Flashback 2002: Monbiot Quotes Board Member of “Hate Group”, Claims End of Meat, Dairy & Eggs by 2012

George Monbiot talks to journalists and supporters

In a recent article George Monbiot lambasted his opponents (and to be fair, they are legion) for claiming that many of his fellow greenies were anti-human and spouted hate-filled rhetoric. “The great majority of greens are powerfully motivated by a concern for social justice, and recognise that if we don’t defend our life-support systems, humanity will suffer grievously”  he wrote sententiously.

Really? Let’s examine that claim. In fairness to Monbiot, rather than picking someone from the green movement at random we’ll restrict ourselves to people whom Monbiot himself relies on when writing his articles.

Back in 2002, Monbiot warned us of a meat-apocalypse by as soon as 2012:

Within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.

The impending crisis will be accelerated by the depletion of both phosphate fertiliser and the water used to grow crops. Every kilogram of beef we consume, according to research by the agronomists David Pimental and Robert Goodland, requires around 100,000 litres of water. Aquifers are beginning the run dry all over the world, largely because of abstraction by farmers.

Guardian. Why Vegans Were Right All Along.

And it wasn’t just eating meat, that Monbiot was demanding we ditch – “vegetarians who continue to consume milk and eggs scarcely reduce their impact on the ecosystem”. As the title puts it, “Vegans were right all along”. Give up meat, eggs, cheese, butter and milk, or we’ll all be starving within as little as ten years, he warned.

100,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef is a big claim – so who is Monbiot relying on for his argument here? He cites “agronomists Robert Goodland and David Pimental”. And who is David Pimental? He is a professor at Cornell University, an environmentalist and, according to the SPLC and others, an anti-immigrant campaigner.

The anti-racist organisation, the Center for New Community, notes that Pimental was at the centre of attempts to comandeer the respectable conservationist outfit, the Sierra Club to turn it into an anti-immigrant organisation:

By the 2004 Sierra Club elections, SUSPS needed to elect only three additional candidates to the board in order to control the organization and impose its anti-immigration plank. Its three main candidates were Richard D. Lamm, national advisor to Tanton’s Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR); Frank Morris, board member of Tanton’s Center for Immigration Studies; and David Pimental, board member of the Carrying Capacity Network whose president, Virginia Abernethy, described herself as a “white separatist.”

Centre for New Community. Apply The Brakes: Anti-Immigrant Co-option of the Environmentalist Movement.

Pimental is an advisor to “Progressives for Immigration Reform” as well as being a board member of the Carrying Capacity Network, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes as a “hate group“. Pimental was listed by the SPLC in its report “Greenwash: Nativists, Environmentalism, and the Hypocrisy of Hate” as one of the “Key Groups and Individuals” of concern. He is also on the national board of advisors for a group calling itself “Alliance for a Sustainable America” which urges:

Americans who feel sympathy for foreign-born poor should urge U.S. and foreign-born billionaires to work with impoverished nations’ governments, to curb population growth in each country, educate their citizens, and provide job opportunities locally, just like the Chinese government has done.

Alliance for a Sustainable USA. What is the Sensible Way to Help Foreign Poor?

Well, quite. As Pimental wrote in an essay for the Alliance, “The lives and livelihood of future Californians depend on what action present generations are willing to take to reduce population numbers“.

But being a member of hate-groups is only part of the job for Monbiot’s source for the article. He is also on the editorial board of a journal called Population and Environment and his fellow editors have some similar ideas, as the SPLC’s Betsy Hartmann relates:

There is an academic journal called Population and Environment, published by Kluwer, which is edited by Kevin MacDonald, an evolutionary psychologist who writes about a Jewish plot to liberalize immigration policies. In 1999, MacDonald appeared in court in Britain to defend the historian and holocaust denier David Irving. The journal’s advisory editorial board includes famous environmental scientists such as Paul Ehrlich, who wrote The Population Bomb, Pimental again, and Vaclav Smil, a professor at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

Sitting beside them on the board is J. Philippe Rushton, a psychology professor from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, who has a theory about how black people have small brains, low IQ, large sex organs and high aggression. What are environmental scholars doing getting mixed up with these kinds of people?

Climate and Capitalism. Green Fascism and the Greening of Hate.

Pimental gladly works with racists, Malthusians and people who defend Holocaust deniers -is this the sort of person Monbiot really wants to be getting his information from?

No matter, because as 2012 meat-apocalypse day drew near, Monbiot threw his ideology into reverse gear and reversed his edict on veganism. Echoing the contemptuous “Let them eat cake” quip of pre-revolutionary France, Monbiot now decreed “let them eat meat” – and admitted that his 2002 claim on the end of meat-eating was total BS:

Like many greens I have thoughtlessly repeated the claim that it requires 100,000 litres of water to produce every kilogram of beef. Fairlie shows that this figure is wrong by around three orders of magnitude. It arose from the absurd assumption that every drop of water that falls on a pasture disappears into the animals that graze it, never to re-emerge. A ridiculous amount of fossil water is used to feed cattle on irrigated crops in California, but this is a stark exception.

Guardian. I Was Wrong About Veganism. Let Them Eat Meat – But Farm it Properly.

At least Monbiot admitted that in this case he was wrong “by about three orders of magnitude” – hopefully when the global warming theory is finally seen to be bogus he will feel capable of issuing a similar mea culpa.

Monbiot is not a racist. He is not even a neo-Malthusian. But in his eagerness to impose austerity on everyone, he gets taken in by the arguments of those who are. It’s why he earnestly believed the patently ludicrous claim that it took 100,000 litres of water to make 1 kilogram of beef, a risible claim that anyone not ideologically blinded would instantly dismiss as nonsense, as he himself was forced to do as 2012 approached.

It is the anti-immigrant and anti-human agenda of the people who warn of “scarce resources” and “too many people” that is the real danger, not the idle bravado and loose chatter of a bunch of guys on an internet chat-room.



Self-described “ethnic separatist,” Virginia Abernethy, Pimental’s fellow board member on the Carrying Capacity Network, is also a contributor to the journal of the Optimum Population Trust (Patrons: Sir David Attenborough, Jonathon Porritt) with an April 2007 article on “The Extent of the Immigration Problem in the USA“.

The OPT journal also carries articles from Pimental (of course). Plus ca change.

35 responses to “Flashback 2002: Monbiot Quotes Board Member of “Hate Group”, Claims End of Meat, Dairy & Eggs by 2012

  1. ” ….. the respectable conservationist outfit, the Sierra Club ….”


    Are you sure that is a reasonable description. It seems to me that ‘outfit’ hardly describes their reach and influence nor, come to that, funding. One might also have some philosophical discussions about the word ‘respectable’ in the context.

    • Your point is, of course, perfectly valid, inasmuch as the Sierra Club has some questions to answer over its support of some dubious ideas.

      Looking at the broader picture, I would argue that the Sierra Club has played a useful role in that it promotes conservation rather than environmentalism. My own personal opinion is that conservation (the protection of designated areas and resources for long term use and harvesting) is a sensible policy. It has tended to expel extremists in the long run, such as David Brower, who stormed out to form Friends of the Earth (with funding from oil tycoon Robert O. Anders of Atlantic Richfield, natch).

      I think the important thing to remember here is that it is the alarmists who are the radicals here, not us sceptics. If someone is claiming that the world as we know is going to end very soon, then – by definition – that is a radical position.

      • Suggestion:
        When Monbiots prediction is up in 1 year I think you should have ready data to show global crop yield trends and malnutrition / famine trends.

      • I gave up my membership to the Sierra Club when they became a political lobby. There are much better organizations who do real conservation work, support them instead. The Sierra Club smears anyone who holds a conservative point of view and lies about the desigins conservatives have for our future. They are up there with the National Resource Defense Council.

  2. Even when making his retraction Monbiot can bring himself to ‘tell it like it is’. He says the figure of 100,000 litres of water is wrong by three orders of magnitude. I guess that still sounds more impressive than 100 litres!

  3. Sorry, should have been ‘can’t bring himself to tell it like it is’.

  4. There is plenty of hope for George.
    He’s pretty bright, almost as clever as JD, and doesn’t like being lied to.
    His only core-crime is excessive passion. He really does care but he’s chosen some of his mates badly.
    In time he’ll shed some of his visceral intuition and temper it with logic.
    When his poles reverse he’ll be a real force for the future but he may have to switch employers in the process!

  5. Wouldn’t it be nice if Monbiot, like a proper journalist, checked his facts BEFORE he wrote his alarmist articles?

  6. About the ‘the contemptuous “Let them eat cake” quip of pre-revolutionary France’, to be historically exact, it was a big lie invented by propagandists from the French revolutionnary movements fed to the hungry populace in order to discredit Marie-Antoinette and hence the monarchy. What she actually said when reported that people outside the gate are hungry was “if they have no bread, let them eat the cakes we have [in Versailles castle]”. Big lies spread with a straight face by morally corrupt ideologues work, Marie-Antoinette and Louis 16th were decapitated.

    Georges Monbiot, who supposedly has some French aristocrat ancestors should have known it but once again, here, like elsewhere, keeps repeating big lies. Wether it’s about meat or car (where he has reversed gears too) or cake or anything else that counts, that man is dead wrong.

  7. George Monbiot needs to take a close look at AGW and be prepared to issue a mea culpa soon otherwise his tarnished reputation will be tarred and feathered. Open your eyes George before you look more of a fool.

    George Monbiot, Guardian, 25 November 2009 [Climategate]
    “I have seldom felt so alone. Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial. The emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, they say, are a storm in a tea cup, no big deal, exaggerated out of all recognition. ………………………….
    The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people’s denial.”

    George Monbiot – July 29, 1999
    “Global warming means that flying across the Atlantic is now as unacceptable as child abuse

    George Monbiot – Canada Book Tour – November 12th 2006
    Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver

    Monbiot the hypocrite

  8. Poor Monbiot, the world is not falling apart, HIS world is falling apart. He’s wrecked his global warming scare, his tofu recipes, his home footprint and even his marriage ! He is even forced to admit he drives a car.
    He worries for future generations but can’t even provide a stable family for his 2 kids.
    A perfect role model for losers !

  9. Pingback: Emission Trading - Page 347 - Renovate Forums

  10. Pingback: Eye on Britain (2)

  11. I don’t eat meat but do eat eggs and dairy products. I presume that some argument can be made about factory produced eggs harming the environment or having a big carbon footprint or whatever, if you are the type who worries about such things. However, our eggs are supplied by four chickens kept in our back garden, I think that their footprint is minute.

  12. Pingback: Monbiot’s prediction – 1 year to go | Watts Up With That?

  13. I would be cautious about using the Southern Poverty Law Center as a guide to “anti-immigration hate groups.” They have essentially defined any organization that is in not in favor of open borders as a “hate group,” going so far as to define the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as a hate group.

    This article also borders on an ad hominem attack, going after Monbiot for whom he gets his information from, rather than for its accuracy. If the 100,000 liters of water/kg of beef is nonsense, then it’s nonsense — but one could leave out the background of who was making the nonsensical claim and it would still be just as effective.

  14. Great article. But notice that his name is Pimentel not Pimental.

    • Thanks for the comment – i did actually spot that before publishing, but noted that Monbiot mis-spells the name in his article. I was going to alter it, but it would’ve made the article even more messy than it already was!



  15. I wonder how well Monbiot’s vegetable beds are doing in Wales.


    Last year’s growing season April through October in the UK was 0.6C cooler (CET) than 2009 and 1.6C below 2006.

    I grow vegetables, it makes a difference.

  16. “vegetarians who continue to consume milk and eggs scarcely reduce their impact on the ecosystem”.

    He has to be kidding. Since my daughter went off to uni I’ve been searching for our chickens’ bloody off switch. We’re buried in eggs. Not even the neighbors want them any more. And out chickens are just pottering about the garden eating grass and slugs.

  17. Beautiful detective work. Lomborg mentions Pimentel in The Skeptical Environmentalist, but i didn’t know Pimentel is also a racist. And the connection with OPT… great! (I mean, not so great, but it’s great to see the workings of the enemy laid bare)

  18. Alexander Vissers

    Why would you want to respond to such absurd claims made by such obscure activists. If this is to be a science blog just ignore the obvious rubbish, then you can restrict yourself to genuine science errors to debunk. This is the strength of the blog, that it gives detailed analysis to show the alarmists work and conclusions wrong.

    • Thanks for your comments, but this is not intended to be a “science blog” as such. My main issue with the alarmists is not the science (though I strongly dispute the notion that global warming will be catastrophic), but with the anti-human rhetoric that is rapidly becoming acceptable on the grounds that people are killing the earth.

      It is that which I am most concerned with. Few people in the media at large seem willing to tackle it, for fear of being seen as “anti-environment”. We have reached a stage where it’s become okay to say you hope millions will die to “save the earth” (see my earlier posts). This is, in honest opinion, very unhealthy.



  19. manicbeancounter

    Is this another example of extrapolating on a non-existent trend? When predicting world hunger due to a growing world population with rapid climate change diminishing total food production, Monbiot and others make some fundamental errors.
    1. They assume that world food production is near it’s theoretical limit. It is no where near. If it were, then there would be increased starvation already, as land is turned over to ethanol production.
    2. They ignore the failed predictions of the Club of Rome in 1972, when the world population was less then 5 billion. Now 7 billion are better fed.
    3. The narrow view is partly as a consequence of rejecting the things which can prevent world hunger – globalization, economic growth, fertilizers, GM foods and free markets.
    4. Like us all, they also cannot predict the actual form that increased food output will take. Demanding to know that form and then planning on these projection is to limit the possibilities.

    • Absolutely. Textbook example of the folly of deterministic thinking.



    • Africa actually has millions of acres of (non-forest) uncultivated land. The Sahel is greening. Australia’s drought is almost over. Saudi Arabia has greened parts of its desert by sheer force of money. The biosphere has been greening over the past 2 decades. Monbiot and the other Doom Mongers are wrong and will continue to be wrong.

  20. Pingback: GM Food can prevent Global Hunger – but not as part of a Global Plan « Manicbeancounter’s Weblog

  21. Monbiot. Do you want to know what he REALLY is? Easy – a self-obsessed, self-appointed Evangelist, who feels he has the right to lecture everyone else on how they treat the planet.

    In short. An arrogant cunt

  22. Meant to add – it seems to me that Monbiot is in fact losing his marbles. What is enjoyable about this is the fact that he is doing it in public…

  23. Hi Phil, thanks for commenting.

    As I pointed out at length in my post, Monbiot retracted his obviously erroneous claim. That was partly the intention of my post, which was to try and show how a non-racist like Monbiot who’s concerned about social justice gets misled by those who are neo-malthusians and possibly racists as well, into making very silly claims.

  24. The famous Sierra Club is NOT a respectable institution.
    They came to my door and asked me to sign a petition ( Open Spaces)
    I politely signed the petition ( Not wanting to risk the wrath of Jeff Tittel)
    Soon I started getting their glossy magazine. ( addressed to a name I did not recognize)
    Later I got a nice letter from my Senator ( Menendez ) thanking me for the nice letter that he got from “John Arum ” at my address.
    I looked up Mr. Arum. SF attorney representing Indian Tribes and the Audobon Society, and a contributor to the Sierra Club.
    He was unfazed at the abuse of his name and my address.
    I considered it tantamount to identity theft. Certainly a hijack of my political voice.
    Soon the magazines stopped.
    Efff the stinking Sierra Club. ( And the moonbat too)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s