A long, long time ago in a galaxy, well, our galaxy, I wrote of the wonders of a genetically modified salmon from the company AquaBounty. It uses much less food and grows far faster than the old-fashioned fish, and thus is terrific to help overcome a true environmental problem. The world population continues to grow and more importantly grow wealthy such that it consumes ever-greater amounts of tasty and nutritious food like salmon. Thus, the natural supply just can’t keep up.
I first wrote about the super salmon in 2003 and the fish was actually developed in 1989, but only now has it finally become available in America. It was delayed mostly by green reactionaries who oppose anything made with gene splicing. You know, the same ones who constantly declare that we are running out of resources.
Yet far from being an Island of Dr. Moreau beast, all AquaBounty did was insert a gene each from two different fish to allow the new salmon to grow year-round instead of only seasonally. But the greens just tossed hurdles for decades. People who watched the unintended consequences of playing with nature in Jurassic Park were naturally scared. (That’s only partly a joke.)
You see, there’s a strong element of the green movement that says that either the earth’s population must be artificially restricted, perhaps à la China’s (loosening) restrictions on children, or that those allowed to exist must use far less of everything. Or preferably both. You see that quite powerfully in the Michael Moore executive-produced documentary Planet of the Humans, viewable on YouTube. The film made a mockery of so-called ‘renewable fuels’ such as wind, solar and “biomass” — in the U.S., essentially ethanol and burning chips from green trees with tires thrown in to raise the temperature. Those tires release numerous toxic pollutants including carbon monoxide, cyanide, sulphur dioxide, butadiene, and styrene.
It also showed how the green movement has been co-opted by those seeking another form of green, whether individuals like Al Gore or huge corporations engaged in what’s called “greenwashing,” falsely presenting products as being more environmentally friendly. (If nothing else, fast forward to 1:19 minutes where Gore is caught flat-footed defending the destruction of Brazilian rainforests in order to grow more sugar cane for converting to that sham fuel called ethanol.)
Sadly, the film does so by saying essentially that technology can’t deal with what’s generally called “overconsumption” and sometimes, as with fish, it’s an accurate descriptor. There are only so many ocean fisheries in the world, and nothing is going to replace those fish in the sense that kerosene from petroleum saved the whales.
That’s the kind of environmentalist we can see objecting to genetically modified salmon, just as they object to anything genetically modified whether to reduce insect or weed damage, allow greater heat tolerance (a plus with or without global climate change), or even put more vitamins into staples. Beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, has many health benefits for adults. It’s an especially crucial micronutrient for pregnant women and their fetuses and lack thereof has been estimated to cause 2.2 million deaths just among children younger than five. (For the purposes of comparison, Covid-19 causes approximately zero deaths in that age range.) Yet it’s severely lacking in countries where rice is the staple food. “Golden Rice,” was made to fix that. It was created by splicing in two daffodil genes and one from a bacterium, and provides as much as 23 times the beta-carotene. First announced in the medical literature in 2000, it finally got approval in one nation, the Philippines, in 2020 but still faces opposition and apparently nobody is growing it.
These are the people who oppose nuclear energy, not really because of the possibility of harmful radiation leaks but precisely because it has such a lower carbon footprint. Thus they saddled both new construction and refurbishment with so many layers of safety regulations that they became essentially non-competitive with fossil fuel-fired plants.
As Paul Ehrlich, one of the documentary’s few heroes, once put it, super-cheap and clean energy would be “like giving an idiot child a machine gun.” The response was tied to the debunked “discovery” of cold fusion, so he got himself into a huff for nothing. But point made.
The greens thus represented aren’t worried about the failures of technology, but rather its success.
Meanwhile, they essentially killed nuclear energy expansion although the only greenhouse gases they produce are during the initial construction. Germany is even in the process of shutting down 22 incredibly well-engineered nuclear plants (C’mon, they’re German!) while replacing the shortfall by burning the dirtiest form of coal, lignite, and importing more natural gas from Vladimir Putin’s new evil empire. Take that, global warming!
Given that France in just 15 years using 1970s technology not only built enough nuke plants to replace its fossil fuel-fired plants but became a net electricity exporter, there’s no advanced country on earth that couldn’t have zero “carbon footprint” from the grid. Except, that is, for the greens closing plants, opposing new plants, or simply pricing the technology out of existence even to refurbish new plants as they are doing in America.
That’s one way you inherently know that when most greens support a new technology, it’s not going to be a good one; it’s going to be a limiting one – like turbines that are restrained by lack of wind or solar panels that don’t work very well in northern climes and are even more “unreliable” at night.
The idea is always to lock us down both in terms of population and consumption and woe to anyone or anything that allows more consumption with equal or fewer resources. Don’t fall for the safety arguments. The argument is against capitalism and humanity. That’s no fish story.