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Another step backwards on the Green Deal

What a scandal!

Speaking to EU agriculture ministers, the European Commissioner for food security Stella Kyriakides informed her audience that “it has not yet been decided” when the proposed directive for a 50% reduction in pesticide use will be presented. This means the Green Deal plan to halve pesticide use by 2030 is being effectively put on ice. Naturally this is justified by talk of the war in Ukraine and geopolitical instability.

There is unanimous agreement that “pesticides are harmful to health and the environment” and that we should strive increasingly to decontaminate the land and water systems. Logic would suggest that we can’t “postpone” the elimination of something that does harm, imperilling the hopes of the younger generations for the future.

So what would a “voice in the wilderness” like our own say about this?

“The war in Ukraine has brought home to us contradictions we have never wanted to see before. The Covid19 pandemic should have taught us that the globalized world consumes more than nature can protect or replenish.  This means that we must come up with new policies that release us from the chains with which unrestrained global liberalization has bound us. Instead, just as for energy – in which we see coal and nuclear power returning to the equation – so for farming, there is a return to chemicals and intensive production. Once again all the (feeble) attempts that should, in theory at least, have allowed us to achieve a green transition are being called into question. In other words, instead of looking ahead we are continuing to look backwards.

We must (and I stress this) change our way of life, and stop consuming as if there were no biological and ecological limits to be respected. Humans are not just consumers or customers; rather, we are one (and only one!) of the components of Planet Earth. If we think we can dominate it, we are mistaken. Our planet is sending us signals every second of every day to make us change our ways. And we are not listening! Neither Artificial Intelligence nor the mapping of all the DNA that exists on earth will allow us to survive the catastrophes that we ourselves are causing. We have to re-learn how to live on what is necessary and reject what is superfluous. We have to feed ourselves without at the same time poisoning ourselves. And we have to do it now.”

Putting aside the role of preacher, we note that the European Commission’s Vice-president, Frans Timmermans, attempted to oppose such a postponement – at least in words – and so we welcome him, if he agrees, to the group of those “crying in the wilderness”.