What the Green Movement Got Wrong

Wow! What a controversial title for a programme - "What the Green Movement Got Wrong"

The show is on Channel 4 tonight at 9.00pm so it's probably going to be well worth a watch, especially when the blurb on the info button says:
"A group of environmentalists are challenging the movement they helped to create, advocating radical solutions to climate change, including GM crops and nuclear energy."
What do you think about that? Watch the programme tonight on Channel 4 at 9.00pm and let us know...


Having watched the 75 minute show it seemed to make the assumption that the "green movement" is an inflexible bunch of hardcore, elitist extremists. Mentions were made that the green movement completely opposes GM foods, that greens completely oppose nuclear power and that environmentalists are generally a bunch of Apple Mac users who are the sort of people who have enough money to only eat expensive organic food. The film-makers painted a picture of environmentalists as narrow-minded and dogmatic.

Two main interviewees of the show were Whole Earth Catalog editor Stewart Brand and environmentalist Mark Lynas. The two each put forward their case for changing their minds on environmentally contentious issues such as the generation of nuclear power and the production of genetically modified food.

Nuclear power was touted as mankind's only hope for an energy future and that the green movement had, by opposing nuclear power generation, unwittingly forced the world into only generating electricity from coal-powered stations. This, the programme said, had the effect of pumping more greenhouse gases and polluting the earth further. So climate change is the fault of the greens.

Mark Lynas seemingly backed-up his pro-nuclear stance by visiting the deserted city near the Chernobyl reactor whilst the show reeled off a slew of supposedly hyped-up figures that painted a horror story of the number of cases of deaths, deformities etc from the nuclear fallout and the contamination of the region. Mark Lynas appeared to be saying that the negatives of nuclear meltdown were nowhere near as bad as painted by the green movement. That only 68 people died as a direct result of the immediate cleanup of the Chernobyl power plant site at the time (1986) was stated as incontrovertible proof that the green movement's scary "millions" was a fabrication.

As for GM, again the narrative focused on how greens were simply negative in the face of GM crops and that Stewart Brand, driving his 4x4 across America, was living proof that GM was OK because it had been in the mainstream food chain for ten years (burgers, tacos, hotdogs etc) and it "tastes delicious". The programme also found time to rubbish the precautionary principle.

Another person interviewed was Adam Werbach whom I'd like to have heard a little more from. However, in the Guardian piece Channel 4 accused of misleading contributors to green documentary, he says that he was not properly informed that the programme would be a polemic. Indeed, in another short piece, Mark Sweeney's apt headline states Channel 4 courts controversy with film highlighting green lobby's 'failures'

The 45 minute studio debate that followed the show had Lynas and Brand in the Channel 4 studio with Mark Lynas almost admitting that there was far greater context than the fine beam of views of his portrayed in the film. Representatives of the groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth contributed greatly to balance their unfair portrayal in the previous hour's programming.

As an example of just how the programme has been praised by those that seem willing to jump on and bash any green agenda just look at this tweet:
Well thanks Channel 4 for exposing the greens two faced campaigning on nuclear, GM and even DDT! #c4green
This just sums up the show's narrow-minded appeal.

The documentary will certainly court further controversy and I hope there is continued fair debate and time for the record to be set straight. Demonizing the green movement is about as constructive as condemning all business as lacking ethics. This is a sweeping generalisation and is simply untrue.

Some people may not like George Monbiot's tub-thumping style but he does nail the show's approach as sailing too close to the corporate wind in his Channel 4's convenient green fictions write-up.

I'm all for rolling out alternative views so they can be discussed and considered but not when they're touted as gospel for the flock to follow unswervingly - and that applies to all sides of the debate.


I watched that show too. How can Stuart Brand drive a 4x4 and promote "delicious" junk food when he was one of the heroes of the "counterculture" - Maybe he's gotten lazy in his old age and fallen in line with the mainstream?