one of use began to practice these two words in what we do every day towards actually doing something productive, we, individually and nationally, would not only have a sense of direction and be much more productive, we would all be happier and better off. Allowing lawyers to advertise was a disaster.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 9th January 2019
More organic matter in the soil! Where from?
There is a government dishonesty about the Commons Select Committee (Environmental Audit) report on soil health which was released today (25 Oct 18). On one hand, the Committee reports (and no doubt correctly so) that “the target of soil sustainably by 2030 will not be met unless further action is taken, and that failing to prevent soil degradation could lead to increased flood risk, lower food security, and greater carbon emissions.”
Probably right BUT on the other hand, the Environment Agency, in its fear of taking any sort of risk, has altered the regulations on composting so that it is possible to obtain a permit to compost 50 tonnes of material a year without concrete, but more than 50 tonnes pa will need concrete. Now, because of the cost of concrete, that really means to be economic the scale will go up to 25,000 tonnes pa and the cost of that set up will be in excess of £500,000. Nobody will do that without a contract to supply the input waste material. So no one will come into the industry. So, recycling of urban wastes is seriously restricted. AND that is where the organic matter will come from to make the soils sustainable.
Pity that there appears to be little connection between the regulators and the MP’s on the Select Committee.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 25 Oct 18
As I get older, I become more aware of increasing regulation, and Whitehall is actually worse, significantly worse, than Brussels. I see it in every walk of life from farming to hospitals, from construction to “human Rights”. I am reminded of what the historian Jane Marshall observed;
“It is in the history of the world that whenever an empire collapses and for whatever reason, those left in government in the center pass more and more regulations (or whatever they call them at the time) in the belief that they can stop the decline. What always happens is that they stifle innovation and inhibit entrepreneurial activity and accelerate the rate of decline. That is what is happening here (the UK) and now.”
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 2 Sept 18