See the French translation
Dear Wills and Ivanka,
The world has changed in the last fifty years, and given that I am likely still in my cryogenic sleep, I thought I should write to you to apologise for the decisions our society made back in the first half of the 21st century and the state of affairs we have burdened you with.
There is so much I feel you need to understand. Our society was vulnerable after the great crash of 2008, leading to decades of inequalities, political polarisations, xenophobia and the rise in anti-capitalist, protectionist hatred. We were lost in tribal wars defined by a new communications social media tool that we did not fully understand but had cemented the Age of Stupid with wilful manipulative ignorance. Where we failed most was in our inability to feed ourselves and secure a good quality food supply.
I wish I could say that there were means to stop the march of unreason driven by the Five Great Gurus before the famines of the early 2020s. It was not until Guru Shiva met an untimely demise at the hands of the starving masses in Delhi did our leaders wake up and realise that listening to social media driven mobs of eco-zealots had dire consequences. We should have responded sooner to enact the ReReasonabilisation where research and responsibility were once again separated from the chattering noise of the influenced masses.
I have to say that I had witnessed this evolution in thinking and should have acted more strongly to try to stop the tragedy we could all clearly see. In my lifetime:
- We saw a transition from a world where everyone was a farmer to a day when almost no one was farming (but everyone thought they were an expert!)
- Consumption patterns changed from eating what was available to eating what fit our personal identification or eco-religious self-imposed ideologies (and the open embrace of novel designer allergies, faux diseases and disorders).
- Land use went through a shift from the booms and busts of food production (weather and trade influenced) to a managed risk approach where technology had flattened the fluctuations. Alternative food sources (insects and algae) came in to meet the demands of our growing global population.
Technology created all of these benefits, but instead of celebrating it, the Five Great Gurus attacked agri-tech and influenced so many to reject human values of justice and equality. Clearly we still have much to do to return to the embrace of the research and technology advances of the 1980s. I am proud to say that many writings and research of the famous toxicologists of the 20th century have been returned to public access, the industry researchers have mostly been freed from prisons, all of the scientists who had collaborated with industry have been offered their faculty positions once more. We are finally enacting codes of conduct for citizen scientists and the scientific experts who had fled Europe during the Precautionary Purge of 2019 are now returning from their exiles in China. Many are too old now, but their students are coming over to reteach the art of innovation to European students (thank goodness Chinese is now the lingua franca of the educated class).
To avoid this happening again, we need to know where we went wrong, and when. For me, the most important point was the Great Lynching of 2016 – the moment when a self-proclaimed citizen’s tribunal put on a show trial to legitimise the denormalisation of industry, creating the perceived justification for the foodie mobs to then attack universities and research institutes. By the time of the Precautionary Purge, and the removal of all crop protection substances (following the endocrine hoax), the Age of Stupid was well and truly established.
The ability of farmers to protect the crops we had needed then to feed the world was lost. Weeds exploded, choking out yields while bringing in insects which impoverished farmers had no means to fight against. After a decade of unforeseen climate cooling, we experienced the five famines which had such a devastating effect on farming infrastructure in developing countries. Smallholders were wiped out leaving more than half of the arable land to fallow. At that time we had known the stresses we were facing, but the Five Great Gurus had convinced the self-interested policy-makers that their ideology would solve all problems. Nobody stood up to these zealots who spread lies for personal profit, but the facts were there for all to see!
For example, in 2016, the world had 500 million smallholders (each farming less than a hectare of land with only one crop each year to pay the rent). When the crops failed and these smallholders had no available pesticides (after pressure on developing countries to adopt EU pesticide and GMO regulations), we had to deal with over 2 billion “organislaves” – our global agricultural system could not cope. The “agristruction” of the 2020s pushed so many African economies back decades, with malnutrition, infant mortality and child labour increasing dramatically. I, like so many, stood back and did nothing as our leaders cowered, or worse, actively demanded that they reject technology.
I left clear instructions to my grandchildren to secretly teach you traditional science, biotechnology, toxicology and of course, entomology. Since WWF took over most European school science curriculums in the 2020s, co-opting ecology for chemistry and physics, I knew we needed to preserve the great works of science. As the wild bee population exploded, confounding the prognostications of Guru Avocado, we had to learn how to manage this wonderful, growing protein source. Combined with our ability to genetically modify super-roaches, this served as a stop-gap to the malnutrition caused by the abandonment of livestock farming due to bovine plagues that came about when antibiotics were banned and organic feed proved too expensive. Now it is up to your generation to try to engineer these protein sources to give them tastes that I could remember from the turn of the century.
Soon the world population will once again reach five billion people. Agriculture will need to be rebuilt with food security and farmer’s interests at the centre rather than the eco-religious fascism that strangled agriculture during the Age of Stupid. We have learnt from the mistakes of the ideological zealots and have finally discredited the Five Great Gurus. Unlike my contemporaries, I trust you to make the right choices. Restoring the trust in man (and rising above the hatred of the fear-mongers) has been your greatest success.
I hope you can forgive us for the mess we left for you.