What Channel 4 got wrong
Friends of the Earth, 3 November 2010
A TV documentary about the green movement is pushing tired myths about nuclear and GM crops.
And it looks set to backfire on its producers.
Friends of the Earth Campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran explains: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHREDKZLfII&feature=youtube_gdata
The programme, to be aired on Channel 4 on Thursday night (4 November) but seen by Friends of the Earth, has also been dismissed by other green groups.
Even one of the contributors says his views are misrepresented.
"The documentary promises to reveal a radical new approach to solving the planetary crisis we all face," says Craig Bennett, Director of Policy & Campaigns at Friends of the Earth.
"But it pushes the same tired myths about GM crops and nuclear energy being miracle cures."
He adds: "We're always up for having a debate - but this is just misinformation based largely on the views of lobbyists and journalists with books to sell."
The criticism of Friends of the Earth centres on our approach to GM crops and nuclear energy.
Here's just a flavour of what the documentary got wrong:
The documentary claims Friends of the Earth is anti-science.
In fact, our work is based on the latest science and on-the-ground evidence from our worldwide network of groups.
Our reports are commissioned from independent experts from leading institutions like Oxford University and the London School of Economics.
Our views on food production and GM crops are in line with the biggest ever scientific study on agriculture.
2. Views on nature
The documentary claims Friends of the Earth has a romantic view of nature.
Friends of the Earth is indeed working to prevent the destruction of the natural systems that support life on Earth.
We want everyone to have a fair access to the natural resources we all depend on, such as a stable climate and fresh water.
What's romantic about that?
3. Nuclear power
The documentary claims Friends of the Earth is behind the times in its opposition to nuclear power.
Not according to the UK Government's own research showing the UK can meet targets to cut carbon emissions without nuclear power.
Friends of the Earth opposes nuclear power because there is no safe way to dispose of the radioactive waste it produces. The waste remains dangerous to human health for thousands of years.
Billions of pounds have been spent on nuclear power that should have been spent on clean energy solutions.
4. Renewable myths
The documentary claims renewable energy can't deliver constant power to meet our needs.
This is an old argument that's been disproved by the most recent evidence.
With a range of renewable technologies, a smart electricity grid and storage, we can power our homes and cars with energy generated from the sun, waves and wind.
Friends of the Earth will publish a briefing with a detailed response to the claims in the programme.
Policy & Campaigns Director Craig Bennett will take part in a live debate airing immediately after the programme's broadcast.
"The next time Channel 4 want a good idea for a documentary, I'm happy to take their call," says Craig.
"There are so many important environmental issues being starved of attention.
"And they've no need to worry about getting their facts right. Everything we do is based on independent research and sound science."