During his long tenure as successor to the throne, then Prince Charles was a defender of the environment. The Prince of Wales website emphasizes the use of “his unique position of him to support action for a sustainable future”. He testifies to making changes in his lifestyle that made him greener: driving his Aston Martin luxury car with excess white wine, not eating meat or fish two days a week, and giving up dairy one day at the week. When the monarch was in charge of the Highgrove farm in South West England, all production was only organic farming.
King Charles did not discover his propensity for sustainability on his own. After Charles met Indian anti-globalization activist and environmental advocate Vandana Shiva, his focus shifted from raising awareness of climate change to advocating more extreme measures. Shiva has been repeatedly targeted for her claims and her unorthodox methods, most recently when over 50 biotechnology experts wrote an open letter to the University of Missouri in Kansas City regarding an upcoming conference. The letter attacks her support for manual weeding, a labor-intensive agricultural practice used in developing countries due to a lack of pesticides; banned in the state of California – her claim that fertilizers should never be allowed in agriculture, oa tweet in which he compared the use of genetically modified crops to rape.
Shiva also views GMOs as “patriarchal” and “anthropocentric”, a view supported by Charles who defined them in 2008 as a major environmental disaster. The fact that the real accepts advice that translates into his own ideas became evident when he published his book “Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World” in 2011. In it, he complains that the industrialized world has turned away from God and the harmony of things – we divorced “sacred geometry” by implementing global capitalism at the expense of the environment.
A book review states: “Consider opposing views such as cynicism or blindness. He likes to overlook complexity “.
Whether or not Charles ran an organic farm that practiced manual weeding shouldn’t matter in British politics, except that he does. The new king, despite being a constitutional monarch, is influential in all nations where he serves as ruler and has the ability to lobby for his views.
Just last year, the British press revealed the extent to which Queen Elizabeth had been able to use opaque back channels of the legislative procedure to influence laws. There are also publicly expressed political views on the table. When a Canadian radio station tricked the Queen into a phone prank with a fake Jean Chrétien, then Prime Minister of Canada, it became clear to what extent the ruler was willing to publicly announce his opposition to Québec’s attempt to obtain the ‘independence.
The policies advocated by Charles would radically change the global agricultural system, causing significant disruptions. Despite innovation in organic farming, the practice produces less food than conventional methods, an average of 43% to 72% less. When the researchers modeled a scenario of 100% adoption of organic practices in England and Wales, they found that it would actually increase carbon dioxide emissions because more natural resources are needed to produce the same amount of goods.
Charles’ views on agriculture run counter to the priorities of the British parliament. The House of Commons is considering a bill that would allow genetic engineering in crops. Such a move would be one of the most notable breaks from EU policy, where legislation prevents the use of modern gene-editing technology. The UK has also avoided the more radical agricultural reforms the EU is embracing: while the EU’s “Farm to Fork” strategy foresees a significant reduction in agricultural land use, the UK government promises plans that will help British farmers to become more productive. The fact that “farm-to-table” legislative packages are now facing delays in Brussels due to concerns about food shortages, further underscores the point that Charles’s preferred model of sustainability could lead to disaster.
Whatever your opinion of the royal family, it is clear that you excuse the irrational political prescriptions of Buckingham Palace. The time has come for the monarch to abandon his advisers and unfounded views on modern agriculture.
Bill Wirtz is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Consumer Choice Center, focusing on new regulations in technology, agriculture, commerce and lifestyle. He recently published “No copy-paste: what not to emulate from the European agricultural regulation. “