On May 10, 1940, German armed forces invaded the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. That evening, the chairman of the UK’s Labour Party, Harold Laski, wrote “We are at a turning point in the history of the world.” Less than a week later, Winston Churchill, newly installed as Prime Minister, and Clement Attlee, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, announced an agreement to form a coalition government in order to prosecute the war. Unity was the watchword. David Low’s famous cartoon from that time vividly illustrates the fierce resolve of the leadership and, indeed, the public.
By monoculture, I don’t just mean the production of one crop over vast quantities of land, with all the resultant havoc that that plays on the soil, water, native flora and fauna, and, to be perfectly clear, on the climate system, but I also mean the monomania that is incarnate in Big Ag. Monomania is a serious disorder, characterized by, according to my dictionary, “excessive concentration on a single object or idea.” In the case of much of American farming, that single object is the production of as much corn as possible at the greatest possible return on investment. The monomania of corn production utterly disregards economic, environmental and social concerns. The word itself is, to be sure, old-fashioned, but it is nevertheless manifest in how modern society goes about the business of growing our food, feed and, most wastefully of all, our fuel. Continue reading