Richard Manning on catastrophic agriculture

Here's a very interesting interview with the writer and environmentalist Richard Manning. In the interview, Richard talks at length about agriculture, its historical origins and the effects it's had on the environment, our planet and ourselves. He has lots to say and makes some very good points, especially the fact that agriculture is effectively anti-nature.

Agriculture is a brutal use of the natural environment to create single crops, usually ones that are carbohydrate or starch based. The clearing of land and the ploughing of the soil erodes and denudes the soil, eventually causing dustbowls, run off, desertification and other habitat collapses. Agriculture is also a system which benefits a few (the owners of the grain) and stunts everyone else (the agricultural labourers). Compared to hunter-gatherers, which have a varied and healthy diet, agricultural communities consist mostly of malnourished people crippled by their diet and the back-breaking labour of ploughing, sowing and reaping. As Jim Marrs said in one of his books, no sane humans who switch from hunter-gathering to farming; It's like going from freedom to chained slavery. The only way humans would have made the switch is if they were forced to make the switch.

I don't agree with everything Richard Manning says in the interview. For example, scientific papers in well-regarded journals have pointed out that the extensive and very specific genetic changes required to turn Homo Habilis into Homo Sapiens cannot possibly have occurred in the time-frame stated in the text books. There are only two solutions to solve that conundrum; humans have been around far, far longer than the official figures (currently 200,000 years) or they did not evolve naturally from Homo Habilis. In other words, we are a hybrid creation.

Apart from that, I fully agreed with most of what Richard said and I definitely recommend the video, although you might find it drags a little after the first half hour.