Agriculture, Book Review, History, Literature, Politics, Science, Uncategorized

The Technological Savage

(Published in the Dublin Review of Books, December 2017) In 1983 the world came within a whisker of nuclear Armageddon when Soviet satellite photos mistakenly revealed NATO missiles in the sky. Only the impulsive refusal of Russian officer Stanislav Petrov to believe his eyes prevented mutually assured destruction being set in train. Now a US President threatens to ‘totally destroy’ …


Development, Environment, Food Politics, Gastronomy, Genetics, Health, Politics, Science, Sugar, Uncategorized, Veganism, Vegetarianism

Reforming Our Food Culture

Steven Poole declares that ‘Western culture is eating itself stupid’. His book You Aren’t What You Eat (2012) pokes fun at the snobbery, fads and celebrity culture that attend ‘foodie’ culture. The term ‘foodie’ emerged in the 1980s, but the idea of discussing the enjoyment of food is much older. In France it goes back to the start of the …


Wild Law Lecture

Delivered in Anglo-American University, Prague 19/11/15 It is sometimes observed in jurisprudence how Hitler came to power by legal means and continued to govern in accordance with the German constitution. Of course an American might argue that this could never happen there because of the separation of powers between the judiciary, executive and legislature in their constitution. But slavery was …

Democracy threatened by the torrent of the Internet

(Published in Village Magazine, July, 2016) We live in an age of digital ephemera that befuddles our wits and has thrown up the possibility of a Trump Presidency. Britain departs the European stage left after a campaign marred by misinformation. The siren sounds of advertising impel us to consume beyond what we need and Enlightened Despots in corporations exercise unaccountable …

Too Much of a Bad Thing

(London Magazine, December 2011) So many tears have been shed for sugar that by rights it ought to have lost its sweetness. Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat The English palate, especially the working class palate, now rejects good food almost automatically. George Orwell Type: ‘Haiti’; ‘Dominican Republic’; and ‘border’, into an image search on Google. A split-second-cyber-miracle-later a startling aerial photograph of a …

Protecting Agriculture from Emissions Targets Will Cost the Wider Economy

(Published in the Sunday Times, November 9, 2014) In a week when the International Panel on Climate Change said that current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have not been seen in at least 800,000 years the European Council agreed to set no specific targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction in the agriculture sector. The move was instigated by the …

Interview with Tommy Garnett

(Published in Village Magazine June 2015) Tommy Garnett is a dual citizen of Ireland and Sierra Leone. He founded the Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) in 1997 while living in Liberia at the end of the first Sierra Leonean civil war. His organisation currently employs twenty staff all of whom are Sierra Leonean. He lives and works in Freetown. 1. …

Song is Existence

(Published in Village Magazine May, 2015) In the presence of great music we have no alternative but to live nobly. Sean O’Faolain Donal Dineen recently described this as a ‘golden age’ in Irish music. We might take heart when a DJ of his calibre with knowledge crossing genres and continents makes such a pronouncement. His sets and peripatetic shows reveal …

Inhuman Folly: The Argument for Veganism

(Published in Village Magazine, September, 2013) David A. Nibert delivers an impassioned, well-researched and idealistic argument for why humanity should shift to a vegan, or plant-based diet in Animal Domestication & Human Violence: Domescration, Capitalism and Global Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2013). He surveys the impact of meat, dairy and egg consumption through human history and links it to some of our worst …