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Feb 21, 2012

Steward Brand, Whole Earth Catalog Activist Changes Position, Now Supports GM Crops

Steward Brand, 2010
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
On 21 February 2012 Steward Brand present a lecture on "Green Ag Biotech" at the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.  Brand founded Whole Earth Catalog in 1968.  This was an American counterculture catalog published and updated between 1968 and 1998.  It listed productions suitable for a creative or self-sustainable lifestyle.

Brand's lecture at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln focused on his 2009 book Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto, which refutes some of his earlier held environmentalist principles. Brand believes that "three worldwide events – climate change, urbanization and biotechnology – are having lasting effects on the planet, and are requiring people to make hard ideological shifts." One of these shifts he notes is the need to embrace gene-engineering and gene-modified (GM) crops.

Brand enjoys being a "being a heretic" among environmentalists. He notes that there is a pragmatic need to embrace GM crops because they offer a solution to feeding the rapidly expanding global population. He says that his position is not a total reversal but rather has something to do with an "attitude adjustment" and "my enthusiasm about GMOs has had cause to grow over the years."

Brand noted that in the field of GM technology, China and Africa will "assert themselves." So too will "amateur biotech" practitioners whose GM food innovations will make the future of food a "wild and woolly" time.

For more see:

"Brand: 'Wild and Woolly' Times for Genetic Engineering," Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 18 January 2012.

Stewart Brand, "Green Ag Biotech," Heuermann Lecture, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources,

University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 17 January 2012.

"Whole Earth Catalog founder extols genetically modified crops," Journal Star, 21 February 2012.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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