George Monbiot – alternative medicine and environmentalism

Read George Monbiot, which ends on Prince Charles:

“Progressives who support his right to speak out without abdicating should consider how they would feel if he shared the opinions of his maternal grandmother who – as Francis Wheen explained in the Guardian – was an enthusiast for appeasement, an anti-Semitic xenophobe and a sympathiser with apartheid.

Anyway, the point is that he’s not alone.

Perhaps because using alternative medicine means, for the most part, boycotting the business of the biggest and most brutal pharmaceutical companies, perhaps because the alternative medicines industry has done much to promote itself as “natural” I know plenty of greens who can explain in some detail how radiative forcing works, yet who use homeopathy or won’t expose their children to MMR injections.

That’s up to them. But the association in the public mind does us nothing but harm. Those of us who do not believe there is a link between a movement based on science and a business based largely on nonsense should say so loudly and clearly.”

Me! I will.

And here’s one response from a sparkling writer, reviewer and commentator I have recently stumbled upon, Sarah Ditum:

“George Monbiot says that environmentalism needs to follow the evidence and separate itself from the spurious quackery of alternative medicine – which is the sort of talk that might actually convince me to up my involvement in green issues from current levels of lax vegetarianism and energy-saving bulbs. If it means the anti-vaccination crowd would definitely keep their germ-harbouring children away from protests, I might even bring my kids campaigning.”

Bonus Sarah – Why I Am Not An Academic. This writer spins a good yarn. She has a thing about Nick Cohen, whom she dislikes. I came across her in the comments of Aaronovitch Watch (while, sad to say, I was doing Aaronovitch Watch Watch) – she commented “What a weird, parochial little column”, but the bastard followed her back and will utilise her stringent criticism of Nick Cohen’s haste and (painful to say) sporadic casual sexism against him. Luckily she is right – AW is indeed a weird parochial little column. Nick Cohen on the other hand is a stalwart for people in my slightly tricky position – Jew-ish and left, not to mention people who are left and not Jewish. For me he has made a positive, and on a couple of occasions personal, difference and I like him far more than I resent him – in fact I am eternally grateful to him for providing an alternative to the new Stalinists. But I thank Sarah Ditum for reminding me to observe that the bit in his recent book Waiting For The Etonians about memory mirrors existing so that women can see what their behinds look like from the back should never have been written – but I think it was although I can’t check again because ‘memory mirrors’ isn’t in the index.

Anyway on the one hand Sarah could take the advice of her commenter and become an independent academic. On the other, it’s never too late.

3 thoughts on “George Monbiot – alternative medicine and environmentalism

  1. Two terms I have a problem getting my smallish head around: “lax vegetarianism” (is it the one where you are able to sneak an omelet into your plate?) and “sporadic casual sexism” – which I wouldn’t even dare to guess about.

  2. Nick Cohen on the other hand is a stalwart for people in my slightly tricky position – Jew-ish and left, not to mention people who are left and not Jewish

    Nick Cohen isn’t Jewish.

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